2014 Consumer Food Trends Roundup

In last year’s blog post regarding 2013 consumer trends predictions, we commented on a theme we were seeing: health and wellness. As we researched and read industry news on consumer trend predictions for 2014, we found the theme to be similar with the addition of convenience.

Convenience is key

Recent research shows the number of Americans who grab food on the run without differentiating between meals or snacks is growing. However, consumers are raising the bar and demanding healthy snacks made with natural ingredients. The SuperMarket Guru, Phil Lempert, predicts that brands and nutritionists will embrace snacking for better health in 2014, and food manufacturers will expand their offerings to ensure healthier snacks are available to consumers. In his 2014 food trend predictions, the SuperMarket Guru also states that consumers will be taking a fresh look at the companies who produce their food—but not just for the products they make. Consumers want to buy products from brands that give a sense of purpose to their products and align with their own core values.

Consumers want health on the go

According to another report by the market research firm, RTS Resource, consumers are increasingly looking for convenient, prepared products that allow them a “feel-good” experience by performing the last step of the preparation, unlike straight-ready meals that go directly into the oven. Having these products available it may absolve some of the guilt felt by consumers who say they do not want to spend any more than an average of 25 minutes preparing a meal. They also see a trend in consumers seeking out natural protein within convenient products as interest in high-protein diets continues to grow. RTS Resource also predicts a trend in consumers seeking healthy alternatives of recognizable products that push interesting ingredients and exciting flavor blends instead of being marketed as healthy food.

Most consumers still love breakfast

Consumers have heard a million times over, breakfast is the most important meal of the day as it jump-starts their metabolism for the rest of the day. In a recent ConAgra Foods survey, more than 75 percent of the respondents stated they regularly eat breakfast at home. Mintel reports that consumers are looking more to foods like eggs, meats and Greek yogurt, as well as whole grain products for their breakfast, to help them live a healthier lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence. In 2014, brands will adjust their products in response to this trend and expand the category of morning meal offerings.

In the era of social media—where we can connect through culture, news, stories and experiences from all over the world at lightning speeds—there is a great opportunity for the food industry. Social media allows consumers to learn about the products they love to eat and connect with brands on a social level like never before. The SuperMarketGuru predicts that in 2014, we will see technology shape how consumers shop, influence their food preferences and change what product brands offer to meet consumer needs.

See more of our insights here.