2016 Food and Beverage Habits
New priorities are coming into focus for consumers, like eating foods in their pure form
Change has been brewing for decades. In the 1980s and through much of the 1990s, consumers largely tried to avoid certain substances, like fats or cholesterol, as they were thought to be harmful. Then, around the turn of this century, consumers became more concerned with getting more “good” substances, like whole grains or omega-3s, in their diets. Now, in addition to eating more better-for-you foods, new priorities are coming into focus for consumers, like eating foods in their pure form. These new habits will be front-and-center in 2016.
In 2016, you can expect the following behaviors to become more prominent:
• Natural Nutrition — With consumer concerns rising about unexpected ingredients in foods and beverages, there will be more consumers who check labels for ingredients they know are additives or preservatives or don’t recognize. More than 30 percent of consumers say they are cautious about serving foods with preservatives, compared to 24 percent 10 years ago, and the trend for additives follows the same progression.
• F-A-T-S Is No Longer a Four-Letter Word — With trans fats’ potential harmful effects in the news, consumers appear to understand that not all fats are created equally, and some have nutritional benefits. Expect consumers to return to foods that were once derided for having too much fat, such as eggs and oils.
• Success Isn’t So Sweet — Since fewer consumers are concerned about avoiding fats, the top ingredient adults avoid is now sugar. This is true for both main meal times as well as snack time.
• Shopping With a Cause — In today’s Internet age, it’s easier for consumers to be more aware of how products reach the shelf. And as more consumers seek humanely raised animals and avoid antibiotics in their meats, for example, we expect more of them to research brands and their production practices.
• G.M.O.: Good Marketing Opportunity? — Much confusion about GMOs remains, but consumers increasingly are using products labeled “Certified GMO-Free.” They don’t know why they should avoid GMOs, but for many it just sounds like a good idea. Between 2011 and 2013, GMOs were the fastest-growing food-related concern among U.S. adults. With more marketers looking to use the label, expect consumers to use this as a point of differentiation among competing products.