Smart Food Insights

June 27, 2018

Some of our team had the chance to spend the past three days at the SmartFood Expo™ in Chicago. Food industry leaders and innovators converged for education sessions, networking and a product showcase where the future of fresh, healthy and better-for-you options were on display.

Here are some of our favorite insights from the conference:

Flavor Trends:

  • Look at food trends from restaurants. Good trends always start on the food service side and then move into CPG and retail. Find a way to make that food service trend relevant for your audience.
  • There’s been a rise in probiotics in confectionery and snacks.
  • Coffee and tea flavors are popping up in snacks.
  • Filipino food is having a moment. Specifically street food flavors.
  • Seeing blurring lines of food service. It’s meeting retail with in-shop concepts (ex: Urban Outfitters now has cafe)
  • Allergen-friendly, protein rich snacks for children are showing immense growth
  • Fox nuts are new superfood. They are lotus flower seeds.


Packaging Trends:

  • Private label products continue to show massive growth. Millennials are a big driver for this.
  • WHERE a product is made and WHO makes it matters to consumers.
  • For packaging, people valued seeing the product over seeing the company or product brand logos. They also want bigger product descriptions.
  • Real ingredients are important to consumers and they want to see this highlighted on packaging.
  • The term “thin” on packaging is a growing trend
  • Vegan is showing the biggest growth for claims.


Industry Stats:

  • 88% of scientists are now in defense of GMOs. This is up from 30% a few years ago.
  • 80% of 18-34 year olds spend 25% of their disposable income on health products and services.
  • 62% of Gen Y believe that you have to have a health component to your brand.
  • US average daily protein consumption is 61g. Meat is 25g of that.
  • Savory snacks will be up 2.5% for protein sources.
  • Flexitarians are a huge trend right now
  • There’s a big retail dilemma now: consumers want to eat better, BUT better for you items items do not turn well (poor velocity).


Tags: chicago, conference, food trends, insights, smart food expo, thought leadership, Trends, united fresh

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