- A national food trend survey of more than 1,700 dietitians found that next year, consumers will continue to be less focused on dieting and more concerned about clean and mindful eating as contributors to an overall healthier lifestyle, according to a news release from Pollock Communications and nutrition trade magazine, Today's Dietitian.
- Next year, consumers will be less focused on popular food trends of the past few years, such as GMO-free, sustainable or gluten-free, according to the surveyed dietitians.
- The survey also lists the top superfood trends for 2017, which include seeds, such as chia and hemp; avocado; nuts such as almonds and walnuts; fermented foods such as yogurt; and ancient grains in the top five. Kale, green tea, coconut products, exotic fruits and salmon round out the top 10.
The concept of "mindful eating," which entails a slower, more thoughtful approach to eating and drinking, seems to go against another key industry trend — convenience and portability to appeal to fast-paced, on-the-go consumer lifestyles. Instead of sacrificing one or the other, manufacturers have worked to create products that are not only more convenient but deemed better-for-you.
An emphasis on clean eating and whole foods continues to be at the heart of food trends' progression. The majority (59%) of dietitians agree that consumers will choose to "eat clean" and avoid processed foods, opting instead for whole foods and plant-based proteins, such as nuts and seeds. This continues to encourage manufacturers to find natural ingredients that are nutritious and cost-effective compared to the artificial ingredients in many processed foods.
But another eye-opening revelation from this survey suggests that manufacturers should focus less on trends that have boomed in recent years, particularly non-GMO, sustainable and gluten-free.
Such efforts may take a backseat in the coming year as manufacturers move to focus on healthful whole ingredients, such as those in the top 10 superfoods; finding natural sources for common artificial ingredients to achieve cleaner labels; and addressing other rising trends, such as plant-based proteins, healthy fats and probiotics.
High prices for healthy foods continues to be the largest barrier to purchase for low-income consumers, which makes healthy eating financially challenging for these families. Food deserts also restrict access to nutritious foods. These complications are forcing manufacturers to reconsider ingredient sourcing, processing and transportation methods to cut costs that can trickle down to lower retail prices for consumers while maintaining profitability.