The Top Ten Hottest Food Trends You Are Buying Into
It seems food companies around the world are using whatever marketing tactics possible to draw the consumer to the product while they whisk down the aisles of the supermarket. What is it about consumer behaviour that has food companies modifying, expanding, and diversifying their brands at such a fast rate?
Food experts have spotted 10 major food trends and outlined them in Food Technology’s April issue. See if these trends match what you have stored in your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator.
* Foods for at-risk kids. Extra weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol can affect pretty much anyone at any age bow, so food products are trimming fat, sugar, and food allergens while boosting calcium and whole grains. Fresh fruit and yogurt remain top snacks for younger kids.
* Smaller servings, limited calories. Low-calorie items and smaller portions are in demand. Small sizes may become popular at restaurants, too.
* Focus on phytochemicals. These natural chemicals found in plant-based foods such as green tea, berries, and chocolate have healthy ingredients including antioxidants and flavonols.
* Foods with multiple health perks. People today want foods that multi-task for better health, such as items that are low in fat, cholesterol, and salt with a modest calorie count to help people watching their weight, or watching their heart health.
* Fat facts. The number of products touting “low,” “no,” or “reduced” trans fats has shot up in recent years. “Low in saturated fat,” “fat-free,” and “cholesterol-free” are other popular buzzwords on food packaging. It is also popular now to feature omega-3 fatty acids for heart health on food labels.
* Foods for older shoppers. Food marketers have an eye on the aging population, so expect to see foods aimed at common health concerns among elders, including osteoporosis, digestive problems, arthritis, and menopause. For example, some yogurts highlight probiotics (helpful bacteria) for digestion.
* Glycemic, gluten, and grains. The low-carb craze has waned, but items that are low on the glycemic index are still hot. Those foods don’t cause dramatic spikes and crashes in blood sugar. “Gluten-free” fare is also catching on, with more people becoming aware of gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity. Glutens are a form of protein found in some grains.
* Natural solutions. Organic foods are the “in” thing these days. Meat and poultry from animals raised on vegetarian feed with access to pastures and without hormones or antibiotics are also catching on.
* Performance boosters. Products are promising to boost energy and mental sharpness. Flavored bottled waters are projected to grow by nearly 50% by 2009.
* Fun favorites. Some companies have put a twist on traditional products. Many items aim to skim sugar, fat, and calories off sweets and desserts without sacrificing taste.
It seems the public is seeking more healthy foods and the food companies are providing them. With all the trends out there, it is likely you fall into one or more of these categories. But are we falling for smart marketing ploys or are these products really delivering? Make sure you read your labels and separate the healthy from the hyped-up.