April 25, 2011
CHICAGOThe past few years of economic turmoil has caused consumers food attitudes to shift and shape the Top 10 food trends for 2011, according to a new article published in Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Food Technology magazine.
High grocery and gasoline prices, job insecurity and the risk of inflation are limiting what consumers will spend; however, the conservative attitude is leading to more meals prepared and eaten at home, rejuvenating that segment of the industry.
The Top 10 food trends for 2011 are:
Demographically Directed. There is a dramatic difference in food preferences, eating styles and behaviors from the oldest consumers to the youngest.
Still Cooking. Last year, 55 percent of grocery shoppers prepared more meals at home than in 2009, approaching a 20-year high. The trend is expected to continue, but shoppers want some help in making their meals, such as simple instructions, pop-up timers and serving suggestions.
The Appeal of Americana. Americana, characterized by factors ranging from local and farm-raised foods to American regional cuisines, will be among the most prominent food industry trends over the next decade. Southern, American seaboard and American barbecue lead U.S. cuisines on restaurant menus in 2011, which opens up many possibilities for traditional comfort foods, such as chili, fried chicken, pot roast and macaroni and cheese.
Foodie Focused. Two-thirds of consumers consider themselves knowledgeable and interested in food, with young adults ages 25-34 most likely to be foodies. Research shows the specialty food market experienced marked success in 2010, with 63 percent of adults buying gourmet foods, up from just 46 percent in 2009.
Get Real. Consumers are increasingly concerned about contents of the food in their diets. Research finds half of consumers deliberately avoid preservatives, almost half (47 percent) avoid artificial flavors, and 43 percent avoid colors. Natural ingredients rank third on the list of most looked-for items on the ingredient label, after type of fat/oil and sweeteners.
The New Nutrients. Consumers are shifting away from getting nutrients via fortified foods and turning toward products that are naturally high in vitamins/minerals and those that have been blended with other foods to create even higher nutrient levels. Whole grain was the most sought-after health claim on packages in 2010, followed by high fiber, low sodium, low fat, no trans fat, low sugar, low calorie, no chemical additives, no preservatives and low/lowers cholesterol.
Specialty Treats. Chocolate candy, creamers, cookies and wine are among the fastest-growing categories in food, drug and mass merchandisers. The popularity of baking at home is surging because of the economy and high-end baking shows on television, but with only 41 percent of meal preparers describing themselves as experienced bakers, bread/bakery mixes and decorative toppings are enjoying brisk sales.
Three Squares. Research shows the number of adults eating three meals a day increased 6 percent during the past two years, with breakfast being the biggest beneficiary of that trend. In 2010, consumers ate breakfast 5.3 days per week, and 55 percent never skipped the morning meal. Three-quarters of breakfast eaters ate at home, up 8 percent from two years ago. More than half of full-time workers brought a lunch from home in 2010, up from 28 percent in 2007.
Prescriptive Eating. Consumers are turning to functional foods to aid in their health goals. Research finds 68 percent of baby boomers were concerned about cholesterol and 66 percent were concerned about blood pressure; among Gen Y consumers, 40 percent were concerned about cholesterol and blood pressure. Weight control and cholesterol-lowering lead the list of most desired functional food benefits, followed by digestion and immunity.
Home Rituals. The difficult economy forced consumers to alter their everyday eating practices, and many of those changes remain in place three years later. For example, 71 percent of consumers have brought snacks from home to movies and sporting events, and 78 percent of all snacking now takes place in the home. Sixty-seven percent of consumers are spending more time at home with their family, and 44 percent entertaining family/friends at home instead of going out in 2010.
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