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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.

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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 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 No Longer Trending—It’s the Rule

At the IFT15 Expo in Chicago, Innova Market Insights said it best, clean label is no longer a trend—it’s the rule. As stated in our “The Simple Trend in Food Ingredients” blog post, 62% of consumers seek foods that are minimally processed and 53% prefer foods and beverages that contain a short list of ingredients. With a high consumer demand for cleaner labels, the food industry is left to respond with product reformulations, new product developments and new communication strategies to keep up with the marketplace.

From natural and organic to no artificial additives and no partially hydrogenated oils, food ingredient companies on the IFT15 expo floor were marketing solutions to help food manufacturers “follow the rule” and clean up the labels on its products. Companies like Naturex and Kalsec used simple statements on their booths—“From Nature to You” and “Cleaner Labels. Clear.”—to grab the attention of and engage food manufacturers who were in attendance at the show.

CleanLabelImages

Land O’Lakes Ingredients was another company that showcased how its ingredients provided a solution and opportunity for product developers to clean up their labels. At IFT15, Land O’Lakes Ingredients launched a new cheese powder, 3-Pepper CheddarChromaTM. At the booth, Land O’Lakes Ingredients used a display card next to the application sample to highlight how 3-Pepper CheddarChroma cheese powder contains no artificial flavoring, no FD&C colors and no added MSG—giving snack food manufacturers a quick snapshot of how Land O’Lakes Ingredients can help them clean up the labels on new product developments and reformulations.

With a consumer demand that shows no signs of going away, the food industry will have to continue to work together to overcome the challenges, and evolve and adapt to the rule—because let’s be honest—being a “rule breaker” in this industry won’t always lead to success in the marketplace.

Innovative Booth Spaces Lead the Way at IFT15

As creative director at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing, designing and developing booth spaces for major trade shows are some of the most exciting and high-profile projects we work on throughout the year. These are important events for our clients, and as ambassadors for their brand we always strive to create a space that not only is the strongest extension of their brand, but also makes for an engaging and impactful experience for trade show attendees.

Once a trade show booth design is complete, the only way to properly experience it “in action” is by attending one of these shows to see for yourself how visitors react to and engage with it.

As an IFT15 attendee, I had the opportunity to see how the most prominent companies in the food ingredient industry were vying for the attention of over 23,000 attendees, and I walked away with a ton of inspiration and insights for future projects. I was able to experience firsthand some of the most highly sophisticated trade show exhibits in the industry, all gathered together, and see what was working best in capturing the attention of attendees and creating a space that allowed sales teams to best engage with customers.

Here are some things that stood out for me on the expo floor at IFT15:

Emergence of infographics

In the world of B2B social media, infographics are one of the most effective ways to engage with visitors to share relevant content. This tactic also seemed to work very well on the trade show floor. Exhibitors like Mintel, Ingredion and Innova Market Insights (Innova) used prominent space on their booths to feature valuable content to attendees through giant infographics. And every time I walked by the Innova display, I saw attendees studying these infographics or grabbing photos of them with their phones.

Innova Booth IFT

The “wholesome” look

With clean and clear label dominating industry news today, I saw a lot of trade show imagery styled to convey a sense of what I call “wholesomeness.” Design cues like: white space, close-up shots of raw ingredients, vibrant colors and hand-drawn typefaces all had the effect of portraying an industry committed to addressing the needs of customers facing the ongoing challenge of consumer demand for clean and clear label.

Kitchens on wheels

When product sampling is a vital aspect of your trade show appearance, do it right. Companies like Ardent Mills, Bunge and David Michael and Co. all made quite a presence at IFT with branded mobile kitchens being an essential part of their space. It’s a great vehicle—pun intended—to extend a brand’s presence and engage customers beyond the trade show floor. When the show ends, these kitchens on wheels can then be driven anywhere so R&D can work side-by-side with a customer’s product development team.

David Michael IFT

Transparency/Openness

Innovations in printing and production capabilities have led to some very unique materials being used for trade show spaces. I found it particularly interesting that many exhibitors, including Mercer Foods, were utilizing semi-translucent materials for prominent branding, making their space seem larger and less confined. Other exhibitors were taking a less-is-more approach by limiting the amount of hardware and giving plenty of walking area for visitors entering the booth space.

Mercer Foods IFT

It was great to experience all of the action at IFT15. Walking the expo floor, you fully realize how much time, effort, planning and teamwork—both by the exhibitors and IFT—goes into this event to make it a success each year.

What from the IFT15 trade show floor made an impression on you?

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