Is Eating Wild the Next ‘Real Foods’ Trend?
Consumer taste for unaltered foods could fuel next generation of product development
The idea of using food to improve personal health has fueled consumer interest in less processed, authentic food and has spurred the surge in food trends like organic, GMO-free, paleo, and all-natural. As shoppers choose real unadulterated foods, major packaged food companies are reeling from lost market share and working hard to recast their tried and true recipes – removing synthetic coloring, dyes, artificial preservatives, artificial ingredients, and GMOs in an effort to create cleaner, simpler labels.
As large restaurant chains and packaged food companies scramble to meet the demands of today’s health conscious consumers, another food trend is emerging. According to Portland Marketing Analytics, a Maine based marketing research firm, “Wild foods are about to crash onto the American stage and a few indigenous ingredients, such as wild salmon, seaweed, and Wild Blueberries, are clear standouts,” said Chris Clegg, a Portland Marketing Analytics principal and specialist in measuring the impact of consumer insights and market trends.
“People are increasingly interested in the source of their food; they care about its origin and heritage, including who grew and harvested it,” concludes Todd Merrill, a fourth-generation Wild Blueberry grower and president of the Wild Blueberry Association of North America. “Wild Blueberries are the perfect “Paleo” food. They were never planted. Instead, they have existed for over 10,000 years in Maine and Eastern Canada. In fact, they are one of a small handful of wild foods that are indigenous and ubiquitous, since they are grown in only one part of the world and are available in the freezer aisle of supermarkets across America.”
Wild Foods Trend: The Power of Wild Research
Recognizing a lack of awareness about indigenous foods and a need to educate consumers, food manufacturers, and food-service providers about their appeal, the Wild Blueberry Association of North America engaged Portland Marketing Analytics to conduct a three-phased nationwide study of over 1,000 U.S. consumers. The Power of Wild is a first-in-the-nation study that explores consumer attitudes toward wild foods.