Most of the food trend predictions for 2015 were released near the end of 2014 and I’ve previously written compilations of those trends. Now I’m back summarizing a few more trends identified by Innova Market Insights during the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food expo held here in Chicago. The trends were featured in a slideshow Top 10 food trends unveiled at IFT 2015 in Food Business News.
1. From clean to clear label
Clean label is no longer a trend — it’s the rule. Companies now need to increase transparency about their ingredients and educate consumers on websites and packaging with understandable ingredient labels. Nine out of 10 consumers believe foods and beverages with recognizable ingredients are healthier.
A continued interest in home cooking has inspired new products with fresh, premium solutions for meal preparation. Expect to see growth in ethnic dishes available in meal kit formats and specialized ingredients in the baking aisle.
3. Marketing to millennials
To reach this demographic (ages 15-35), companies must establish an identity or positive reputation, offer value-added packaging or novel formulations and flavors, and appeal to millennials’ desire for individuality and personalization.
Snack companies have a large, untapped opportunity to develop healthy, portable and easy-to-eat smaller meals as the line between snacks and meals continues to blur. Consumers crave energy in the morning, indulgence in the evening and convenience throughout the day.
5. Good fats, good carbs
Let’s hope we’re moving away from low fat and low carb. Now “made with real butter” is a rising claim on new product labels, as more consumers gravitate toward fats and oils perceived as healthy in favor of artificial margarines that may be high in trans fats. Similarly, carbs have made a comeback, with an emphasis on ancient grains, sweet potatoes and other complex carbs pushing refined carbs and sugars to the back of the shelf.
6.More in store for protein
From insects to microalgae, alternative sources of protein are getting more attention. While dairy proteins are still going strong, pea protein and other plant-based sources are expected to surge.
7. New routes for fruit
One-third of Americans choose fruit as an afternoon snack, and dried fruits and fruit-based snacks are gaining popularity. Vegetables are sneaking into fruit bars and fruit pouches, adding nutritional appeal and flavor novelty.
Innovative products, new technology and positioning are refreshing the frozen category. Frozen foods are also touting the less-waste message, with advantages of portion-size and resealable packages.
9. Private label powers on
The quality and consumer perception of store brands has improved significantly, especially among discounted retailers, such as ALDI, who have introduced more specialty and premium private labels.
10. Rich, chewy and crunchy
Texture claims have grown 136% in global product launches as consumers seek more sensory experiences. Brands are describing yogurt as “creamy,” chocolate bars as “bubbly” and candies as “soft and chewy.” Descriptors on the rise in new products include “extra chewy” or “extra crunchy,” “tender,” “silky,” “succulent,” “fluffy” and “extra thin.”