Food in 2014 is taking a turn for the healthy; and we think it’s about time. Though the shift started in 2013 when 58 percent of surveyed consumers said they thought a lot about the healthfulness of their foods and beverages, it’s predicted consumers will become even more focused on health throughout this year.
We try our best to predict the food trends for the upcoming year, and we successfully predicted health being a major factor in food for 2014. Now that we’re a quarter of the way into the year, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) and Dr. Elizabeth Sloan—a food trend guru—have decided it’s time for some of those predictions to turn into actual trends. Here, a list of what to expect (and most likely, what you’re already experiencing):
Getting Real Food
The majority of consumers check the ingredient list for ingredients they recognize. They also specifically look for foods made with simple, real, and natural ingredients.
Specialties Aren’t So Special
Specialized diets are becoming mainstream, and consumers who once relied on nutritional supplements are now turning to fortified foods instead. According to IFT research, most adults are making a strong effort to take in more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
A new group is taking up the challenge of trying health foods before the rest of us. Research found Hispanics are usually the first group to try new health foods, nutritional products, or diets.
Protein Bulking Up
People are seeking to put more protein in their diets to maintain healthy bones, build muscle, and keep their energy up. People between the ages of 18-34 and over 65 are the most likely to seek additional protein.
No More Junky Kid Food
Moms are searching for more healthy and convenient kid-friendly snacks and meals instead of the traditional junk food. Their also looking for snacks with nutrient and calorie levels specifically for kids.
Eight out of ten consumers believe some foods can help delay the onset of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and Type 2 diabetes. Last year, over half of consumers bought foods or beverages made to help treat a specific condition.
No More Status Quo
A meat and potatoes dinner is no longer the standard for family meals. In fact, 80 percent of households surveyed now eat a meatless meal for dinner on occasion. Meatless protein alternatives and dairy-free milk are also seeing rises in popularity.
Get in the Game
Foods and beverages designed for sports nutrition are becoming more popular not only with athletes and body builders, but those who participate in recreational sports and workout at the gym. Over half of adults used some sort of sports nutrition product in the last year, and that number is expected to rise.
Food choices may be the one area where Millennials can avoid their bad rap. Most view their food options as healthier, less processed, better tasting, and more natural than what was available to other generations. They are also more likely to read the nutrition labels on the foods they buy.
Eat and Lose Weight
Gone are the days when people flocked to eat less, weigh less type diets. Now, consumers lean toward simply eating healthier and adding specific nutrients like calcium, protein, fiber, and antioxidants to their diets to help with weight loss.