Anderson Partners Logo

We are a full-service, B-to-B marketing communications firm specializing in the global food ingredient industry and the unique marketing needs of food ingredient companies.

402.341.4807 | 800.551.9737

The New Customers for Food Ingredient Suppliers

Millennials are now the largest living generation and will make up fifty percent of the workforce by 2020. The customer landscape is changing with this generation coming of age and food ingredient suppliers are being directly affected. We developed a meta-study which explores millennials as the new customers for food ingredient suppliers. It explains how to communicate and build meaningful relationships with these new millennial B2B customers.

There are numerous research studies regarding millennials as consumers and employees. However, there is very little information about millennials as B2B customers. Due to the lack of information and this fast changing environment, we have compiled this meta-study with correlations from our research surrounding millennials in different aspects of their lives. We have also provided tactics and advice on how to communicate and build business relationships with this generation.

This meta-study gives insight, provides advice and suggests communication tools to accomplish the goal of building these new customer relationships with millennials.

To download your free copy of “The Next Generation of B2B Customers” click here.

ForNextGenerationMockup

The 2017 Top Food Trends Roundup Report

The new year is here and with it comes another new season of food trend forecasts and analysis. Food manufacturers and food service operators want to know what their consumers are looking for in new food items and new flavors. Food ingredient marketers want to support their manufacturing and food service customers with consumer insights and with an array of new ingredient products and flavor solutions that can help keep them all on trend.

Every year it seems like there are more and more food trend forecast reports flooding the marketplace.  Each market research firm in the space has its report on the latest and greatest trends. Every trade magazine and industry website screams out headlines on the “Top Trends” and “Best Insights,” while every flavor company, ingredient marketer and food service supplier seems ready to put its own spin on the latest trends.

The team of food marketing analysts at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing is here to help you find your way through all of that clutter and make sense of the new trends that are the most important to you and your customers. For several years now, we have been publishing a series of reports that “round up” the best trend forecasts, providing summaries of key trends and links that take you directly to the leading forecast reports. This year, our team has prepared three different Roundup Reports covering key trends for Consumers, Foodservice and Flavors.

In her report, 2017 Consumer Food Trends Roundup, food marketing analyst Elizabeth Murphy takes a close look at the Innova Market Insights’ report on how ‘Clean Supreme’ Leads Top Trends for 2017.  Indeed, clean label continues to be the leading food industry trend again this year.  The consumer trends round up continues with the MarketWatch article on The Next Hot Trends in Food.  The roundup also includes Mintel’s latest report on Food & Drink Trends 2017 that explores the growing importance of convenience for time-starved consumers.

Liz Bloyd reports in this year’s Foodservice Trends Roundup that 2017 will continue to focus on the customer experience and on how their food gets to their plate. She links to the annual forecast report from The NPD Group that focuses on key trends to watch in 2017, including food delivery services, sourcing from local suppliers, more healthy choices and new twists to classic dishes. The latest report from Baum + Whiteman details many of those new twists including center-of-the-plate attention to vegetables, creative new breakfast options and the proliferation of new ice cream formats.

This year’s Flavor Trends Roundup, from Deb Murray, explores how the flavor industry continues to search for innovative ways to answer consumers’ increasing demands for more exciting, natural flavors and exotic flavor combinations.  Links to reports from both the National Restaurant Association and Comax Flavors show how the search is on around the world to find new flavors and flavor combinations to match up with consumers’ adventurous taste buds. The granddaddy of all flavor reports, The McCormick Flavor Forecast also predicts how global flavors will make many different, unexpected appearances in both food service menus and new food products.

Overall, our Roundup Reports forecast an exciting year for the food industry. Many of the trends we’ve examined are focused on new ingredients in classical applications or on familiar ingredients in new applications.  Either way it should be a very tasty new year!

2017 Flavor Trends Roundup

Flavor is one of the most crucial aspects of any meal. If it doesn’t taste good, chances are we don’t want to eat it. That being said, palates are constantly evolving and consumers are on the hunt for exciting flavor experiences. The end of the year is a natural time for the industry to look ahead and predict what trends will hit a sweet spot with consumers in the future. As we ring in the new year, we’re rounding up flavors the industry is expecting to gain popularity in 2017.

2017-flavor-trends-internal

According to a press release from Comax Flavors, floral flavors will grow in popularity as the industry searches for innovative ways to answer consumers’ increasing demands for more exciting, natural flavors. Suggested combinations include blueberry hibiscus, orange blossom vanilla and raspberry lavender. Spicy flavors—which have been hot for several years in a row—will be incorporated into more applications. For example, Comax’s flavor line for beverages includes cinnamon caramel, cocoa curry and ginger mandarin cardamom. Comax also foresees an even bigger uptick in the growing smoked food trend with smoky flavors infiltrating everything from beer to chewing gum. However, it’s not all about new tastes, classic childhood favorites—think marshmallow and root beer float flavors—will bring comfort to consumers as we enter a year of unknowns.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) also predicts consumers will be looking for flavors that put a spin on classic favorites in its What’s Hot: Top 10 food trends for 2017. The NRA expects standard condiment flavors will get a homemade reboot in the year ahead. Consumers will be excited to try house-made variations of well-known-flavors, like mustard and mayonnaise, which provide nostalgic flavor with made-from-scratch authenticity. And while adults are looking for flavors that bring them back to childhood, children’s menus will be getting a reboot of their own according to the What’s Hot: 7 kid-friendly food trends to track report. Ethnic flavors and gourmet items will find their way onto kids’ menus in 2017—influencing consumer flavor palates for generations to come.

Both the NRA and the annual McCormick Flavor Forecast predict global flavors will be incorporated into another unexpected menu—the breakfast menu. McCormick provides examples of a variety of exotic foods that are getting a makeover for breakfast. One example is “Congee – The New Oatmeal.” McCormick suggests updating this customarily savory Far East rice porridge with sweet ingredients like mango and balsamic drizzle for breakfast. In another spin on the traditional breakfast, egg yolk is being utilized in interesting interpretations like curing—which Huffington Post recently shared a recipe for making at home. McCormick also takes a closer look at the smoked trend and suggests utilizing a plancha—a tool used in Spain and France for searing meat and incorporating bold flavors and sauces. A variety of pepper flavors makes an appearance in McCormick’s trend predictions as well—including smoky Espelette pepper and sweet combinations like black pepper and dragon fruit.

Overall, 2017 flavors will incorporate a little bit of old and a little bit of new. Many of the predictions we’ve examined focused on either new ingredients in familiar applications or familiar ingredients in new applications. We’d love to know what trends you are most excited to see as we enter the new year—feel free to share in the comments section below.

2017 Foodservice Trends Roundup

With 2016 coming to a close, and having already looked at consumer food trends, it’s time to look ahead to 2017 and see what trends will be setting the table in foodservice. Similar to the trends we reported on in 2016, 2017 will be more about the customer experience and how their food gets to their plate.

 

2017-foodservice-trends-internal

The NPD Group shared what they felt were five key foodservice trends to watch in 2017:

  • A delivery revolution that offers consumers a flexible approach to, and more choices in, how they receive the foods they purchase—whether it’s a speedy delivery service or a takeout-only outlet that complements a traditional sit-down restaurant format.
  • Engaging with consumers through the quality of foods and through a diverse menu of the foods and drinks offered to deliver a high experience that will drive loyalty and make them come back for more.
  • Support of communities by incorporating quality foods from local suppliers. Consumers feel good about supporting their local communities but still have an expectation when it comes to quality that can’t be sacrificed.
  • ‘Healthy choice’ menu options and sensitivity to sourcing, waste and environmental protection will play a big role in foodservice.
  • New twists to classic dishes will be making their way onto menus to appeal to consumers who are creatures of habit but who also appreciate a menu refresh.

According to Baum + Whiteman, restaurants will be shoving animal proteins to the edge of the plate and giving center-of-the-plate attention to vegetables. In this “waste-not” economy, beet greens, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens and carrot tops will become more widespread, and seaweed will gain a wider acceptance. With 26 percent of consumers saying in the past year they’d eat less meat, plant-based proteins will become more prevalent as well. However, despite plant-based protein growth and vegetables being in the spotlight, Baum + Whiteman also noted that there is a growing trend in restaurants with their own butcher shops attached.

With McDonalds moving to the all-day breakfast menu, it has inspired competitors to develop more robust breakfast menu items—in fact, Baum + Whiteman suggests keeping an eye out for more creative breakfast tacos on menus. In addition, Baum + Whiteman said to be on the lookout for innovation in the fast-casual segment, when it comes to new design elements, more alcoholic beverages and the delivery of food to tables or possibly drive-thrus. One of the trends I’m most excited about is the proliferation in new ice cream formats that Baum + Whiteman sees becoming a fad—such as milkshakes topped with insane amounts of cake, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream sandwiches and various candies; ice cream rollups, which are liquid ice cream frozen into crepe-like thinness on a super-cooled metal plate; and decorated shaved ice, soft-serve embedded in cotton candy and ice cream with non-dessert ingredients such as avocado and roasted beets.

It will be exciting to see what new food and drink options will pop up on menus in 2017. Share in the comments below what you hope to see in foodservice next year.

 

2017 Consumer Food Trends Roundup

It’s that time of year when the food industry looks ahead to predict what will be hot in the new year to come. Since we get inundated with so many upcoming trends during this busy holiday season, each year we like to take this opportunity to put together trend roundups in a variety of categories. Today we’ll be examining the biggest trends we believe consumers will look for in 2017.

2017-consumer-trends-internal

Innova Market Insights recently distributed its annual trends press release, ’Clean Supreme’ Leads Top Trends for 2017. And as you can tell from the title—and very similar to years past—clean label is no longer trending—it’s the rule. That being said, Innova delves deeper into how this translates for consumers in 2017. For example, even though sugar is a natural ingredient that many people recognize, consumers will increasingly look for identifiable, healthier, natural alternatives. Innova also predicts a consumer surge in the hunt for additional label claims, like “environmentally friendly” and “animal welfare,” that holistically makes them feel better about the products they consume. And along a similar vein, plant-based and vegan offerings will appear on consumer plates as an exciting alternative that meets growing consumer health and ethical standards.

While Sterling Rice Group touches on some more indulgent consumer trends in its Top Ten Trends That Will Have Diners Drooling in 2017 press release—including eating cake with breakfast—a major focus remains on foods that not only satisfy taste buds but the mind and body as a whole. Examples include following the “food as medicine” trend of “Dosha Dining” and turning to ready-to-eat fish for an easy, flavorful, protein-rich snack to curb hunger between meals with “Snackin Sardines.” Sterling Rice Group also reports consumers will look for more adventurous non-alcoholic beverages, which provide the exciting tastes of a cocktail without negative health impacts.

In MarketWatch’s article, The Next Hot Trends in Food, David Garfield, food-industry consultant at AlixPartners, further examines the changing beverage landscape. He states, “For a trend to go mainstream, it has to provide health benefits, be easily comprehensible, make economic sense for the manufacturer, and of course, taste good.” He predicts a consumer increase in the consumption of alternative beverages like cactus and maple water because they satisfy consumer desire for new beverages and can claim increased nutrition benefits like aiding digestion. He continues, “It’s even better if the product tells a story and has third-party verification, such as a certified-organic label.” Garfield predicts a rise in jackfruit consumption as an alternative meat because it is a natural, uncomplicated option that easily adapts to different tastes.

While Mintel’s report, Food & Drink Trends 2017 touches on an increased emphasis on plant-based products and new beverages trends that meet consumer health and wellness goals, it also examines how time is increasingly affecting consumer needs. The report states, “The time investments required for products and meals will become as influential as nutrition or ingredient claims.” This trend extends to every aspect of a product—think quick-service grocery delivery technology and easily prepped meals to products that go from development to shelf in under 48 hours. “Products that share how long they will take to receive, prepare or consume, but are also healthy, will find their way into more homes.” Mintel also believes consumers will turn to functional products at nighttime to help induce sleep and add a sense of calm to bedtime routines.

Overall, while taste will always be important, we are increasingly seeing a need for products to satisfy more than just taste buds. Consumers want products that fulfill a number of health and wellness claims and, not only fit seamlessly into their schedules, but actually enhance them.

We’d love to know what trends you are most excited to see in the coming year. Please share in the comments below and be sure to check back next week as we explore upcoming foodservice trends for 2017!

The Next Generation of B2B Customers for Ingredient Suppliers

Millennials are now the largest living generation and will make up fifty percent of the workforce by 2020. The customer landscape is changing with this generation coming of age and food ingredient suppliers are being directly affected. We have released a meta-study which explores millennials as the new customers for food ingredient suppliers. It explains how to communicate and build meaningful relationships with these new millennial B2B customers.

There are numerous research studies regarding millennials as consumers and employees. However, there is very little information about millennials as B2B customers. Due to the lack of information and this fast changing environment, we have compiled this meta-study with correlations from our research surrounding millennials in different aspects of their lives. We have also provided tactics and advice on how to communicate and build business relationships with this generation.

We believe that this meta-study will be able to give insight, provide advice and suggest communication tools to accomplish the goal of building these new customer relationships with millennials.

To download your free copy of “The Next Generation of B2B Customers” click here.

ForNextGenerationMockup

The New Customers for Food Ingredient Suppliers

A Study on Effective Communication with the New B2B Millennial Customer

The customer landscape is changing for food ingredient suppliers—organizational changes are taking place as baby boomers transition out of the workforce and millennials become more prevalent. Several of our food ingredient clients have told us that with this shift, they have faced challenges, specifically around knowing how to effectively communicate and build meaningful relationships with these new contacts at their long-time customer companies.

There is a lot of information out there about millennials as consumers and as employees—the trends they set, their values and what’s important to them—however, there is little information about them as B2B customers. To help fill that void, we will be releasing a new meta-study—“Millennials: The New Customers for Food Ingredient Suppliers—a New Study on Effective Communication and Building Relationships.” This new study will help give ingredient suppliers the tools they need to better understand the growing millennial workforce and help them build successful business relationships with these “new” customers.

As a preview to our new study, we’ve published the infographic below. The full study will be available soon, so be sure to check back to download your copy and learn how you can engage and build relationships with the next generation of B2B customers.

millennial_infographic_big

Top Trends in Food Ingredient Marketing Communications

Here at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, we are constantly pouring through marketing research, studying food ingredient trends and gathering feedback from our clients. This knowledge is the basis behind the blog posts that we share on here. Today we are rounding up our top trends in food ingredient marketing communications. These resources are meant to help other food ingredient marketers as they develop their communications programs.

Food Ingredient Marketing Communications 2

1. B2B Social Media

As more B2C food manufacturers adopt social media into a marketing channel for their products, it provides an opportunity for B2B food ingredient companies to engage with their target audience in new ways. In our three-part series on the social media effect on B2B marketing, we first explore the growth of B2B social media use in the food industry and how social media is influencing B2B food ingredient marketing. In part two of our series, we look at who is utilizing social media in the B2B food ingredient space and how they’re utilizing the various platforms. To wrap up the series we show you an integrated marketing model your company can use to launch and maintain a successful social media presence.

2. Branding for Ingredient Products

Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, recently had an extended conversation with FoodNavigators’ Maggie Hennessy on the need for food ingredient suppliers and marketers to tell their brand stories as part of their marketing communications plans. They talked about how the best ingredient marketers create premium positions for their products that differentiate them from their competitors and create value perceptions that let them break through the clutter of other commodity ingredient products.

3. Telling the Food Science Story

The food industry has struggled recently with how to use established food-science knowledge to combat the opinion-based advocacy from media celebrities and food activists such as the Food Babe and Dr. Oz. To help food ingredient marketers deal with this issue, we launched a series of infographics comparing the actual food science to the media-driven opinions around food ingredients like Boneless Lean Beef, GMOs and Azodicarbonamide. Our series concludes with our top five communication tips to use when you have a strong and important food-science story to tell.

4. Using Best Practices

Our portfolio of best practice examples that have been pivotal in successful marketing programs.

What top trends have you noticed in food ingredient marketing communications? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

Why The GMO Debate Still Matters

In recent weeks, many major food manufacturers including General Mills, ConAgra Foods and Campbell’s have announced that they will begin labeling their products to state that they contain GMOs or genetically engineered ingredients. While all of these companies have stated unequivocally that they agree with the scientific consensus that GMO foods are safe, they have been forced to start labeling their products to comply with new labeling regulations from the state of Vermont. All of this is due to Congress not being able to approve federal legislation that would override the state’s new laws set to take effect in July 2016.

The Vermont regulations call for a simple statement in the ingredient label on the back of the package instead of the “skull and crossbones” negative warning symbol many anti-GMO advocates had been hoping for. Many of these same anti-GMO advocates have been claiming victory in the debate over GMOs while, in fact, well over 90% of all packaged foods sold in the U.S. will continue to contain some level of genetically engineered ingredients.

In this overheated and passionate environment, what should responsible leaders in the food science community think about the continuing debate over GMO technologies? Even though packaged food products will begin labeling the inclusion of GMO ingredients, the science behind GMO technologies will continue to play a crucial role in the evolving future of food. The food science community needs to have a clear and common sense position supporting the scientific consensus behind the importance of these technologies.

 

In thinking about this position, it is helpful to view the GMO debate through the lenses of the “Rich World” and the “Poor World.” In the “Rich World,” consumers are able to make “lifestyle choices” about the foods that they eat. Many “Rich World” consumers can afford to pay the increased costs associated with organic, natural and non-GMO food choices. They can make these types of “personal fashion statements” about the foods they choose to buy and eat.

In the “Poor World,” the least-developed countries around the globe, consumers are often simply trying to find enough food to feed themselves and their families. They cannot afford the kind of fashionable food choices that consumers in the “Rich World” are able to make. It is in these developing countries where the benefits of GMO technologies are needed most to increase crop yields, adapt for climate change and provide proper nutrition. The United Nations estimates that world population will expand to over 9 billion people by 2050 and that the vast majority of that population growth will take place in the least-developed countries of the world.

We need GMO technologies in order to meet the increased demand of food production required to feed this rapidly growing global population. GMO technologies and GMO scientists can help us feed the world, if we let them. The food science community needs to take the lead in advocating for the sensible development of advanced GMO technologies. We should support scientifically sound GMO practices and take the initiative to communicate the food science position to help educate consumers in the U.S. and worldwide. And we can do all this while still supporting openness and transparency across the food industry.

In the final analysis, feeding a rapidly growing world population is the “Grand Challenge” of our generation and the real goal of the evolving future of food. As Newsweek magazine recently said, “If we can’t feed the world, it will eventually feed on us.”

2016 Top Food Trends Roundup

The end of the year is the time for annual food trend predictions for all of us in the food ingredient industry. We look at research to find out what new flavors will be seasoning our food. We pour over market trends to find out the new directions foodservice will be heading. And we study trend reports to gain insight into what consumers are going to want in the coming year.

foodtrend_inside

At Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, our team of ingredient marketing experts has been studying the latest in consumer food trends, flavor trends and foodservice trends. The team’s new series of blog posts on indepth, our food marketing blog, rounds up the major trends forecast in each of these key areas.

Liz Bloyd reports on 2016 Consumer Food Trends in her roundup blog post. Consumers are seeking adventures for their taste buds and it’s a trend that is common to several leading trend forecasts. The roundup report includes summaries and links to major trend reports from Packaged Facts, Sterling-Rice Group, Mintel and Innova Market Insights. Innova ranks “Clean Label” as the number one trend for 2016.

For 2016 Foodservice Trends, food marketing analyst Elizabeth Murphy’s roundup reports on the National Restaurant Associations’ survey of over 1,500 members of the American Culinary Federation to determine the hot trends for 2016 menus. The roundup also includes links to foodservice forecasts from Technomic’s trend report Technomics Take: 2016 Food Trends as well as Baum + Whiteman’s 11 Hottest Food & Beverage Dining Trends.

In his roundup report on 2016 Flavor Trends, Dan Swoboda looks at leading flavor trend forecasts from Packaged Facts, Comax Flavors and, of course, the annual Flavor Forecast from McCormick & Company—the granddaddy of all flavor forecasts. McCormick predicts that America’s love for spicy flavors will continue with tangy accents that will open up the door to more multicultural flavors. Next year looks to be the year to get even bolder with flavors as consumers continue to seek more exotic and adventurous foods.

From consumer food trends, to foodservice menu trends, to flavor forecasts, there is a lot to look forward to in 2016. I have a feeling it’s going to be another delicious year.

2016 Flavor Trends Roundup

 As we’ve all experienced, the culinary climate is full of experimentation when it comes to flavoring foods. In the trends we’re seeing for 2016, next year looks to be the year to get bolder with flavors as consumers continue to seek more exotic and adventurous foods.

flavortrends.INSIDE

According to the Packaged Facts trend report, there is an entire world of flavor adventure that’s being explored, and it continues to expand to new and unexpected places. With Sriracha now a household word, kimchi has been popping up in savory and dried snacks while hot peppers keep getting hotter and more diverse. Product developers and chefs are looking beyond Asian flavors to keep up with consumer demand for bolder flavors. To keep consumers interest and meet their demands, chefs are adding citrus to their flavor lineup along with other tangy flavors like cilantro and tomatillo.

In McCormick & Co.’s annual trend report—the Flavor Forecast—America’s love for spicy flavors will continue in 2016, but will take on an evolutionary twist with tangy accents that will open the door to more multicultural flavors. According to McCormick’s predictions, the tang will come from ingredients like limes, kumquats and cranberries as well as rice vinegar and tamarind. Distinct flavors from Southeast Asia—which include “tropical Asian” flavors from Malaysia and the Philippines—will help product developers continue to meet the ongoing demand for spicy foods.

Meeting the demands for healthier foods, simple ingredients and culinary adventure in an ever-evolving society was the overarching theme of Comax Flavors 2016 flavor trends report and the debut of four new flavor collections. In its trend report, Comax Flavors (Comax) notes that consumers will gravitate toward green vegetables and fruit with flavors, which will be the main focus of its Green Goodness collection—featuring flavors such as avocado, pear, broccoflower, green jackfruit and jalapeño honey. With Cuban cuisine expected to heat up on menus, Comax wanted to offer authentic flavors to meet the upcoming trend. As part of its Cuban Culture collection, Comax will offer flavors like Café Cubano, Mamey Mojito and Toasted Coconut Flan.

Based on the forecasted flavor trends for 2016, it looks like consumers will be able to take their taste buds on the adventure they’re looking for. Feel free to leave us a comment below about other flavor trends you’re hearing about.

 

2016 Foodservice Trends Roundup

Over the past few months we’ve gathered and analyzed the various 2016 foodservice trend reports published this time of year and one thing is for certain, some of the most prevalent foodservice trends are less about what is on the plate and more about how it gets there.
2016-foodservice-trends-image

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) recently published its 2016 “What’s Hot culinary forecast.” The NRA surveyed over 1,500 members of the American Culinary Federation to determine what items will be a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite” on 2016 menus. Of those surveyed, 80% rated “locally sourced meats and seafood” as a hot trend—the highest percentage across all categories. “Hyper-local sourcing” focuses on dishes and drinks made with ingredients originating onsite—for example, drinks crafted from spirits distilled in-house—and ranked in the top five trends between “locally grown produce” and “naturally processed ingredients.” It’s clear, in 2016, chefs will continue to curate menus with items developed using ingredients with recognizable, local origin stories.

The 2016 foodservice trend reports not only addressed where menu items come from, but also how they get to the consumer—a process that will continue to evolve in the coming year. Technomic’s trend report, Technomic’s Take: 2016 Food Trends, includes an item deemed “The Delivery Revolution.” Consumers are no longer regulated to the usual pizza or Chinese when they want to order in for the night. Mobile apps are providing services that deliver a wide range of cuisines from restaurants in the area.

Baum + Whiteman agrees in its 11 Hottest Food & Beverage Dining Trends, noting, “Tech-driven delivery is 2015-2016’s Big Disrupter of food retailing and food service…aimed at the ultimate consumer convenience,” a diverse menu delivered right to your door. Baum + Whiteman lists a sampling of available third-party apps offering food delivery services including Google, uberEATS, Amazon Prime Now, Grub Hub and Yelp.  Fast food and quick-service restaurants are beginning to respond to the threat from third-party apps by developing delivery services of their own—a trend predicted to gain traction in 2016.

What interesting foodservice trends have you seen forecasted for 2016? Feel free to share your thoughts and predictions in the comments below.

2016 Consumer Food Trends Roundup

With 2015 coming to an end, it’s that time to look ahead at what next year’s trends will bring. One thing is certain, consumers seeking food adventures for their taste buds is a trend that is here to stay and is a theme we’re seeing across several trend forecasts.

2016 Consumer Food TrendsIn a recent report from Packaged Facts, in 2016 we can expect to see food preparations that feature bold, spicy and ethnic flavors. When it comes to bold, it’s not just about the exotic Asian flavors—citrus has joined the bold bandwagon along with other tangy flavors like tomatillo and cilantro. In addition to foods with bold flavors, consumers are showing interest in unexpected flavor pairings like vanilla and cardamom, savory and spicy flavors with desserts and confectionary foods.

In looking at the Sterling-Rice Group’s 2016 trends list, the consumer palate will continue to evolve and demand new and adventurous foods. One beverage seeing a revival with start-up brands is Switchels—a drink made with apple cider vinegar, ginger and sweetener. Along with these next generation beverages, we’ll see a resurgence of farmed oysters to meet the demand for sustainable seafood. With millennials showing an increased interest, oyster and raw bars will have a stronger presence in major cities.

According to market researchers at Mintel, alternatives to meat and dairy will be a top consumer priority in 2016. Mintel also predicts consumer demands for ‘less processed’ foods and drinks will continue to force food manufacturers to remove artificial ingredients from their products. With consumers having a better understanding of how diets can affect their appearance and a rising interest in fitness and becoming more active, food manufacturers will be tasked with developing new dishes that have added protein and other nutrients that are vital to building muscle or even muscle repair after exercise.

In Innova Market Insights trend list for 2016, the “clean eating” trend is the overarching theme. This trend is one that has inspired a back-to-basics approach in product development. Innova ranked “organic growth for clear label” as the number one trend for 2016—clear label referring to a greater transparency and focus on simpler products with fewer artificial ingredients and additives. This trend aligns with what Innova labeled as the number four trend, “processing the natural way.” With western consumers increasingly aware of the health benefits of fermented foods, there are newer technologies that may be seen as an alternative to using preservatives in foods.

As we’ve all experienced with trends, some will be more dominant than others. But one thing is for sure, there is a definite shift in consumer behavior that will challenge many food and beverage manufacturers and foodservice operators. It will be interesting to see what will come to the forefront next year in new product innovations and what product developers will bring to the tables to meet consumer demands.

Clean Label Continues to Build Momentum

Our new infographic tracks the latest updates in the clean-label trend. As we have written about before, clean label is not a trend—it’s the rule. As clean label continues to build momentum with consumers, food manufacturing and food service customers are demanding even more support from their food ingredient suppliers. Will food ingredient companies be able to keep up with the demand? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

CleanLabel infographic

 

 

 

 

 

The “Simple” Trend in Food Ingredients

The food industry is continuing to evolve and we are seeing a rapid growth in companies working to simplify the ingredients in its food products. According to data from the Natural Marketing Institute, 62% of consumers said they seek foods that are minimally processed and 53% prefer foods and beverages that contain a short list of ingredients that are recognizable.

The “Simple” Trend in Food Ingredients

Small- to medium-sized companies started adapting its products to meet the consumer demand and the trend has recently emerged in big food companies. Nestlé and The Hershey Company both announced in February 2015 plans to reformulate products to meet the consumer demand for simpler ingredients. After that, more and more companies have climbed on board. The trend has trickled into the foodservice channel—in the past month, both Panera Bread Co. and Noodles Co. announced plans to “clean up” their menus and just this week, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut both announced their plans to update their menus by the end of 2016 with foods that contain simple ingredients.

The term, simple ingredients, is fairly new in the industry and has transpired from the terms clean label and clear label. Clean label has often been used to describe a label that has a relatively small number of “natural” ingredients and is without artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Clear label has been used to describe a label that uses only necessary and familiar ingredients with clearer and simpler claims and transparency regarding ingredients.

Simple ingredients will be dictated by consumer education around the foods they are eating. One thing that we know is how big of a role social media and the Internet plays in how consumers stay informed about the products and the ingredients that they are consuming. They have an abundance of information at their fingertips, and as we noted in our series, Food Science vs. Food Babe—Who Controls the Story, the information they are receiving is often misrepresented. One way to prevent consumers from being misinformed is to have a label that provides them with accurate and descriptive language.

Food ingredient marketers can play a large role in helping food manufacturers and foodservice operators provide consumers the information they need around the products they are consuming. Incorporating definitions and labels around each ingredient or formulation being marketed can make labeling finished goods more turnkey for food manufacturers and foodservice operators. Rather than defining a particular ingredient as a preservative, for example, it would be helpful to note the specific function that preservatives have such as “to protect the color” or “to preserve the freshness,” whatever that may be.

While it sounds simple, it’s definitely understood that there is a lot that goes into reformulating products and ensuring the ingredients being used will meet the “simple ingredients” demand set forth by consumers. But, as consumers continue to read and have a better understanding of labels, the trend will be ongoing and will drive what foods are purchased, which will trickle down to the ingredients used to formulate them.

So, as food ingredient marketers, communications around the ingredient products being marketed and defining the benefits of each will be key in helping food manufacturers and foodservice operators stay ahead in the market.

 

2015 Snack Food Trends

If you’ve read any of the food industry headlines lately, you’ve noticed that snack innovations are on the rise. Snacking has become a big consumer trend that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

2015 Snack Food Trends Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing

With consumers living busier lifestyles, there is an increase in the overall demand for snacks. Instead of having meals throughout the day, consumers are replacing meals with snacks. According to recent data from IRI Worldwide, about three snacks per day are being consumed. And while indulgent snacking is outpacing healthy snacking, there still continues to be a rise in consumers who seek healthy snacks.

According to FoodNavigator’s Snacking Trend Forum, there seems to be a trend toward “simple options.” Consumers are looking for snacks that have fewer ingredients and are made with ingredients that they recognize. During the forum, Shane Emmett from Health Warrior addressed how packaged foods can overcome the health challenges they face by evolving even further than being better-for-you products to being something that’s actually really good for you.

Aligning desired health claims, keeping up with the clean label trend and giving consumers a snack they can be satisfied with on-the-go can become a puzzling task for some snack food manufacturers. One way for snack food manufacturers to accommodate all of that is by incorporating proteins into its products. According to the Packaged Facts report, “Proteins – Classic, Alternative and Exotic Sources: Culinary Trend Tracking Series,” a majority of consumers agree they are “making a point of getting enough protein” from the foods they are consuming.

From one of our earlier blog posts this year, protein was a “celebrity” at the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim. There have been a lot of innovations recently around protein and providing snack food manufacturers ingredients that have high protein content. Ingredients like flax, quinoa, cashew and pea proteins have been making their way into snack foods for quite a while. But there is a new ingredient that’s been getting a lot of buzz—no pun intended—when it comes to snack food innovations and protein inclusion, and that’s cricket flour. Shane Emmett probably said it best in the Snacking Trend Forum when he stated that the cricket flour trend may sound a bit crazy, but given the challenges snack food manufacturers face, who knows, it could be the next big thing.

We’d love to hear your comments below on what you think the next big thing will be in the snack food industry.

 

Top Trends in Food Ingredient Marketing Communications

Here at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, we are constantly pouring through marketing research, studying food ingredient trends and gathering feedback from our clients. This knowledge is the basis behind the blog posts that we share on here. Today we are rounding up our top trends in food ingredient marketing communications. These resources are meant to help other food ingredient marketers as they develop their communications programs.

Food Ingredient Marketing Communications 2

1. B2B Social Media

As more B2C food manufacturers adopt social media into a marketing channel for their products, it provides an opportunity for B2B food ingredient companies to engage with their target audience in new ways. In our three-part series on the social media effect on B2B marketing, we first explore the growth of B2B social media use in the food industry and how social media is influencing B2B food ingredient marketing. In part two of our series, we look at who is utilizing social media in the B2B food ingredient space and how they’re utilizing the various platforms. To wrap up the series we show you an integrated marketing model your company can use to launch and maintain a successful social media presence.

2. Branding for Ingredient Products

Mark Hughes, president of Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, recently had an extended conversation with FoodNavigators’ Maggie Hennessy on the need for food ingredient suppliers and marketers to tell their brand stories as part of their marketing communications plans. They talked about how the best ingredient marketers create premium positions for their products that differentiate them from their competitors and create value perceptions that let them break through the clutter of other commodity ingredient products.

3. Telling the Food Science Story

The food industry has struggled recently with how to use established food-science knowledge to combat the opinion-based advocacy from media celebrities and food activists such as the Food Babe and Dr. Oz. To help food ingredient marketers deal with this issue, we launched a series of infographics comparing the actual food science to the media-driven opinions around food ingredients like Boneless Lean Beef, GMOs and Azodicarbonamide. Our series concludes with our top five communication tips to use when you have a strong and important food-science story to tell.

4. Using Best Practices

Our portfolio of best practice examples that have been pivotal in successful marketing programs.

What top trends have you noticed in food ingredient marketing communications? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

Guest Correspondent Corrie Reilly Delivers 7 Take-home Trends from Expo West

For this year’s Expo West show in Anaheim, Calif., our guest correspondent, Corrie Reilly, marketing and communications at Agropur Ingredients, shared her key takeaways with us after attending the event.

Let me quiet the noise and tell you what Expo West was really about: 7 take-home trends

As a first timer to the legendary Expo West, I had been ready for months to check out the natural foods mayhem. It was Agropur Ingredients’ first year exhibiting at more of a finished product show but paired with our sister company Agropur Division Natrel – USA―who has retail lines of milk, coffees and indulgent creamers―we had an ‘in’ and a story to tell. We honed in on our ability to source, formulate, process and package a variety of products built for the food philosophy followers. And let me tell you, we were on point; claims―vegan, non-gmo, gluten-free, etc.―were painted throughout the convention.

Agropur Image 1

While the show was packed to capacity, for someone that does a fair share of trend investigative work, it was easy to point out some of the most popular and prominent food and beverage movements. Check out the full article below on my 7 quick snapshots of Expo West discoveries.

1. Protein, everywhere and anywhere

Protein is by no means a new concept to myself or our business sector. In recent years, the appreciation for products that have a naturally high-protein content or have been enriched with protein has grown by leaps and bounds. While it’s fair to say that protein has gone mainstream for good reason, not all variations are alike and not all consumers look for the same characteristics from their protein. That is where this show really stood out from the rest for me. Due to the fact that Expo West is geared toward consumer pools that have very well-defined preferences of food types and origins, it was the mecca of alternatives and diversity. Our private-label business sector frequently does work for dairy-free and green brands so it was really fun to see which of the other protein sources might be, ‘the next big thing.’ Whey remains the top protein source if you consider the protein market as a whole, but we were able to try foods that explored flax, quinoa, cashew, pea, rice, hemp and plant proteins. I missed tasting the insect protein that has so much buzz around it but I must say it does pique my curiosity in terms of its sustainability abilities. It’s hard to call out one specific favorite as I collected a hoard of samples ranging from ready-to-drink shakes to cheesy crackers.

2. Functional & nutrient callouts

We had been diving into insight reports on the global food markets to get ready for the show. According to reports, one of the biggest trends in the Asian-Pacific market was that the brands there are keying in on health functionality attributes. Meaning, on package, consumers would see products advertise for things like bone strength, eyesight, brain health, etc. With consumers being so knowledge hungry and conscious of long-term health value, I see this trend having a lot of potential here in the U.S., especially in regards to the natural foods space. Omegas and fiber were big nutrients noted prominently on front of package. Vitality showed a series of ‘RE’ superfruit beverages; one of which, Refocus, was a beverage brand that claims to help to enhance mental focus and concentration.

Agropur Image 3

3. Vegetable incorporation & switching up flavor expectations

What happens when you taste something savory that your memory equates to sweetness? Well first, you think whoa…weird. Next, if you’re adventurous at all in your taste experiences, there is a 50/50 chance that you might realize that…it works! Maybe not in a familiar way but in a way that you discover that the textures, temperature and packaging lend well to this new foreign flavor. In regards to vegetable incorporation, we had noticed this in a trends insight report regarding the frozen dessert global market. After walking Expo West, it’s evident that more than one food area is taking hold of this ideation. Lifeway Kefir had some really interesting Veggie Kefirs that brought in tomatoes, cucumbers and beets! Sensible Portions had on display a variety of different chip and puff-type products that were made with full servings of the good stuff. One of my favorite takeaway products from the show came at the flavor 180 from the opposite side―savory to sweet. The company, HOPE, showcased chocolate spreads made from what traditionally is considered a hummus component―chickpeas! I am tracking this down in the store and stocking up.

Agropur Image 4

4. Probiotics – Give me some of that ‘good bacteria’

We actually have been doing a good amount of focus on probiotics right now and how they will build momentum in the healthy products area. Our team predicts more growth in product categories as well as further discovery on its benefits. Probiotics play a big role in human digestion. GoodBelly distributed shooters of its probiotic juices. Another example, and my second take-home product from Natural Products Expo West, was Lifeway’s ProBug Bites, which are probiotic-packed freeze-dried kefir melts designed for infants. While my toddler niece joined me on the show floor Saturday and referred to these little nuggets as candies, it would be hard to say who enjoyed them more, her or me.

Agropur Image 2

5. Tell me a mealtime story

This one I think has a lot to do with our fascination with understanding where our products come from. We want to know that the core of what we’re eating has roots and why it’s something we specifically should be eating. All good brands have a story and this show was no exception. Similar to a bedtime story, consumers want to be soothed before they take their first bite.

6. Fair Trade certified – Show me your hand

If there was a message I heard consistently it was, “We are Fair Trade Certified.” I heard it while representatives told me their jingle, and I overheard it as I was eavesdropping on the conversations in neighboring booths. This feels like a mission with the natural brands and I’m 100 percent in. Seems like it’s a good approach to increasing the balance of respect between all parties participating in the creation of a product. I can have a slightly rose-colored perspective on these types of issues, but I’m all for improving the treatment toward the trade and promoting transparency.

7. Convenience – Make sure I can eat it/make it on the run

We live in a world that never stops. Single-servings, kits and creative approaches to packaging were all ways brands were tackling the need for products that can be prepared quickly and eaten on the go. As someone that never has time to go grocery shopping as I’m running from one place to the other, I appreciated Hak’s Paks One Pot product―easy to store and conveniently flavored pouches that can be popped in the slow cooker when you need to put together an uncomplicated dinner.

Thanks to Corrie Reilly for her report on this year’s Expo West.

corrie bio image

Corrie is a young marcomm professional who is oddly knowledgeable regarding the world of food and food ingredients. She currently represents Agropur Ingredients, a business of Agropur Dairy Cooperative. Agropur Ingredients has three main business types: functional ingredients, ingredient distribution and private-label contract packaging for dry powder blends. Experts in application and formulation, Agropur’s team is a valued resource to its customers with their extensive understanding of ingredient interaction and advanced capabilities. Corrie came to discover the food industry shortly after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a degree in public relations. She enjoys sharing the world she’s come to know and love with those around her, both within and outside the industry. She can be reached at corrie.reilly@agropur.com for any questions or discussions.

Guest Correspondent Emily Munday Reports on Winter Fancy Food Show

Over the course of three days, thousands of foodies descended upon the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco for an impressive showcase of the latest and greatest in specialty foods at the 2015 Winter Fancy Food Show. From well-established brands to new start-ups, the show offered a plethora of new flavors, textures and innovative uses of ingredients.

This year we had guest correspondent, Emily Munday, culinologist/nutritionist at CuliNex, attend the show and share her key takeaways with us. Here are her findings from the event.

2015 Winter Fancy Food Show

(Image Source)

Fermented products and probiotic claims were plentiful. Two of the standouts included Coach Farm’s Cultured Goat Milk in Strawberry, Mango Peach, Blackberry and Plain and Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi in Muu Daikon Radish and White Napa Cabbage.

Ubiquitous kale has paved the way for other nutrient-dense vegetables, and seaweed is positioned to take over as the king of greens this year. Gold Mine Natural Foods showcased kelp noodles in a sesame vinaigrette. The toothsome noodles offer a unique texture and neutral flavor profile, and are raw, vegan, rich in minerals and low in calories. Seasnax featured its crunchy Chomperz line of seaweed snacks, in flavors such as Barbecue, Jalapeno, Onion and Original.

Move over kombucha—there’s a new kid on the block: Pok Pok Som Drinking Vinegars are tangy and refreshing, letting true fruit and vegetable flavors shine. Particularly interesting were the Thai Basil and new Chinese Celery flavors. Other delicious flavors include the Tamarind, Pomegranate and Ginger. Simply mixed with soda water, the Soms make for an upscale soda that’s not too sweet. It can also be used in cocktails for a classic “shrub.”

With health and wellness at the forefront of consumers’ minds, along with a desire to eat more plant-based foods and protein, it’s a no-brainer that seeds stole the show. Purenola offers the health benefits of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts in granola-like clusters that are sweetened with real maple syrup. The paleo-friendly snack comes in several flavors, including Salted Chocolate, Coconut, Persimmon and Rosemary Spice.

From healthy snacks to indulgent desserts and everything in between, the Winter Fancy Food Show had something for everyone. Thanks to Emily Munday for her report on this year’s show.

Emily MundayEmily Munday is a culinologist/nutritionist with CuliNex, the nation’s premier clean-label product development consultancy. CuliNex brings successful new products to market for retailers, food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers and multi-unit foodservice operators so they can achieve their growth goals.

Emily holds an associate degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Nutrition from Johnson & Wales University. She has experience working in a wide variety of foodservice settings, from large-scale catering operations to intimate fine dining. In addition to product development and project management, she leads the sales and marketing initiatives at CuliNex.

Top Food Trends Roundup

For those of us in the food industry, the end of the year is the time for our annual food trend predictions. We study trends to gain insight into what consumers are going to want next year. We look at research to find out what new flavors will be seasoning our food. We pour over market trends to find out the direction foodservice is heading.

Our team of food marketing analysts at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing have been studying the latest in consumer food trends, flavor trends and foodservice trends. Their newest series of blog posts rounds up the major trends forecast in each of these key areas.

2015 Food Trends Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing

Liz Bloyd’s 2015 Consumer Food Trends Roundup noted that this is the year that the food industry moves from clean to clear labeling. Consumers want to know what is in their food and be able to make informed decisions about what they are feeding themselves and their families. This is in large part driven by Millennial consumers, aged 15-35, who are beginning to flex their purchasing power. They prefer craft foods made by brands that tell a story. If those foods can be consumed as snacks, even better, as more and more consumers are shifting to quick, healthy snack foods to replace traditional meals.

In the 2015 Flavor Trends Roundup, Elizabeth Rice found that 82 percent of United States consumers are willing to try new flavors. The Food Industry is taking this statistic to heart and pushing Middle Eastern and Asian flavors to the masses in 2015. Flavors with sour, smoky and bitter notes are particularly on trend, as well as combinations like Sweet + Heat and Sour + Salt. As consumers seek out more protein, nuts have a health halo that is resulting in them being used as flavorings in many products. Customers and producers alike appreciate versatility in a food ingredient. Honey has the ability to be a vessel for sweet, subdued flavors as well as bold, spicy flavors. That is why it was named the flavor of 2015. Expect to see honey in many food applications in the coming year.

The 2015 Foodservice Trends Roundup, by Erin Fairchild, finds 46 percent of consumers believe eating out to be the healthiest, tastiest dining option. This is a trend that is only expected to grow in the future as eating out becomes more and more common. Customers want fewer choices on restaurant menus but more options for customization. They prefer quality to quantity and want food to be locally sourced. This anti-chain ethos is causing national chains to open quasi-independent stores to respond to local demands. Supermarkets hope to give themselves a face-lift and are re-branding themselves with in-store restaurants, cooking classes and events. They have lost 15 percent market share in the last 10 years to other food venues and want to re-establish relevancy.

From consumer food trends, to flavor trends, to foodservice trends, we have a lot to look forward to in 2015. I have a feeling it’s going to be a delicious year.

2015 Foodservice Trends Roundup

As 2014 comes to an end, it’s time to look ahead to the foodservice trends for 2015. Foodservice has changed a lot since Americans first started dining out. Once considered an event that required formal dress and advance planning, eating out is now considered an everyday option that is an easy way to get a meal. Indeed, according to The Hartman Group, 46 percent of consumers find eating out to be the healthiest, tastiest dining option.

015 Foodservice Trends Roundup

Thanks to the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, food is photographed by customers and shared with the world more than ever before. Food is now an event. Services like Yelp and Urbanspoon are encouraging reviewers to upload photos of their meals, and food blogs give everyday restaurant-goers the ability to affect public opinion with their posts. According to The Hartman Group’s Digital Food Life Report, restaurants are realizing that people eat with their eyes before they eat with their mouths and are taking extra care to serve aesthetically pleasing food. Smartphones and cameras have affected everything from how food is plated to where lights are placed in restaurants.

Thin margins mean restaurants are paring down menu items in favor of a focused menu with lots of customization options. For the first time in years, the number of menu items at restaurants is down three percent, according to Mary Chapman, senior director of product innovation at Technomic. Customers are looking for smaller portion sizes and prefer quality to quantity. While restaurants are scaling down their offerings, they are upping their flavor profiles. Generation Z is coming of age and they are craving more flavors and variety in their foods. This includes fermented foods, smoked foods, Asian foods and foods with a healthy focus.

People are also embracing local foods more than ever before. Consumers are seeking out foods native to their area and products that support their local economy. Specialty and citywide distributors are beginning to capture market share. Technomic’s 2015 Food Trends Report points out this “anti-chain” ethos among customers is prompting national chains to create stores that operate under the same name, but look independent, and are able to respond to local demands in a way traditional chains stereotypically cannot.

Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert notes that in the last 10 years grocery stores have lost 15 percent market share to other venues serving food. In an effort to re-establish relevancy, grocery stores are looking to brand themselves as a lifestyle destination. Full-service restaurants are being built inside grocery stores with Culinary Institute of America-trained chefs offering high-quality, unique, local dishes. Grocery stores are looking to attract customers by offering cooking classes and in-store events. Store samples have also gotten an upgrade with grocery stores offering meal idea samples with recipe cards to make shopping trips easier.

Have you heard of other foodservice trends for 2015? Feel free to share your predictions in the comments section.

2015 Flavor Trends Roundup

According to the Innovation on the Menu: Flavor Trends report published by market research firm, Mintel, 62% of millennials and 56% of U.S. adults identify as adventurous eaters, with 82% of consumers stating they were willing to try new flavors. This interest in the bold and unexpected permeates a variety of 2015 flavor-trend predictions with forecasts focusing on pungent flavors that provide a strong taste for consumers. An assortment of spicy Middle Eastern and Asian flavors can be seen throughout, along with an increasing focus on sour, smoky and bitter notes.

insideblog.flavor

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) backs its Top 5 2015 Flavor Trends predictions with extensive data from a variety of sources and provides “drivers” behind each trend. Sweet + Heat is chosen from consumers’ love of spicy flavors and a growing interest in heat mixed with sweet ingredients—think chili peppers with berries and citrus fruits. IFT notes that manufacturers are already pursuing this trend with Kalsec introducing Tangy Sweet Ginger, Spicy Orange, Herbal Jalapeño and Sweet-Roasted Chipotle at the 2014 IFT Food Expo. IFT includes spice’s ability to play to consumers’ view of a product’s authenticity, as well as studies showing that spice might have a positive effect on the metabolism as drivers of this trend. IFT predicts sour, bitter and tangy flavors with a focus on fermented foods will also be big in 2015, noting kimchi as a strong influence on consumers growing interest in fermented products. Like Sweet + Heat, IFT includes “authenticity and health and wellness” as a driver of this trend. IFT rounds out its forecast with umami, smoke and oak, and Middle Eastern and North African flavors.

Last year, The McCormick® Flavor Forecast®  predicted chilies, Indian, Mexican and Brazilian flavors would satisfy consumer cravings for heat in 2014 and it seems in 2015, consumers will still crave heat but now from regions like the Middle East and Asia. Like IFT, McCormick’s trend categories included umami, smoke and all around spicy ethnic flavors.  Consumers looking for tang will turn to products that feature Sour + Salt. Those craving umami will turn to vegetables that include the “fifth taste”—mushrooms, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and nori. Smoked spices will provide depth to drinks and condiments, while fruit and vegetable juices and purees mixed with herbs and spices will add flavor to soup and sauce applications. On the dessert front, cookies will get a sophisticated makeover flavoring brûlées, tarts and bars.

Comax Flavors picked four flavor category trends for its Flavor Trends for 2015 press release: Melting Pot, In a Nutshell, Coffee House and Breakfast Anytime. With Melting Pot, you’ll find flavors with Hispanic and Asian influences. In a Nutshell focuses on nuts bringing new flavor to sweet applications like bourbon caramel pistachio and savory applications like pecan chipotle. Coffee House focuses on consumers increased demand for coffee and the opportunity for coffee mixed with unexpected flavors. For example, Comax Flavors developed cofftea and cabernet espresso to celebrate National Coffee Day in 2014.

Firmenich, an international producer of flavor solutions, reports that honey will be the flavor of 2015. In an article from BakeMag.com, Patrick Salord, senior flavorist at Firmenich, stated, “For a flavor that is as sweet as honey is, it shows remarkable versatility. Depending on the application, you can tone down the sweetness or even tone it up! It’s a flavor that has no limit in its potential, and people respond to that.” While honey has been growing in popularity in recent years, it will be especially popular in 2015 as a vessel for the bolder spicier flavors forecasted.

As we continue to read about and share with you more predictions for 2015 food industry trends, feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts on what trends you think the food industry will see in 2015.

2015 Consumer Food Trends Roundup

It’s that time of year when we look ahead as to what’s coming in the new year for the food industry. When it comes to the 2015 consumer food trends, consumer palates are continuing to evolve.insideblogAccording to the Supermarket Guru® Phil Lempert, you’ll see a shift in consumer preference in 2015 toward craft foods and fermented foods. Craft foods—typically associated with foods made in small batches with specialized, local ingredients—will be making their way into kitchens as major companies produce these products in larger quantities. Craft foods are not a new phenomenon by any means with craft beer from companies like MillerCoors® and Anheuser-Busch InBev. In 2015, look for this trend to expand into other beverages and foods as millennials; in particular, continue to seek unique tastes and foods with authentic origin stories. In addition to craft foods, 2015 will be the year fermented foods—foods like yogurt, tempeh and sauerkraut—will take center stage. A survey from ConAgra Foods found that nearly 50 percent of Americans have changed their diet to help improve digestion, with nearly 20 percent doing so in the past year.

According to Innova Market Insights, a move from ‘clean’ to ‘clear’ labeling will be a key trend for 2015 as consumers, retailers, industry and regulators push for more transparency in labeling. Another key focus in 2015 will be meeting the needs of the millennial consumer—those that are generally aged between 15 and 35 and who account for about one-third of the global population. Additional trends in 2015, according to Innova, include targeting the demands of the gourmet consumer at home, re-engineering the snacks market for today’s lifestyles and combating obesity with a focus on positive nutrition. Convenience continues to be of interest to consumers as there is ongoing interest in home cooking, which has driven the demand for a greater choice of fresh foods, ingredients for cooking from scratch and a wider use of recipe suggestions by manufacturers and retailers.

Innova also stated that formal mealtimes will continue to decline in popularity as it has seen a growing number of food and drinks that are now considered to be snacks. Quick, healthy foods tend to replace traditional meal occasions, and more snacks are targeted at specific moments of consumption, with different demand influences at different day parts. Consumers, in addition to ingredient suppliers and food producers, will also continue to be on the lookout for the next protein source—whey protein being popular for many years and still growing, while white pulse protein is rapidly emerging and algae protein applications are expected to surface in the future.

In our next blog post, we’ll look at what flavor trends are being forecasted for 2015.

 

Summer Food Trends: Food Trucks and Street Food – UPDATE

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][container][text_output]As warmer weather approaches and more consumers look for cuisines they can enjoy while being outdoors, food trucks and street food are lining the curbs and sidewalks. In a recent article onMeat&Poultry.com, TGI Friday’s announced the launch of their Handcrafted America Tour—featuring food sampling trucks that will tour multiple cities in the U.S. that will serve free bites from their new menu. As we’ve reported in previous blog posts and as you’ll see below, food trucks and street food continue to be leading trendsetters in new culinary developments for corporate chefs and the R&D crowd.

As you travel on vacation this summer or if you happen to be out enjoying the day and come across a food truck or sample some street food cuisine, take a photo and send it to us. We’re always on the lookout for interesting examples that we can share.

Street Food in Europe

Originally Posted: Jan. 16, 2013

Author: Mark Hughes

Food trucks and street food continue to receive a lot of attention in the U.S. and have become a leading trendsetter in new culinary developments for corporate chefs and the R&D crowd. With all this national buzz, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at how street food translates in Europe, where there are centuries of history in food markets and street food stalls.

Our international food marketing correspondent took a European river cruise, stopping off at street food markets in several major cities. Looking through the photos that were sent, we noticed several interesting differences in how street food is prepared and presented in Europe, versus major U.S. cities. Onsite preparation of raw ingredients is usually banned in the U.S., while it is a staple of European street vendors. Products like dairy and eggs, that require refrigeration in the U.S., are just as often presented in open air displays without refrigeration in Europe. Wines and liquors, heavily regulated in the U.S., are much more commonly available in European street markets. The photos on the side show several interesting examples.[/text_output][/container][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][rev_slider_vc alias=”streetfoodeurope”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Top Trend Served at RCA: Regional Cuisine

The 2014 Research Chefs Association (RCA) Annual Conference and Culinology® Expo recently took place in Portland, Ore., March 11-14. Portland has been dubbed “America’s new food Eden” by TIME Magazine because of its trend-setting food truck scene, as well as its secret supper clubs and expansive outdoor markets.

Food Truck LunchDuring the RCA show, food trucks lined the street behind the Oregon Convention Center serving up a variety of regional cuisine. From tacos to fresh salads and wraps to gourmet sandwiches, the lunch selection satisfied a variety of taste buds. In addition to the food truck scene, the trend of regional cuisines dominated many local restaurants, which were crowded with RCA chefs and their friends.

The trend of regional cuisines was also a hot discussion topic at the conference. For the opening reception, which took place at the Portland Art Museum, local restaurants like Café NellKachka,Trébol Mexican Cuisine and Pazzo Ristorante provided samplings of their authentic locally sourced dishes.
With the regional cuisine trend getting so much attention at this year’s RCA show, we can expect to see restaurant menus and the foodservice industry provide even more of these offerings over the next year. It should make for some great dining and culinary delights.

Food Fads, Like Greek Yogurt, Often Missed Opportunities – UPDATE

A blog article on food fads was recently published on Harvard Business Review’s Blog Network, and it caught our attention: “Why the Greek Yogurt Craze Should be a Wake-Up Call to Big Food.” Food fads develop quickly as you’ll see below in one of our previous blog posts, Greek Yogurt is the Celebrity Ingredient. With consumers so tightly connected to each other through social media and word-of-mouth, they are more likely to follow advice from others than in the past. According to the Harvard Business Review blog article, major food manufacturers need to consider steps to their marketing approach that are more customer-centric rather than marketer-centric. The Greek yogurt craze left a lot of major food companies to play catch up rather than take off like Chobani, the second largest yogurt seller in the U.S.

Greek Yogurt is the Celebrity Ingredient
Originally posted Oct. 3, 2013

Author: Mark Hughes

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Greek yogurt is becoming a refrigerator staple as consumers seek healthy, “authentic” foods, even though it’s often pricier. In fact, Greek yogurt now accounts for a quarter of the sales in the total yogurt market. In an article posted by the Los Angeles Times, Greek yogurt, overall, has had one of the fastest growth spurts the food and beverage industry has seen in years.

Ben&JerrysGreekYogurtA social media post introducing Yasso’s Greek yogurt smoothies sparked a lot of discussion around Greek yogurt and its newfound popularity. Greek yogurt is on an accelerated growth spurt and many popular brands are modifying their products to keep up.

The increase in popularity behind Greek yogurt led to Ben & Jerry’s introduction of their line of frozen treats. According to their press release, four flavors contain real Greek Yogurt. The flavors of yogurt, still regarded as indulgent desserts, reap the benefits of containing real Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is made through a traditional straining process allowing more of the whey to drain out, leaving a thicker, smoother yogurt that’s high in protein and low in fat.

Expect to see more brands incorporating Greek yogurt into their health and wellness products. There always seems to be at least one “celebrity ingredient” in the market and Greek yogurt looks to be it for 2013.

 

2014 Foodservice Trends Roundup

Foodservice Photo

At the end of 2013, many organizations published foodservice industry trends forecasts for the New Year. We’re rounding up what appear to be the most prominent predictions published. Almost 1,300 members of the American Culinary Federation were surveyed for the The National Restaurant Association (NRA) 2014 Culinary Forecast. Looking at the trends, it is easy to see that “local/sustainable” will be buzzwords in 2014. Six of the top 10 trends relate to local/sustainable foods: Locally sourced meats and seafood, locally grown produce, environmental sustainability, hyper-local sourcing, sustainable seafood and farm/estate branded items. Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA’s research and knowledge group, stated, “Today’s consumers are more interested than ever in what they eat and where their food comes from, and that is reflecting in our menu trends research.”

Technomic agrees in its 10 Trends for 2014, diners’ interest in the origin of their food will continue to grow in 2014. Consumers not only want to know their food is local and sustainable but also want to know that it is authentic, with the report stating, “If the restaurant positions itself as authentically Italian, for instance, it must use ingredients sourced from Italy and/or prepared using authentic Italian methods.” Politics are also predicted to influence consumers’ restaurant choices in 2014. Technomic believes that in 2014, consumers will be more likely to visit restaurants that align with their views and values, whether the decision is deliberate or not.

Sterling-Rice Group’s Cutting-edge Dining Trends 2014 point to more specific local and sustainable ingredients we can expect to see on menus. According to the report, small scale-produced protein sources like goat, rabbit and pigeon will be touted as “feel good” meat options, while seaweed will be a sustainable snack and seasoning. Many of Sterling-Rice Group’s trends revolve around innovative ways to increase nutritional content and maintain high impact flavors—from exploring nut milk applications in sauces and ice creams to poaching meats and vegetables in coffee. Chefs will also utilize tea for its ability to bring flavor to dinners and desserts without increasing fat content. However, not every trend is health conscious; the report states refined classic American items, like steak tartar and creamy bleu cheese drenched salads, will satisfy consumer cravings for full-fat food. What interesting foodservice trends have you seen? Feel free to share your thoughts and predictions in the comment section.

2014 Consumer Food Trends Roundup

Grocery Shopping

In last year’s blog post regarding 2013 consumer trends predictions, we commented on a theme we were seeing: health and wellness. As we researched and read industry news on consumer trend predictions for 2014, we found the theme to be similar with the addition of convenience.

Recent research shows the number of Americans who grab food on the run, without differentiating between meals or snacks, is growing. However, consumers are raising the bar and demanding healthy snacks made with natural ingredients. The SuperMarket Guru, Phil Lempert, predicts that brands and nutritionists will embrace snacking for better health in 2014, and food manufacturers will expand their offerings to ensure healthier snacks are available to consumers. In his 2014 food trend predictions, the SuperMarket Guru also states that consumers will be taking a fresh look at the companies who produce their food—but not just for the products they make. Consumers want to buy products from brands that give a sense of purpose to their product and align with their own core values.

According to another report put out by the market research firm, RTS Resource, consumers are increasingly looking for convenient, prepared products that allow them a “feel-good” experience by performing the last step of the preparation, unlike straight ready meals that go directly in the oven. By having these products available, it may absolve some of the guilt felt by consumers who say they do not want to spend any more than an average of 25 minutes preparing a meal. They also see a trend in consumers seeking out natural protein within convenient products as interest in high protein diets continues to grow. RTS Resource also predicts a trend in consumers seeking healthy alternatives of recognizable products that push interesting ingredients and exciting flavor blends as opposed to being marketed as a health food.

Consumers have heard a million times over, breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it jump-starts their metabolism for the rest of the day. In a recent ConAgra Foods survey, more than 75 percent of the respondents have stated they regularly eat breakfast at home. Mintel reports that consumers are looking more to foods like eggs, meats and Greek yogurt, as well as whole grain products for their breakfast, to help them live a healthier lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence. In 2014, brands will adjust their products in response to this trend and expand the category of morning meal offerings.

In the era of social media—where we can connect through culture, news, stories and experiences from all over the world at lightening speeds—there is great opportunity for the food industry. Social media allows consumers to learn about the products they love to eat and connect with brands on a social level like never before. The SuperMarketGuru predicts that in 2014, we will see technology shape how consumers shop, influence their food preferences and change what product brands offer to meet consumer needs. To read more on the SuperMarket Guru’s food trend predictions for 2014, clickhere.

 

2014 Flavor Trends Roundup

Flavor Trends

Emerging flavors from Latin America and India, as well as consumers’ growing fascination with chilies will have a big impact in 2014, according to McCormick & Co., Inc.’s Flavor Forecast 2014.

McCormick’s annual report highlights five top food trends and more than a dozen emerging flavors that their experts from around the world predict will impact the way consumers eat in the coming years. One such trend is the growing obsession with chilies. Chilies continue to influence culinary trends as consumers experiment with different varieties and heat levels. Another trend McCormick highlighted was the multiuse of ingredients that can be used in clever new ways such as tea, which is gaining popularity beyond sipping into rubs, broths and marinades; versatile cilantro/coriander; and as well as noodles, which can be incorporated into soups, casseroles, stir fries and salads. McCormick also predicts the emergence of Indian cuisine as a global phenomenon and the growing interest of Brazilian flavors with the World Cup and Summer Olympics approaching as connectivity through social media helps drive adoption of flavors and trends from around the world. Rounding out the top five trends for 2014 are compact cooking and Mexican cuisine as regional dishes from Mexico are coming to the forefront allowing consumers to discover new dimensions of this cuisine south of the border.

According to Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings’ Mainstreaming Global Flavor Trends Market Brief, the world’s cuisine is coming to us. Peruvian cuisine is forecast as having the most impact on menus across the country in 2014. With Peruvian food, many dishes combine the flavors of Asia and South America with bold and spicy being common themes, according to Shane Maack, executive chef, Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings.

As we continue to read about and share with you more interesting predictions for 2014 food industry trends, feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts and predictions on what trends you think the food industry will see in 2014.

 

Greek Yogurt is the Celebrity Ingredient

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Greek yogurt is becoming a refrigerator staple as consumers seek healthy, “authentic” foods, even though it’s often pricier. In fact, Greek yogurt now accounts for a quarter of the sales in the total yogurt market. In an article posted by the Los Angeles Times, Greek yogurt, overall, has had one of the fastest growth spurts the food and beverage industry has seen in years.

A social media post introducing Yasso’s Greek yogurt smoothies sparked a lot of discussion around Greek yogurt and its newfound popularity. Greek yogurt is on an accelerated growth spurt and many popular brands are modifying their products to keep up.

Ben&JerrysGreekYogurt

The increase in popularity behind Greek yogurt led to Ben & Jerry’s latest introduction of their line of frozen treats. According to their press release, four flavors contain real Greek Yogurt. The flavors of yogurt, still regarded as indulgent desserts, reap the benefits of containing real Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is made through a traditional straining process allowing more of the whey to drain out, leaving a thicker, smoother yogurt that’s high in protein and low in fat.

Expect to see more brands incorporating Greek yogurt into their health and wellness products. There always seems to be at least one “celebrity ingredient” in the market and Greek yogurt looks to be it for 2013.

Street Food in Europe

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][container][text_output]Food trucks and street food continue to receive a lot of attention in the United States and have become a leading trend setter in new culinary developments for corporate chefs and the R&D crowd. With all this national buzz, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at how street food translates in Europe, where there are centuries of history in food markets and street food stalls.

Our international food marketing correspondent recently took a European river cruise, stopping off at street food markets in several major cities. Looking through the photos that were sent, we noticed several interesting differences in how street food is prepared and presented in Europe, versus major U.S. cities. Onsite preparation of raw ingredients is usually banned in the U.S., while it is a staple of European street vendors. Products like dairy and eggs, that require refrigeration in the U.S., are just as often presented in open air displays without refrigeration in Europe. Wines and liquors, heavily regulated in the U.S., are much more commonly available in European street markets. The photos below show several interesting examples.[/text_output][/container][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][rev_slider_vc alias=”streetfoodeurope”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

2013 Flavor and Food Ingredient Trends Roundup

Creative use of ethnic flavors and regional themes highlights the newest flavor trends while grains and other high-fiber ingredients are predicted to gain more center-of-the-plate attention in 2013.

flavorTrends2

According to Bell Flavors and Fragrances, regional American and regional Mexican and Latin American flavors will be among the top flavor trends in 2013. Bell Flavors and Fragrances also predicts we’ll see new flavors in beverages based on favorite desserts. However, as the trend of health and wellness continues to grow, Bell Flavors and Fragrances states that consumers will look for functional beverages that have less salt, fat and sugar.

McCormick & Co., Inc. released their annual report, Flavor Forecast 2013, giving a spotlight to the emerging trends. According to their report, trends and flavors will take root in cultures spanning Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, Latin America and North America. McCormick’s executive chef, Kevan Vetter, pointed out that they are seeing a fascinating collision of tradition and innovation with authentic real ingredients still at the core—though now they’re being enjoyed in unique, updated ways to reflect a much more personalized approach to cooking and eating.

From their digital resource library and MenuMonitor database, Technomic stated a variety of grains are being identified as “playing star roles on trendy menus.” They also noted that a number of grains are being nudged to the forefront as part of the movement to gluten-free eating. Along with their prediction around grains, Technomic also predicted that ramen, udon, soba, rice noodles and other high-fiber grains will show up in soups and mixed-texture salads.

This is the third 2013 trends roundup blog we’ve posted. Are there any additional 2013 food trend predictions you’ve read? If so, feel free to leave us a comment below.

2013 Consumer Food Trends Roundup: Health and Wellness

Consumer

As more 2013 food trends have flooded the news, a common theme regarding consumers resonates: health and wellness.

According to Dr. Catherine Adams Hutt, RD, from Sloan Trends, younger people are thinking more about energy, body image, shape and tone; everyone is thinking about weight management and curbing hunger pangs between meals; and boomers want to stay energetic, strong and active as they age. Therefore, she feels protein will be the trend in 2013 across all age groups.

Innova Market Insights, part of the Innova Database, an online new product development tracking tool, also listed a protein overdrive in their lineup of 2013 trends. They also believe that there will be more “free-from” claims becoming increasingly prevalent, such as lactose-free, which will follow the now mainstream gluten-free set. Innova Market Insights also sees brain function remaining a top concern for the aging population, so we should expect more products on a cognitive health platform.

Studies from the NPD Group also show that nutrition and healthy eating habits are top meal-planning priorities for baby boomers. With that in mind, we can expect to see more heart-healthy antioxidant-rich foods taking over the supermarkets, including oily fish such as salmon, as well as green tea, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, popcorn, berries and whole grains.

According to Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, smaller bites and more frequent eating patterns will be a trend in 2013 that will help reduce overall portion size and increase variety for consumers. Lempert also predicts that frozen food will be big in 2013, and there will be an increased emphasis on nutrition in frozen food as consumers continue to make fewer meals from scratch.

Paul Grimwood, chairman and CEO of Nestlé USA stated that it is clear consumers are much more health conscious today than ever before. He also noted that Nestlé USA will always strive to find new and innovative ways to help consumers lead a healthier, more enjoyable life.

 

 

2013 Foodservice Food Trends Roundup

It’s that time of year again when many publications, consultants and organizations submit their predictions for next year’s food trends and popular developments.

Trends

Most of the food trend predictions tend to include a lot of information, so we’ve looked at a couple of notable sources and their 2013 predictions and have highlighted a few of the trends we found to be interesting:

Sterling Rice Group, with the expertise of their culinary council—a team of more than 100 famous chefs, restaurateurs and foodies—released what they have identified as the top 10 food trends. With health and global realities top-of-mind concerns for consumers, next year, chefs will be behind the scenes making dishes healthier and providing all-inclusive menus to accommodate all types of diners—vegetarians, vegans, kids, gluten-free, wheat-free and eco-conscious. Also included in their report, popcorn will be the snack of the year in 2013 and there will be a rise in specialty items from American artisans. Sterling Rice Group also noted that Asian flavors will infiltrate American comfort foods, and there will be a plethora of tart, acidic and bitter flavors to choose from in the dining scene.

Baum + Whiteman, a food and restaurant consulting company, stated that everyone wants to be Chipotle—even Chipotle, in their trends report, 17 Hottest Food and Dining Trends for Restaurants and Hotels, 2013. What they meant by that statement is that consumers are bypassing casual dinner houses and heading toward fast-casual dining where they experience interactive service with customizable upscale flavor options in foods prepared directly in front of them. As the fast-casual dining trends upward, fast food restaurants will be updating, or as Baum + Whiteman put it, “dumbelling” their menu boards with more upscale, higher-priced menu options, and still keeping their bargain-priced options available. Also noted in the report, restaurants will look to boost distinctiveness and embark on edgier design and sustainability features.

National Restaurant Association (N.R.A.) released their annual “What’s hot 2013 chef survey,” and noted that locally sourced foods and children’s nutrition are the leading trends in 2013. Over 50 percent of the chefs surveyed said they will continue to make an effort to adjust dishes/recipes to be more healthful. The N.R.A. survey also highlighted the slow pace of change in the food category due to the fact that the 2013 survey is similar to the association’s 2012 effort. However, some new trends surfaced which included “non-wheat noodles/pasta, ethnic-inspired breakfast items and black/forbidden rice.

As we continue to uncover more interesting food trend predictions for 2013, what other interesting predictions are you seeing? Do you agree with the predictions that are out there? Feel free to leave us a comment with your thoughts and predictions on what the food industry will look like in 2013.

Sodium Reduction Pressure Increases on Food Manufacturers

Food manufacturers are under increasing pressure to lower sodium in their products as more cities, states and national health organizations partner to work towards reduction of salt in packaged and restaurant foods.

salt-blood-pressure-guage

In 2010, the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), a voluntary, national initiative to reduce the levels of salt in foods by as much as 25 percent over the next five years, was conceived by health officials in New York. After two years, the initiative still has cities, states and organizations hopping on board, putting pressure on food manufacturers to lower the sodium content in their products. In January 2012, the Arizona Department of Health Services joined the initiative and is working to educate health practitioners, seniors, parents, children and all residents about the dangers of too much salt in the diet. According to the NSRI, if the national initiative is successful, it could prevent 10,000 deaths annually which are caused by high blood pressure and associated diseases.

Aside from the NSRI, the Center for Science in the Public Interest recently sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criticizing them for not introducing mandatory sodium reduction levels. As diets continue to be too high in sodium, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year and billions in medical costs, the FDA has not taken any action to control the salt in packaged or restaurant foods. In the letter, it stated that upwards of 100,000 lives could be saved annually if sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods were halved.

For food manufacturers, the pressure isn’t going to let up. In fact, it’s going to continue to get stronger. Reducing the salt levels in packaged and restaurant foods will increase consumer choice. Anyone can add more salt at the table, but consumers can’t remove what was added during production.

Top Trends at IFT12

The IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo was once again the year’s leading showcase for the top trends in food ingredient marketing. Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in late June, the annual trade show of the Institute of Food Technologists featured over 1,000 ingredient manufacturers exhibiting their latest products and solutions for the food industry.

This year was dominated by a single leading trend: reduction. Keith Nunes, executive editor of Food Business News, called this year’s show, “The Reduction Show.” Indeed, it seemed like nearly every exhibitor offered an ingredient product or solution to help food manufacturers reduce at least one or more of the “unholy trinity” of salt, sugar and fat from their food products.

Nu-Tek Booth CroppedLeading the show were ingredient solutions to reduce sodium in manufactured and processed foods.  One of the clear leaders in sodium reduction was Nu-Tek Food Science, who’s Advanced Formula Potassium Chloride provided customers with a sodium-reduction technology that promised a clean label and cost-effective benefits along with consistent manufacturing results.

Exhibitors also showcased prominent ingredient offerings for reducing sugar and fat. Spice companies and ingredient blenders led the way with multiple offerings that often combined several ingredients in one package to reduce sugar, fat and calories from existing formulations.

Expect to see these trends dominate food ingredient marketing during the remainder of 2012. As in year’s past, the annual IFT show will set the major trends in marketing and communications for the year ahead.

Nu-Tek Executives See Different Attitudes on Sodium Reduction

In a recent Food Business News article, Donald Mower, president and chief operating officer of Nu-Tek Salt, and Thomas Manuel, Nu-Tek founder and chief executive officer, discussed the status of the sodium reduction market.

NuTekTeam.165430

According to Mower, not all segments of the processed foods industry are addressing public concerns about sodium in food with the same level of seriousness. He views makers of processed meat and poultry as early adapters of sodium reduction and sees the management of those companies recognizing it as something they need to address. Mower also states that other important food categories are lagging in their efforts, but feels they’ll make progress.

Mower addresses the cheese and dairy category as being number two behind processed meat and poultry in their efforts to reduce sodium, and he views bakery being the furthest behind. But, with the announcement from the Centers for Disease Control showing bakery as the number one source of sodium in the diet, Mower believes there will be more recognition that the bakery industry needs to move on sodium reduction.

Sodium Reduction Pressure Increases on Food Manufacturers

Food manufacturers are under increasing pressure to lower sodium in their products as more cities, states and national health organizations partner to work towards reduction of salt in packaged and restaurant foods.

Sodium Pressure

In 2010, the National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI), a voluntary, national initiative to reduce the levels of salt in foods by as much as 25 percent over the next five years, was conceived by health officials in New York. After two years, the initiative still has cities, states and organizations hopping on board, putting pressure on food manufacturers to lower the sodium content in their products. In January 2012, the Arizona Department of Health Services joined the initiative and is working to educate health practitioners, seniors, parents, children and all residents about the dangers of too much salt in the diet. According to the NSRI, if the national initiative is successful, it could prevent 10,000 deaths annually which are caused by high blood pressure and associated diseases.

Aside from the NSRI, the Center for Science in the Public Interest recently sent a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criticizing them for not introducing mandatory sodium reduction levels. As diets continue to be too high in sodium, contributing to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year and billions in medical costs, the FDA has not taken any action to control the salt in packaged or restaurant foods. In the letter, it stated that upwards of 100,000 lives could be saved annually if sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods were halved.

For food manufacturers, the pressure isn’t going to let up. In fact, it’s going to continue to get stronger. Reducing the salt levels in packaged and restaurant foods will increase consumer choice. Anyone can add more salt at the table, but consumers can’t remove what was added during production.

Consumers Reducing Sodium

As the sodium-reduction trend continues to grow, so does consumer awareness and concern over the high levels of sodium in the processed foods they eat.

Consumers Cut Sodium

Since the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement in early February, many consumers have become more aware of the need to reduce sodium in their diets. According to a recent Mintel report, about half (52 percent) of American adults are currently watching their diet, and 15 percent of them are doing so due to their concerns about salt intake. It was also reported that 44 percent of consumers always or usually consult the Nutrition Facts Panel and/or ingredient list to look at sodium when considering foods.

The number of consumers consulting those labels will increase in 2012 as the new Facts Up Frontnutrient-based labeling system takes off. With this system, sodium content will become more visible to consumers, making it easier for them to make healthy decisions when purchasing food. It will also increase the pressure on food manufacturers to implement sodium reductions in their products.

Gluten-free Food Trends 2012

Gluten-free food continues to be a hot topic in the industry. Mintel, the independent provider of world-leading market intelligence, recently published their first “Gluten-free Foods” report.

glutenfree

The retail gluten-free food market has grown tremendously over the past couple of years with retail sales reaching an estimated $6.1 billion in 2011. According to Mintel, additional factors driving the sales of gluten-free food include the improved taste of products, consumer perception that it’s better for you than traditional food, trendiness, and interest in natural and organic food and beverages.

The Mintel research also showed that wheat allergies affect only a minority of people, but celiac disease is on the rise. Only 1 percent of consumers say they’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease and just 8 percent overall say they are gluten intolerant/sensitive. However, research leads Mintel to believe that many consumers may not realize they are gluten intolerant/sensitive or may be ignoring the signs and symptoms. So the 8 percent overall is probably closer to 15 percent.

As research shows, the gluten-free market isn’t going away; therefore, food companies have significant opportunities to further market their products and capitalize on providing the information, support and products gluten avoiders are searching for.

Study: build successful business relationships with the next generation of customers

New Study

Strengthen your communication with the growing millennial workforce by understanding what they’re seeking from their ingredient suppliers
MORE>>

Join our mailing list to receive the latest in food ingredient news delivered right to your inbox. MORE>>

Industry News – Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing

In The News

1