You might not think of the grocery store as a place to showcase trends, but the eating patterns of most adults in the United States have changed significantly in the last five to 10 years. After gathering data from multiple source, Food Technology editor A. Elizabeth. Sloan offered readers a look at the top food trends for 2016.
Here’s what she found:
- We pay more attention to what we buy in the store. In 2014, 29 percent of consumers said that they bought more local foods and beverages, 28 percent bought more organic products, 25 percent more natural foods, and 23 percent purchased more non-GMO offerings.
- Shoppers are buying more fresh ingredients, up 10 percent compared to just three years ago. Consuming less processed foods improves taste and nutrition. In 2014, fiber/whole grain were the most sought after food ingredients
- Exclusion diets are all the rage, with one-third of adults trying a specialty regiment like gluten-free, lactose-free, raw/living foods, dairy-free, or a juice cleanse. We’re also forgoing meat in greater numbers, with 75 percent of U.S. households preparing meat alternatives for dinner on a regular basis.
- When it comes to cooking, we’re impatient. Most of us want to make meals in 20 minutes or less. The number of adults making one-pot meals is up 29 percent, and meals using marinated meats and poultry are up 21 percent. Packaged meals and kits, oven baking, and take-and-bake products are all popular with consumers in nearly every demographic group.
- In search of a new culinary experiences, more of us are experimenting with globally inspired flavors like harissa, aji, gochujang, yuzu, togarashi, peri peri, and za’atar. Smoking, fire-roasting, pickling, and fermenting are also seen as hot food preparation trends for 2015.
- We’re still addicted to snacking, but most of us are doing a better job of choosing healthier snacks. Refrigerated juices, smoothies, yogurt, nutrition bars, trail mixes, specialty nut butters, and popcorn are among some of the fastest growing snack categories.