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Trend-Watching tips for IFT18 attendees

July 16, 2018

While mainstream demand for cleaner, all-natural, more adventuresome, and healthy but indulgent foods and beverages continues to grow, cutting-edge consumers are seeking out more gourmet ingredients, bioactives/botanicals, and uniquely processed fare.  

Clean label interest is highest among foodies, snackers, weight managers, organic and ethnic food users, and pet owners, per Packaged Facts 2018 Organic & Clean Label Consumer report. Bakery/sweet foods, meats, and other fresh categories, as well as salad dressing, pizza, and beverages, are among the up-and-coming clean label categories. Only 40% of nutritional products are clean label, according to Nielsen data. MSG, sulfites, nitrate/nitrites, phosphate, gelatin, and carrageenan are among the emerging clean label concerns, per Mintel.  

Sales of organic foods and drinks reached $45.2 billion in 2017, +6.4%, per the Organic Trade Association. Packaged Facts reports that 46% of adults are seeking out non-GM foods; 39% are trying to include more plant-based foods in their diet, per Nielsen.  

Expect interest in minerals, grain-free products, added nutrients, calorie claims, and the presence of healthier oils to gain traction. Two-thirds of adults are trying to consume more fiber, protein, and whole grains.  

A new demographic of fit consumers are driving opportunities in the $42 billion sports nutrition sector mainstream. Digestive issues, mental health/cognition, bone strength, joint pain, regularity, and mobility are among the increasingly important issues for Millennials. Muscle strength, sports nutrition, energy, immunity, weight, and sleep are important for consumers 50 years of age and older.  

One-third of Millennials worry about not getting enough specialty nutrition ingredients; fiber, probiotics, protein, digestive enzymes, green tea, creatine, ginseng, and collagen are among their most used supplements, per the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s 2017 Consumer Dietary Supplement Survey.  

Watching calories remains the most popular approach to weight management. Keto is the fastest-growing special diet. Superfoods, turmeric, ginger, functional mushrooms, and probiotics/prebiotics continue to move center stage.  

Interest in exotic and ethnic cuisine and flavors, including Mediterranean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Korean, has reached actionable industry levels for products that target Millennials, per the Food Marketing Institute. Sweet snacking and early morning snacking occasions are on the rise. 

Unusual flours, nuts, herbs, seeds, global spices, sprouted grains, specialty cheese, crunchy inclusions, global spices, unique varietals, heirloom products, and longer fermentation/aging times are other hot trends. So keep all of the preceding trends in mind as you canvass the IFT18 annual event.