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Food Trends to Watch in 2018

Consumer demand for healthy options, interesting flavor profiles and environmentally
sustainable offerings molded the food industry in 2017. With these trends deeply
entrenched, expect many of them to be hugely popular again this year.
Transparency, science-based foods and ethnic cuisine look to peak consumer interest in
2018, according to major manufacturers and research firms.


Time will tell how these 3 projections will impact this year's product offerings, but several
food company experts and industry analysts have already seen these trends start to make
their way into the marketplace.


Transparency


Beginning with the clean label movement consumers demand for transparency has lead to
more product information, less artificial ingredients and more sustainable production and
packaging. This has extended beyond labeling to include traceability as consumer demand to
know where there food comes from and how its been handled.
Only a few food makers print the name and location of the farm, along with the signature
of the producer, on their packaging, but that's the practice of Farmhand Organics. The
Colorado-based company also uses transparent jars to display its fermented and preserved
food products, which are both locally sourced and certified organic.
Few food producers print the name and location of the production facility on their packing but
that’s the practice of Farmhand Organics. The locally sourced and certified organic Colorado
based company also uses transparent jars to display its fermented and preserved food
products.


Technology is aiding in the crusade for transparency as brands adopt programs that allow
consumers to scan a package to learn about its origin. Blockchain a new program innovating
supply chain transparency can trace a fish entire journey from sea to plate.
Presentation, packaging and marketing have become increasingly more important in telling a
story about the product and how it was produced so the consumer can feel a personal
connection to their food. Consumers also want to be ensured that consumers have similar
values by embracing missions such as ethical treating of employees and animals and
environmental sustainability. This approach is beneficial for both consumers and companies
alike as a study from Label Insight show that food manufactures that adopt “complete
transparency” are rewarded with consumer loyalty of about 94%.


Science-based foods


Techfood or food made from technology such as cell cultured meat and plant based meat
analogs have arrived, they are no longer the stuff of science fiction. A few of these products are
already in restaurants and stores and as the publics appetite grows for these innovations more
will soon to be on the way.
Beyond Meat, known for its successful plant-based burger products, recently launched
Beyond Sausage that is made with pea protein isolate, coconut oil and sunflower oil. The
vegetarian product is designed to mimic the flavor, texture and shape of pork sausage
without the hormones, nitrates, soy and gluten.
Sales of plant-based foods grew 8.1% during the past year, according to the Plant Based
Foods Association and The Good Food Institute. Nielsen estimated that plant-based meats
accounted for 2.1% of sales in refrigerated and frozen meat products sold at retail.
Cell-cultured meat also is gaining traction, and startups have begun to experiment with fish
as well as beef and poultry. Finless Foods is developing a cell-cultured Bluefin tuna that the
company hopes can achieve price parity with the real thing by next year. While the initial
lab prototype weighed in at about $19,000 per pound, Finless Foods recently said that
production costs have been cut in half since September.
Cell cultured eat is also gaining traction and new companies have begun to experiment with
fish, beef and poultry. Some companies have begun expefimenting but as of right now prices
are too high to bring to the market. Finless foods is delelping a cell cultured Bluefin tuna that
they hope to bring to market next year. The prototype costs about $19,000 per pound but
Finless Foods recently said that production costs have been cut in half since September.
Science-based foods certainly can carry a stigma, but the purported environmental and
nutritional benefits of & clean meat may prove enticing. Once clean meat is commercially
available and is offered alongside conventional meat — and consumers are thereby
informed of all its advantages — we at GFI have no doubt that consumers will opt for the
former”,  Bruce Friedrich, co-founder and executive director of The Good Food Institute,
said in a blog.


Ethnic cuisine

Asian and Middle Eastern flavors have become wildly popular with consumers who are
seeking new and intriguing items beyond the well-known standbys. Asian flavors balance
the five basic tastes — sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami — while Middle Eastern ones
range from spice blends with texture — such as zatar and dukkah — to labna, a soft and
spreadable cheeses made from strained yogurt.

Spicy flavors sell extremely well in the U.S and many consumers are branching out beyond
basic flavors as food producers shine a light on more authentic, ethnic flavors. Recent
demographics changes is seen as a driving factor behind this trend especially as the
purchasing power of the millennial demographic increases, growing Hispanic and Asian
populations influence this trend as well.
According to Statista, retail sales of ethnic foods will jump from $10.9 million in 2013 to an
estimated $12.5 million this year. 
Molly Siegler, Whole Foods; associate culinary and hospitality coordinator, told Food Dive
she thinks consumer interest in ethnic flavors will only expand the footprint for these
products in the company's stores, as well as in other retail outlets. It's only
going to grow, Siegler said. From a prepared foods perspective, we take a real
restaurant-style approach to hot bars and salad bars and other venues within the stores,
and look forward to bringing more of these flavors into our stores.

2018-04-03 00:00:00
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