Top Food Trends For 2016

female friends using smartphones to take photos of their pizza
Copyright: andreaobzerova / 123RF Stock Photo

Insights2Innovate Ltd has been assessing its top 7 key trends for food, health and nutrition at the end of 2015 for the forthcoming year of 2016 especially where weight management is concerned. Trending in general food terms has been assessed from consumer research, conducted as part of our surveys into new product development and to give us a steer on what is happening in the market place.

We can see the following:-

  1. High- protein foods: our visits to various food exhibitions tells us that protein is a major nutritional element in product development. It comes mainly from whey and milk, is easy to appreciate and has added a major niche to the market place. There is plenty of science to support its use and is the backbone ingredient in weight management and sports foods where retaining or gaining muscle mass is concerned.
  2. Getting the carbohydrate balance right ! When it comes to weight control, knowing the types of carbohydrate and how much is consumed appears vitally important for the consumer. In fact losing weight depends more on a low-carb diet than a low-fat one according to some meta-analyses on diets.
  3. Sugar: refined sugars including fructose have been receiving a poor press of late but if it is carbohydrates locked into seeds, oats, grains etc. then these are perceived as healthy and generate a great deal of new consumer interest. It also makes product development more interesting.
  4. Dairy: is this because we see fat differently now ? We perceive that trans-fats are bad for us but fat in dairy products appears positively received. It may be a consequence of perception with natural fat, with seed oils, with avocado or other naturally fatty foods which provide exceptional nutritional balance.
  5. Natural but also functional: The recent Food Matters Live show in London showed just how marketable functional foods are especially when ‘natural’ is tagged on them. Coconut water, quinoa, rice – in fact anything that isn’t perceived as processed but has some nutritional benefit appears marketable. We could carry on but that is a study in its own right and could easily be the top trend.
  6. The Free-From Phenomenon: Gluten-free seems to be a common claim and that seems to feed the idea that food needs to be free of something that was lurking in the ingredient list or hidden away. Gluten is natural but it is an issue for coeliacs. Likewise, allergen-free would be ideal but this is proving difficult to achieve unless only certain whole foods are eaten.
  7. Fat: I eat fat but I don’t necessarily get fat contrary to other’s perceptions of me. I guess we are becoming more savvie about fats generally. As with dairy, fat has a positive perception as we begin to develop our understanding of nutrition. Having put this out there, it is the type of fat, the association with meat, the idea that unhealthy food is greasy with fat and so on that makes us think of it as unpalatable and linked to heart disease. But I would eat an avocado quite easily ! The young appear to be altering their thoughts about whether fat is as unhealthy as it should be.

As we progress with our product development, we will look at other aspects that guide thinking behind foods and their nutritional value. If you want to find out more please see their web-site and contact them for more details.

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