For those of us in the food industry, the end of the year is the time for our annual food trend predictions. We study trends to gain insight into what consumers are going to want next year. We look at research to find out what new flavors will be seasoning our food. We pour over market trends to find out the direction foodservice is heading.
Our team of food marketing analysts at Anderson Partners Food Ingredient Marketing have been studying the latest in consumer food trends, flavor trends and foodservice trends. Their newest series of blog posts rounds up the major trends forecast in each of these key areas.
Liz Bloyd’s 2015 Consumer Food Trends Roundup noted that this is the year that the food industry moves from clean to clear labeling. Consumers want to know what is in their food and be able to make informed decisions about what they are feeding themselves and their families. This is in large part driven by Millennial consumers, aged 15-35, who are beginning to flex their purchasing power. They prefer craft foods made by brands that tell a story. If those foods can be consumed as snacks, even better, as more and more consumers are shifting to quick, healthy snack foods to replace traditional meals.
In the 2015 Flavor Trends Roundup, Elizabeth Rice found that 82 percent of United States consumers are willing to try new flavors. The Food Industry is taking this statistic to heart and pushing Middle Eastern and Asian flavors to the masses in 2015. Flavors with sour, smoky and bitter notes are particularly on trend, as well as combinations like Sweet + Heat and Sour + Salt. As consumers seek out more protein, nuts have a health halo that is resulting in them being used as flavorings in many products. Customers and producers alike appreciate versatility in a food ingredient. Honey has the ability to be a vessel for sweet, subdued flavors as well as bold, spicy flavors. That is why it was named the flavor of 2015. Expect to see honey in many food applications in the coming year.
The 2015 Foodservice Trends Roundup, by Erin Fairchild, finds 46 percent of consumers believe eating out to be the healthiest, tastiest dining option. This is a trend that is only expected to grow in the future as eating out becomes more and more common. Customers want fewer choices on restaurant menus but more options for customization. They prefer quality to quantity and want food to be locally sourced. This anti-chain ethos is causing national chains to open quasi-independent stores to respond to local demands. Supermarkets hope to give themselves a face-lift and are re-branding themselves with in-store restaurants, cooking classes and events. They have lost 15 percent market share in the last 10 years to other food venues and want to re-establish relevancy.
From consumer food trends, to flavor trends, to foodservice trends, we have a lot to look forward to in 2015. I have a feeling it’s going to be a delicious year.