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organic

Organic Obsessed

Organic Obsessed

               You’re trying to eat healthy, which means choosing plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. As you wander down the aisle at the supermarket you realize there’s another choice to make: should you buy organic? These days, most consumers would answer yes to that question. Despite the heftier price tag, sales of organic food items continues to grow. According to USA Today the sales of organic food is up to 8.4%, hitting a record of 43 billion in 2016 sales.  Another interesting stat about organic food is that most consumers are only concerned with purchasing organic items if they are fruits and vegetables, according to an Organic Industry Survey from 2017, about 40% of all organic food sales were in produce.

               Whether buying organic produce or protein over the past few years, in general, organic food is steadily making its way into consumers shopping carts and staying there. In fact, a Food Dive article stated that 82.3% of the country’s 117 million households contain some sort of organic food. Consumers are not the only ones hopping on the organic bandwagon. Large food manufacturers, like Coca-Cola, are wasting no time getting in on this trend too. For Example, Campbell Soup created an organic baby food line and Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Markets even has the tech world obsessing over the idea of eating organically. In fact, the General Mills organic products have seen a whopping 350% growth in the last 5 years! With huge companies buying into this trend there is no doubt it is here for the long hall.

               Although this trend is serving well for some, American farmers are having trouble keeping up with the massive increase in demand for organic produce. The process of transitioning produce from non-organic to organic takes about three years, and growing organic food is much more expensive once the transition has happened, causing a massive headache for the farming industry.

               The craziest part about this whole trend is that consumers, myself included, are so obsessed with organic labeled foods because we think they are much healthier, but in reality scientists are not 100% if consuming food that’s never been exposed to pesticides actually has a lasting impact on health! Regardless, with 44% of shoppers willing to pay 20% more for organic ingredients I don’t see why markets, grocers, and restaurants wouldn’t stock their shelves with organic foods.

From Packaged Foods to Restaurant Fare, Good Food Is Everywhere

 

Consumers are better-educated today than they have ever been about the foods they put into their bodies. They have easy access to information about where foods come from, how they are grown and how they will impact overall health. They watch cooking shows for inspiration, take more flavor risks when ordering out and are more apt than ever before to replicate what they’ve learned in their own kitchens.

Food trends are born and evolve in many ways and for many reasons. They can be driven by innovative chefs, economic changes, pop culture, weather trends and even agriculture. Easy access to information also means today’s consumer expects somewhat instant gratification. That means all aspects of the food industry – not just restaurants – have to be ready to provide their audiences with the exact eating experience they are demanding. A recent study by Technomic reported that more than half of consumers rank the ability to customize a dish or menu item as highly important in creating good value, taste and flavor.

Consumer customization can be especially tricky in the CPG food space. Bringing a new product to market used to take months of research and many more months (if not years) of actual development. So what are snacking and prepared-foods companies doing to deliver on consumers’ ever-changing – and ever more specific – food needs? The foodservice segment tends to evolve faster than the CPG foods space, however emerging snack brands and packaged foods companies have turned up the heat on product development in recent years. They know that consumers want to be able to find the unique flavors and textures they experience in restaurants on their grocery store shelves and they have been striving to deliver.   

Take a look below at some of the top food trends that were identified during the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting & Food Expo (IFT) this year by Innova Market Insights and Food Business News. Many of these are the same trends currently driving the restaurant space, so now is the time for these important categories to be listening to each other and taking note. 

1)      Flexitarian Options
“In the United States, there could be more than 120 million people who are considered ‘flexitarians,’ so it’s an absolutely huge market, and of course much bigger than vegetarians or vegans,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights.

2)      Tapping into Texture
“Front-of-pack texture claims have become more prominent and, in many cases, more specific, said Williams. “We’re seeing a lot more extreme texture claims… ‘velvety,’ ‘silky,’ ‘rich,’ ‘oozy.’ We’re seeing a lot more layers and more sophisticated products in terms of the experience it delivers.”

3)      Organic Growth and Clear Label Demands
Demand for transparency and simple ingredients has given rise to strong momentum for food and beverage products with organic or non-G.M.O. claims. Three of four U.S. consumers believe organic is healthier than conventional, and G.M.O.-free claims have surged in new product development, according to Innova Market Insights. “While this has mostly been driven by launches from small companies, you do start to see more and more bigger companies with a small organic line, and I think that’s just to say, ‘We can do it, too,’” Ms. Williams said.

4)      Veggies on the Go
“Drinking your vegetables has become “cool and trendy,” Ms. Williams said. “We’ve been talking about five (servings of vegetables) a day for 20 years or more. What’s happening now to boost this trend is the emergence of the super premium juice category.” Trending vegetables featured in global product launches include turnip (up 47% from 2014), cucumber (16%), artichoke (14%), fennel (13%), radish (12%) and beetroot (7%).

For the full list of trends, visit Food Business News.

Posted by Gennifer Horowitz