Let’s get all the things we typically say this time of year out of the way. Resolutions, lose weight, exercise, eat better, stay in contact with the people we care about most, do that thing you always meant to do and read more.
Ok, I can help with that last one. Here are some more words:
At Prepared Foods, we sift through mountains of product information, press releases and research, and sometimes it’s difficult to see the forest for the trees. The close of a year and the start of a new one give us a chance to take a breath and survey what transpired in the past 12 months and project what may develop in the coming year.
As for 2015, the trends that crested are probably ones you already know about. Gluten-free foods continued an expansion across categories, and led to some honest-to-goodness innovation. The monster trend also yielded a river of nonsense, but hey, we take the good with the bad.
2015 was also the year of Sriracha, quinoa and its ancient grain pals, cold brew coffees and ever-simplifying food labels, which is one trend we will see push into 2016 and perhaps into the 2020s.
At any rate, clean food labels; they’re going to keep getting cleaner. This particular trend will continue to reveal challenges and opportunities for product developers who may experience a shrinking of a traditional ingredient palette, which may in turn strengthen relationships with ingredient suppliers who are in the process of applying creativity and innovation to the sourcing and processing of ingredients, all in the name of food label simplicity.
It’s a trend that affects the entire supply chain, and I believe it could encourage fundamental shifts in the food and beverage industry as a whole. Or, on the other hand, perhaps everything will remain precisely as it is. Business as usual. My gut feeling is that major changes in the sourcing and processing of food ingredients are already underway.
All this said, the US Food and Drug Administration recently rejected a request for genetically engineered food labeling. So, at least for now, the use of GMO ingredients won’t sully an otherwise simple and clean food label.
So, what else is out there for 2016. Local ingredient sourcing? Yes. Sustainable ingredients and business practices? Yep. Eating five to seven snacks per day rather than three meals? Indeed. Consuming specific food and beverage products before and after physical activity? I believe so. Consuming candy on a regular basis? Undoubtedly.
I’m looking at a package of Smarties on my desk right now. They will be gone before I finish this brief entry.
2016 will be sweet. Complications from obesity and diabetes have shifted focus away from sweet products, but I believe as physical activity and portion control begin to embed themselves into the daily practices of scores of aging boomers and maturing millennials, sweet treats will be a luxury nearly everyone allows themselves.
It won’t be on most food trend lists this year, but take note, sweet snacks are set to nestle into the routine of consumers across the globe.