By Brittany Gebben

Food industry trends are continually changing and recently, at rapid speeds.  Healthy eating is transforming the food industry.  According to Mintel Global New Products Database, natural product claims (which include no additives/preservatives, organic and GMO-free) appeared on 29 percent of global food and drink launches from September 2016 to August 2017. This is a 17 percent increase from 10 years ago and that increase has been and is continuing to sky rocket.

Convenience in the food industry used to mean “heat and eat” or opening a can but now has a whole new meaning with the increasing demand for meal delivery kits, curbside delivery pickup and even home grocery delivery.

Organic, fresh, healthy, and locally sourced are all terms that are dominating the food market.  With allergies and food intolerances (gluten free, lactose free), diet trends (keto), and health-conscious eating habits all on the rise, consumers, especially millennials and Generation Z, are changing the food industry.  Plant based foods are infiltrating the market as garbanzo bean pasta, “zoodles”, cauliflower rice and more are becoming the norm.  Consumers are starting to choose their meat and dairy based on them being non-GMO, organic, no hormone added, not treated with rBST (a man-made version of a growth hormone naturally found in female cows that farmers can now inject), and vegetarian fed.  There is now less demand for processed, packaged foods.  According to Bloomberg news, the 10 largest packaged-food companies, including Campbell, Kellogg and Mondelez, have seen almost $20 billion in revenue evaporate over the last three years, as consumer loyalty to big national brands fades across the grocery store.

Functional foods are becoming more and more popular and consumers will pay extra for their food (or beverage) to contain probiotics, omegas, or even the latest buzz, CBD.  There’s been talk by both consumer and manufacturer about including cannabis, a plant known for its medicinal and relaxation benefits, in food and beverage the past few years but the plant’s legalization across the United States is causing the buzz to quickly become reality.  Although food and beverage containing CBD is still prohibited to cross state lines the functional ingredient is getting closer to becoming a part of consumer’s everyday groceries.

Overall, there is a growing trend toward healthy, functional convenience foods.  Consumers want quick and easy, yet fresh and not processed… so stay tuned as the industry continues to respond to the rapidly changing consumer preference.