It’s a new year and that means it’s time to look at the food trends for 2016. We all know snacking is going to continue to rise each year as consumers eat traditional meals less and less. What other industry trends are continuing to growth in strength and what new trends will explode in 2016?
SNACKING HAS BECOME MORE THAN A SMALL PORTION BETWEEN MEALS
More and more Americans are snacking 4-5 times a day, often eating snacks in place of traditional meals. Because of this, consumers are looking for high-carb and high-protein snacks to keep them full.
Snack flavor profiles are changing too.There is a shift away from sweet (less sugar is an ongoing industry trend) and salty, to spicy and sour. Compound flavors are hot with the sweet and heat combo expected to be big in 2016. Tropical’s Sweet Heat is the perfect example of this flavor combo working well.
The bitter flavor profile is especially gaining momentum. Many are calling turmeric the spice of the year and research is showing that the spice might help to ease inflammation in the body. Tumeric has a bright yellow color and a warm, bitter taste which is just in line with the flavor trends.
PLANT-BASED PROTEIN MOVING BEYOND VEGETARIANS
Especially popular with millennials, plant-based proteins are doing very well. There is a variety of snacks available with the main protein source coming from beans, peas, lentils and nuts. Chia is another ingredient that will be seen in more snacks this year.
NUT MILKS ARE GAINING SHELF SPACE FROM TRADITIONAL DAIRY
Dairy-free alternatives made from nuts continue to grow in popularity. This year, expect to see an increase in interesting flavors and ingredients like Brazil nuts or pistachios.
Fresh nut milks are highly nutritious and rich in protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, vitamin B, iron, and magnesium
CLEAN LABELS AND INGREDIENT LISTS ARE IMPORTANT TO CONSUMERS
Consumers want clean foods and simple labels. The more they can’t recognize ingredients on nutritional labels, the less likely they are to buy the product.
Good-for-you, good-for-the-earth packaged snacks are also getting prime shelf space, often near the fresh produce. This suggests that consumers are willing to pay higher prices for snacks that are good for both them and the environment.
Consumers want to know that companies care about healthier choices and they are going to demand that artificial additives, preservatives and colors are removed from ingredients. 36% of consumers worried about chemicals in their food and 40% of consumers report it’s very important that foods use all-natural ingredients..
MODERNIZING THE SUPPLY CHAIN AND FOOD SAFETY
Environmental elements and rising transportation costs, among other challenges, will lead to further stresses on the food supply chain. Consumer demand for fresh and local products will continue to challenge a distribution system based on consolidation, centralization, and long shelf life.
Food safety will also continue to see major changes. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, established some science-based minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables for human consumption. With the FDA releasing groundbreaking final rules in November 2015, consumers will see an increase in farmers and food importers preventing food safety problems before they occur.
HOT INGREDIENTS IN 2016
Consumers will be saying Bye Kale, Hello Seaweed. It’ll be the new go-to green since it’s environmentally friendly and packed with fiber, antioxidants, iodine, and good fats. Snacks featuring seaweed should see great growth as consumers’ fixation with healthy eating continues.
As a surprise entry, forecasts show bugs making a larger appearance as the new protein replacement. Yum?