Lisa A. Bastian (Aug/Sep 08)
Market Trends to Watch
Experts from a broad spectrum of food- and health-related organizations have a lot to say about trends affecting products enjoyed by American consumers. A common prediction is that consumers will be more inquisitive about how and where their food is grown, its freshness factor, and the "carbon footprint" of the entire process. Look for farmers markets to make a resurgence. Organics should continue to be popular, but some experts think private-label rather than more-expensive branded organics will increase in popularity if food prices skyrocket.
Increasing numbers of exotic and ethnic flavors and products are expected to hit both general market and gourmet shelves. A WebMD.com article predicts that "goji berries, yumberries, pomegranates, blood oranges, colored and flavored salts," and unusual grains (e.g. amaranth, quinoa, red rice) will be more widely seen.
People will also seek out fresh and processed "functional foods" said to help individuals decrease risks of chronic diseases and lose weight. As part of this trend, the array of portion-control snacks (marked by low calorie, fat, or carb numbers), will be expanded and nutritional merits of commonly bought foods will be increasingly marketed to consumers. While low-carb dieting may not officially be today's hottest trend, people are still concerned about lowering their sugar and empty carb intake as the nation's obesity epidemic rages. In particular, schools and governments will implement more educational programs to offset the intense marketing of less healthy foods to children.
Always changing, always evolving, food processing will continue to be one of the world's most vitally important and intriguing industries to watch.