As 2017 kicks off, consumers and industry professionals alike are interested in what food trends will be popular this year. Many of 2016’s trends will continue into the New Year, but not without evolving. Take a look!
- Clean and Clear Labels Take Center Stage. In recent years, “clean eating” has been the leader among food and nutrition trends. In fact, the U.S. leads global clean label sales, generating more than $25 billion in sales in 2015.[i] However, as consumer values and preferences continue to shift toward foods and/or brands they view as ethical and socially responsible, along with the desire to know where their food comes from, “clean” has evolved to also encompass “clear” labeling of food products. Product claims referencing no additives/preservatives, natural, organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, antibiotic-free, environmental friendliness and animal welfare look to remain popular in 2017.
- Plant-Based Eating Continues to Grow. While protein remains a popular trend, non-animal sources are stealing the spotlight as meat substitutes, dairy alternatives and pulse-based products continue to expand. While 7 million Americans are vegetarians, close to 23 million are flexitarians, or people who only eat meat occasionally. This eating pattern continues to grow, with many citing health, sustainability or animal welfare as reasons for making the change.
- Sugar: Not So Sweet. As research uncovers the health risks associated with sugar consumption, more and more consumers are demanding products made with less of this ingredient. Not surprisingly, sugar claims have grown between 20 and 30 percent in recent years as food manufacturers focus on reducing sugar in their products.i
- “Free From” Is Front and Center. Gluten-free diets have been popular for several years, but more recently, the entire “free-from” space has been gaining traction. Among the top claims consumers find most important are: trans fat-free (78 percent); preservative-free (71 percent); non-GMO (58 percent); and sodium-free (57 percent).[ii] Products free of artificial ingredients and common allergens are also sought after. When it comes to animal protein, consumers are concerned about growth hormones and antibiotics.
- Snacking for the Occasion. As consumers move from three square meals to snacking more often, food manufacturers look to not only provide more snack products, but also provide options for certain occasions, such as “on the go,” or “office snack,” or by specific moments, such as indulgence.
The food and nutrition world is constantly evolving, so be sure to stay tuned to the Omega-9 Oils blog in 2017 – and up to date on the latest news, research and trends in the food industry.
[i] Mintel. Innova Market Insights, 2016.
[ii] International Food Information Council. 2016 Food and Health Survey.