Food Trends from Institute of Food Technologists 2012 Meeting

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • Consumers are beginning to "get it." The new trends discussed at a recent meeting hosted by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) in Chicago noted that more consumers want to get their vitamins and minerals primarily from the foods they eat and beverages they drink, instead of from supplements. The leading trend seems to be a desire for "real food nutrition," which in turn is prodding companies to blend different foods for maximal health benefits. That means eating nuts and drinking coconut milk as opposed to trying to get the various nutrients these foods offer, from supplements or even fortified foods (meaning foods that are processed and have nutrients added in).

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    Some of the data presented at the meeting revealed that people are already trying to serve meals (at home) that are naturally robust in nutrients. By making that effort, consumers are in theory agreeing with the experts who say that the best source of nutrients are foods themselves. Consumers are also questioning the safety of supplement usage, and asking if taking supplements on a regular basis could have potential hazards or a downside, particularly on digestion. Some other notable trends include:


    Mini changes and modifications - Rather than labeling certain foods like carbohydrates as "bad foods" and reducing consumption, consumers are trying to eat the healthier versions of these foods. So consumers are embracing consumption of whole grain bread instead of white bread and white rice. Shoppers are also reading labels to see if sugar and/or HFCS is in the food and then considering that information as they decide whether to purchase the food or not.


    The notion of food's bioavailability - People are increasingly supporting food as "first source of nutrition" and acknowledging the health benefits certain foods offer, in terms of heart health, bone health, and lowering risk of certain diseases like colon cancer. Calcium, fiber and omega 3s top the list of nutrients consumers want to get from their foods. Magnesium is the #1 supplement that is surging in sales, and supplements for visual health and support are also surging in popularity.


    Protein Power and plant-based foods- Consumers are beginning to realize the value of plant-based proteins and the benefits of eating these satiating foods in addition to whole grain carbohydrates, beans, legumes and nuts. Reducing animal based foods in the diet is a corollary principle that seems to be gaining some popularity.


    Gourmet nutrition - Consumers want prepared foods that are healthy, but taste and an appearance of sophistication are also qualities that consumers want from their foods.


    Foods that address health risks - From stroke risk to heart attack risk, from colon cancer to bone, joint, eye health and anti-aging, consumers want to address their health needs through what they eat.


    Appealing to "kids, dads and grannies" - Companies recognize that these are important individual consumer sectors when it comes to targeting consumer demands.


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    Liquids - Manufacturers know that beverages are a challenge because of all the recent health studies and headlines suggesting that our calories should not come from drinks. That being said, drinks will be a source of opportunity for nutrient fortification.


    Do any of these trends resonate with you?  Is there something else you would like to see as a new food trend?Please share with the community!!

Published On: April 09, 2012