In addition to a 2016 Retail Trends overview, this issue also brings you Prepared Foods’ annual round-up of trending nutraceutical ingredients for foods and beverages. The timing couldn’t be better: Not only is March is National Nutrition Month but this year’s report also follows the 2016 release of the 2015 USDA Dietary Guidelines.

Having spent more than 15 years as a professional chef before becoming a registered dietitian and nutrition biochemist, I am not a big fan of the Dietary Guidelines. And the Guidelines have borne out my fears with each new iteration.

This 2015-2020 edition is no exception. Eight times now, the Guidelines have violated a core part of their legal and fundamental mission, specifically: “The statute (Public Law 101-445, 7 U.S.C. 5341 et seq.) requires that the Dietary Guidelines be based on the preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge.”

Yet, once again, the Guidelines promote unjustified and non-scientific blanket condemnation of sodium and fat. The “preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge” simply does not support healthy persons reducing their intake of sodium to the levels recommended by the Guidelines. Worse, the emerging “preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge” is demonstrating that a universal reduction of sodium intake to the 2,300mg/day recommended could actually be harmful to health, especially for seniors. Moreover, decades of modern research—coupled with centuries of extrapolations from reported data—indicate such a minimum amount of sodium intake, if not impossible to maintain, is extremely difficult to even meet.

Unmanageable and unnecessary recommendations do not inspire fealty. As for fat, while the recommendations have at last gone further than ever to parse out the fats that have been determined to be less healthful from those that are decidedly beneficial, the preponderance of science again shows that—again, for healthy persons—dietary fat intake, even at as high as about 35% of daily calories, is not a death sentence. Active people (and here’s where the guidelines got it right) who eat mostly plant-based foods that have been minimally processed and, as today’s food makers know and are undertaking, have “cleaner” labels, are following the best path to health and well-being. And happiness, too, I might note: It helps well-being if consumers don’t have to feel pressured by the government to stress out over salt, sugar, fat or any other single ingredient.

Today’s processors understand this point. Moreover, as you’ll read in this year’s survey, they demonstrate the natural, healthful ingredients they’re employing in the next generation of better-for-you foods, beverages and nutritional supplements. Just look inside!

Prepared Foods Presents its 34th Annual Event:

RIPE for disruption.

Today’s manufacturers are making the leap to disruptive innovation. They are talking to customers and coming up with new products or services that solve customer problems in entirely new and different ways. Getting the customers involved in your innovation process increases your odds of developing successful new products.

We invite you to take a journey with us as we delve into disruptive innovation at the New Products Conference, September 25 -28, 2016, at the Naples Grande, in Naples, Florida.

Featured Speakers Include:

Rick Lenny, Chairman, IRI
As former chairman & CEO of The Hershey Company, Rick Lenny knows what’s required to win in the marketplace—with both the consumer and the customer. He will open Prepared Foods’ 34th New Products Conference with a look at winning in-market examples of innovation and discuss how presidents and VPs of R&D/Innovation can differentiate themselves and lead change in new directions.

Jon Sebastiani, Sonoma Brands (Founder of Krave Foods)
Newly formed Sonoma Brands is a consumer products incubator and venture fund that will both innovate and invest in category disrupting brands. The business is dedicated to developing foods that are both “better-for-you AND absolutely delicious.”

David Forbes, PhD, President, Forbes Consulting Group
How can food and beverage formulators create new items that truly connect with consumers in such a fast-paced, fragmented market? David Forbes is the author of The Science of Why: Decoding Human Motivation and Transforming Marketing Strategy.

Register today at