1. Fresh and refrigerated foods. Nearly nine in 10 adults feel that fresh foods are healthier, 80% feel that they are tastier and 78% of consumers are making a strong effort to eat more fresh versus processed foods. Shoppers are buying more fresh ingredients, up 10% versus just three years ago.
2. Eating for a specific lifestyle. Dramatic changes in lifestyle, eating patterns and demographics are creating new rules for marketing and packaging and are motivating new food product purchases. Nearly half of all eating occasions are alone and the family meal continues to erode; only 27% of family meals include children.
3. Reasonable snacking. The average number of in-between-meal snacks has grown from two per person per day in 2010 to almost three in 2014, and consumers are snacking throughout the whole day. Health is an important snack factor for half of adults. Refrigerated juices, smoothies, yogurt, nutrition bars, trail mixes, specialty nut butters and popcorn were among the fastest-growing healthy snacks in 2013.
4. Discovering new cuisines. More sophisticated food experiences, characterized by unique flavors and culinary narratives, is another trend on the rise. Gourmet products such as oils, cheeses and baked goods are purchased by more than 40%. Pickling, fermenting, fire-roasting and smoking are all hot food preparation trends for 2015, as well as global flavors like harissa, aji, gochujang, yuzu, togarashi, peri peri and za’atar.
5. Exclusion diets. Consumers are continuing to experiment with alternative eating styles. In 2014, one-third of adults tried a specialty regiment like gluten-free, lactose-free, raw/living foods, dairy-free or a juice cleanse. Three-quarters of U.S. households prepare meat alternatives for dinner, with eggs being the most popular meat alternative. Food restrictions, intolerances, or allergies have a good deal of influence on food choices for one in 10 shoppers and 17% are somewhat influenced.
6. Breakfast. Most people are eating breakfast five times a week. Having more energy and mental focus, helping maintain weight and feeling full until lunchtime are all things that motivate nonbreakfast eaters to dig into breakfast. Ethnic flavors for breakfast are trending as well such as chipotle, manchego, chutney, Cotija and chimichurri.
7. Rethinking natural. In 2014, 29% of consumers bought more local foods and beverages, 28% bought more organic products, 25% more natural foods and 23% more non-GMO offerings.
8. Whole food nutrition.In 2014, fiber/whole grain were the most sought after food ingredients. Nonwheat flours (peanut, millet, barley and rice) were among the hot culinary ingredients in 2015, followed by ethnic flours like fufu, teff and cassava. More than one third of the best-selling new foods/beverages in 2013 carried a real fruit or fruit health benefits claim and 14% of the best-sellers touted a vegetable health benefit.
9. “Cook-less” meals. More than a quarter of consumers say they are preparing more meals in less than 20 minutes than they did five years ago. One-pot meals were up 29% and meals using marinated meats and poultry were up 21%. Packaged meals and kits, oven baking and take-and-bake products are all popular amongst consumers.
10. Diet watching. Over half of adults are watching their diets; 66% for general health reasons, 55% to lose weight, 40% to limit fat, sugar, sodium, 38% to prevent future medical issues, 37% to maintain weight, 22% to treat a current medical condition and 10% for a real or perceived food allergy or intolerance.