Consumers’ tastes and opinions are constantly changing, making it difficult for players in the food and beverage industry to stay ahead of the game. While snacking, self-identified foodies and a preference for ethnic flavors are thriving trends in recent years, it’s only a matter of time before new ones emerge.
In the January issue of Food Technology magazine, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) identifies 11 consumer mealtime choices and behaviors from 2015.
1. Forty-seven million adults define themselves as foodies, and 29 million are categorized as being part of a highly involved, serious culinary core group. Millenials account for 36 percent and Baby Boomers for 32 percent. In addition those consumers who enjoy food as an “art form” climbed by 20 percent (Packaged Facts, 2015).
2. Yogurt tops the list of foods/beverages that are consumed more today than 10 years ago, followed by bottled water, pizza, poultry sandwiches, Mexican foods, fresh fruit, bars, frozen sandwiches, chips, and pancakes (NPD, 2014).
3. An increase in the number of meals prepared and eaten at home and a corresponding decline in restaurant usage is one the single biggest changes in eating patterns in American’s of the past five years (NPD, 2014).
4. One-quarter of consumers ate soup at home at least once a week in 2014. While broth, stew, chowders, and chili are Americans’ favorite forms of soup, one-third of consumers would eat more soup if it contained a serving of vegetables, was heart healthy, or high in protein (Technomic, 2014).
5. Best sellers in the fresh bakery category are breads, cakes, cookies and rolls. Desserts account for half of in-store bakery sales and specialty desserts and brownies/dessert bars show the highest sales growth (IDDBA, 2015).
6. When it comes to fast casual restaurants the Asian/noodle sectors is projected to lead growth followed by Mexican, coffee/café, chicken, and bakery café. The pizza, sandwich and burger segments are expected to underperform (Technomic, 2015).
7. Twenty-eight percent of consumers are preparing ethnic foods more frequently than five years ago (FMI, 2015).
8. More than half of grocery shoppers buy fresh ready-to-eat items like rotisserie chicken, sandwiches and sushi often or sometimes (FMI 2014).
9. For the first time in more than five years, indulgent snack sales outpaced healthy in the $38 billion snack product category (Wyatt, 2015).
10. Vegetarian tops the list of hot appetizer trends for 2015, followed by charcuterie/house-cured meats; ethnic street food inspired appetizers; seafood charcuterie; and high-end chef-inspired appetizers and ethnic dips (NRA, 2014).
11. Nine out of 10 adults say that information about fruit and vegetable content is important to them in determining if a food is healthy. That is followed by preservative-free, added nutrients or no artificial sweeteners, no antibiotics, unprocessed, natural or hormone free, organic or non-genetically modified, clean and “real” (Technomic, 2014).
More information on these trends can be found here.