Just like in the world of high fashion, trends in the food industry are constantly changing. If there is one thing you can count on, it is that the American eating habits will never be the same from year to year. Foods and methods of cooking ebb and flow in popularity, new diets become a fad, and groundbreaking technology changes the industry from the ground up.
Clearly, it’s important for you to stay on top of these trends so that you can give your customers exactly what they want. So what trends are predicted to be hot for the rest of 2014?
With nutrition, safety and convenience driving this year’s trends, this is what you need to be targeting says CBS News:
1. Safe (and edible?) Packaging
You know that consumers have become increasingly concerned about what goes into making their food. Now, they want to know what it’s being wrapped, concerned about the environmental impact they’ll have be eating pre-packaged foods. Consumers want to know whether or not the materials are considered safe and if they are recyclable.
Some companies (like a burger joint in Brazil and an ice cream truck in California) are even going as far as introducing edible packaging. It doesn’t get much more Earth friendly than that.
2. Spices Galore
American eating habits have always shown a fondness for well-seasoned meals, but this year, they are taking even more inspiration from global flavors. Not only does the use of spices provide a low-calorie way to add enticing flavors, the health benefits of these spices are finally being valued.
3. On-the-Go and Healthy
Convenient snacks have always been popular among Americans, but now, consumers want these easy options to also be good for them. Think items that are simple to eat in the car or while running out the door. If they don’t have to be refrigerated, that’s even better.
4. Attention to Allergies
In recent years, more Americans have adopted special diets to deal with with food allergies. For this reason, more and more food companies are seeking out ways to eliminate common allergens (gluten, soy, peanuts, dairy, etc.) from their products. And with these new allergen-free products taking up valuable shelf space, businesses need to make sure that they have a mass appeal.
5. Cauliflower (and Other “Superfoods”)
Every year there is a new food that suddenly becomes the must-have health item of the year: kale, quinoa. This year, when it comes to vegetables, it’s all about the cauliflower.
From colored varieties to adding it to unsuspecting recipes (mashed potatoes, anyone?), this previously ignored food is about to become a star. Similarly, the grain family is about to see some new heroes. More specifically, the benefits of teff (gluten free) and freekeh (twice as much fiber as quinoa) are about to become widely known.
6. All-day Tea Time
It’s about time this beverage is accepted any time of day or night. Most varieties are loaded with antioxidants, and tea is a great low-calorie way to enjoy some robust flavors. Even popular coffee chains are starting to capitalize on the growing market of tea drinkers, setting up full tea bars and widening their selections.
7. Adaptation to Technology
Every day a new gadget gets introduced to help make life a little easier, and the food industry is no exception. From apps to look up nutritional details and compare prices to an abundance of online food shopping partnered with grocery store drive thrus, it’s clear the market isn’t what it used to be.
The world of food is constantly changing. American eating habits will never remain constant, and you better be ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation and adaptation lest your competition leave you in the dust.