(HealthNewsDigest.com) – When trends are predicted they are based on evidence that people or habits have been moving in a certain direction for enough time to confidently expect an outcome. Phil Lambert, known as the Supermarket Guru, has been watching consumer behavior, marketing trends, and new products for the past 25 years. His experience allows him to confidently predict upcoming trends. He has some interesting insights about what we can expect so see in 2020.
Frozen foods are seeing a comeback. Small startup companies are reinvigorating the frozen food aisle with new types of frozen meals, sides, ethnic choices and novelties that satisfy consumer desires. Shoppers today are smarter and more demanding and technology spreads information quickly. However, it can also spread misinformation, so not all tech food trends are healthy ones.
Shoppers are looking for locally sourced produce. What could be more local than growing produce right in the supermarket. Microfarms and infarms already seen in Copenhagen, London and Berlin are coming to the US. Kroger has launched an infarm in Seattle. Some in-store farms will be greenhouses, where you pick your own produce. They may use hydroponic farming or a simple combination of controlled air, moisture, light and nutrients. Not only is this type of farming environmentally friendly but it checks the boxes for many of the concerns of shoppers – locally grown, no chemicals, less of a carbon footprint for transportation, and excellent fresh taste.
Plant-based foods are on the rise and will continue to grow. The use of plant-based food grew over 11% in 2019, even though only 6% of the population identifies as vegetarian or vegan. The flexitarian lifestyle where consumers reduce their consumption of meat and dairy foods appears to be the main driver of this trend even though swapping nonmilk alternatives for dairy foods may not be the best nutritional swap. Plus, not all plant-based foods are simpler foods than the ones they are replacing. Beyond Burgers and many other meat alternatives are highly processed.
Less is more when it comes to sugar. Consumers desire for lower sugar foods is driving reformulation and the use of alternative sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia. 2020 marks the implementation of the revised nutrition facts panel which will call out added sugar on the label making it easier for shoppers to see exactly how much extra sugar has been added to the foods they buy.
Gluten-free has staying power. The growth in gluten-free foods has provided those with celiac disease with an entire palette of new choices. The number of people who purchase gluten-free options goes far beyond those with a defined medical condition. The reason this trend stays strong and will continue to grow is that brands have developed gluten-free foods that taste good which has attracted shoppers to come back and buy the brand over and over again.
Subscription, mail-order, meal kit delivery may be disappearing. But, in-store, supermarket meal kits are expanding. Grouping all the ingredients needed in one place to prepare a meal helps busy shoppers. Some supermarkets, like Kroger and Walmart, are offering meal kits that can be picked up at the store, helping with healthy meal planning and saving preparation time. A key to increasing sales of these kits is in-store sampling of the finished product. Trader Joe’s is known for sampling new items and offering simple meal ideas which drives purchases.
CBD is coming as an ingredient in more foods. CBD (cannabidiol) is a naturally occurring compound found in cannabis but unlike THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) it has no intoxicating effect and may have therapeutic value. There is a move toward listing how much CBD is found in a food. Currently, many smaller brands are producing CBD foods and there is a concern that people could consume large amounts of CBD if those foods are eaten regularly. This is a quickly growing area that needs oversight and education.
Mushrooms may be the ‘it’ food for 2020. The global warming footprint for white mushrooms is very low. Mushrooms require little water, electricity or land to grow. They are fat free, low calorie, low in sodium, high in vitamin D and selenium, and have a neutral flavor that can be easily incorporated into many recipes. Stand by cauliflower, white mushrooms may soon be nipping at your popularity.
Consumers are concerned about the environment and they are unhappy with the way we are currently eating and dieting in the US. Clearly what we are doing isn’t working because it is predicted that over 50% of the population will be obese by 2030. Perhaps some of these 2020 trend predictions can help turn that tide.
© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.
Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of 30 books.
Available as eBooks from iTunes and Kindle/Amazon:
Diabetes Counter – the most up-to-date information on managing diabetes
Calorie Counter – a weight loss guide that won’t let you down
Protein Counter – put the latest protein recommendations to work for you
Healthy Wholefoods Counter – planet-friendly eating made easy
Complete Food Counter – food counts and nutrition information at your fingertips
Fat and Cholesterol Counter – newest approach to heart-healthy eating
Available in print from Gallery Books:
Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd Ed.
For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to: www.TheNutritionExperts.com