The top 10 natural and organic food trendsWith a growing number of consumers emphasizing healthy diets, natural and organic foods are more popular than ever.

Consumer insight agency Sterling-Rice Group recently identified the latest trends that the agency says could soon land on consumers plates.

According to the agency, this year, “with increased interest in knowing where food comes from and what's in it, consumers will seek options with optimum health and wellness benefits.”

The culinary firm researched trends in the food industry working, with top chefs, restaurateurs and food influencers, to gather trend information.

The 10 trends identified by the group are:

1.       Lusting after Lentils: From pasta to waffles, lentils are everywhere this year as the quest for new plant-based protein sources continues.

2.       It’s More Than a Gut Feeling: Consumers continue their quest for prebiotics, cobiotics and probiotics. Our bodies’ plumbing systems are getting more attention than ever. There are now foods whose main goal is to keep your gut happy.

3.       Beets Can’t Be Beat: Moving beyond salad plates, these nutritious veggies are showing up in in everything from juices to fruit leathers to yogurt.

4.       Drink Your Grains: When it comes to getting your daily dose of whole grains, keep your bowl in the cupboard and grab a glass! Food manufacturers are now delivering whole grain goodness in new and unexpected forms, namely, beverages.

5.       Honey That is Decidedly Not for the Bees: With growing concern about Colony Collapse and the resulting increase in honey sourced from China, food companies are now making bee-less honey from fruit-based formulations.

6.       Top-Notch Toppers: Savory sauces and dressings are boosting the nutritional stats of salads, pastas and other entrées. This trend may go sweet with calcium-rich chocolate and caramel sauces and creamy high protein cake frosting.

7.       Let Cows Be Cows: Grass-fed steak is a request no longer limited to dining out. Consumers are now looking for products from happily grass-fed cows, pastured chickens and pen-free pigs.

8.       African Superfoods: From nutrient dense baobab fruit snacks to moringa leaf snack bars and bissap tea, Africa is the latest hotbed of exotic superfoods.

9.       GMO-free Way to Be: Move over USDA organic certification. The GMO-Free Project Verified seal is the new badge of honor to display on one’s package.

10.   Non-Dairy Goes Scary: Ever consider sipping pond scum? Now you can! Algae milk is the new kid in non-dairy milk category. With impressive nutrition stats, a lack of allergenic ingredients and a sustainable production story, it’s a worthy contender.