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2016 On the Shelves: Food Trends Lookout

Pages from Guiding Stars Webinar - 2016 On the Shelves_ Food Trends LookoutIt’s no secret that shoppers are shopping differently. Some of this is impacted by different formats of stores, more competition and a wider variety of products, but shoppers are also considering nutrition when walking the aisles of their local grocery stores. To keep up with these consumers, independent retailers must stay up with what consumers want. Guiding Stars, a program which helps identify nutritious items in stores with a simple one, two or three star indicator recently hosted a webinar to help retailers understand what food trends to look out for in 2016 and beyond. These trends are Transparency, Sustainability & Global Responsibility, Unexpected Ingredients & IT foods,

Short ingredient lists with components that consumers can understand give consumers confidence in what they are putting into their body and understanding how the composition of a food helps them meet their goals. Dietitian Allison Stowell cited General Mills’ recent release about eliminating artificial flavors & colors from 75% of their product line.  Kitty Broihier also added that packaging is changing to call out issues related to exactly what is in the package related to nutritional content. What this means for consumers is it will increasingly become easier for consumers to identify what products meet their needs. Any way retailers can further communicate these indicators will continue to be important.

Sustainability & Global Responsibility
With transparency, consumers are expecting more and more retailers and food manufacturers to support local and small batch products. Additionally giving consumers the ability to trace where their foods came from and giving them confidence that the foods they are eating are safe are essential. Stowell thinks food manufacturers are striving to create healthier communities in general, whether that is supporting the fight against obesity or modifying their products to address food-based challenges. Retailers in many instances can partner with local organizations or even large food manufacturers to enhance these community initiatives in their stores. Additionally, from a food safety perspective, retailers must understand where the food on their shelves is coming from and be able to answer consumer questions about the topic.

Unexpected Ingredients & IT foods
There are 5 specific foods the Guiding Stars team called out on their webinar.
Pea protein – iron-rich, easy on the environment vegan & not-highly allergenic
Gluten-free foods – not going anywhere, if anything becoming more mainstream
Fermentation – coming up among young people, hits on “back-to-basics” trend of cooking simple foods
Seaweed – not just for Asian cuisine, hits on savory, sustainability and vegetarianism. Will start to see seaweed-flavored foods (popcorn, snack mixes, etc)
Ube- purple yam used predominantly in US in baked goods and sweet treats
As these “it” foods continue to become more mainstream, retailers need to be familiar with them as consumers will be looking for them in stores.

Supporting the Home Cook
With rise of Pinterest and intrigue about food, 2016 will be the Year of the Home Cook. Retailers can help these consumers by preparing parts of meals, whether the protein or the salads that go on the side. Giving consumers recipe ideas and outlets on social media to let one home cook inspires the next become important ways retailers can inspire consumers. People who want more whole foods in their diets are also realizing they can get those by cooking their own food. The home cook is not looking for diet food, though. According to a study by Mintel, 94% of people no longer consider themselves dieters. Consequently, diet food is not selling as well as it used to.

Reaction to 2015 Dietary Guidelines: Science & Labeling
New guidelines just came out which might not resonate with the public, but the public is impacted. Broihier likes the new guidelines because they reinforced what dietitians talk about all the time which is overall eating patterns. It isn’t about eating a certain way for a short period of time, more about long-term choices. One of those overall eating patterns that impacts retailers is lifestyle choices such as vegetarianism. Retailers won constantly consider that not all their consumers eat the same ways and may be modifying eating patterns will better be able to advertise and market their product offering to consumers.

If you’d like to view the entire Guiding Stars webinar, you can view it here: http://guidingstars.com/webinar/

Why do I work at AWG? “I value the opportunity to work with family businesses. My dad owned his own business for 35 years, so it is what I know and cherish. Plus, I love food, so thinking about it everyday is a huge plus.” -Kate