Food is food and everyone just eats what they like…or do they? A quick look at food trends for 2015 shows some interesting results. Overwhelmingly the trend is towards healthier foods and these are emerging in all kinds of ingredients, some old and reinvented – like the cauliflower that is being turned into anything from rice to pizza bases. Some traditional regional foods are becoming more widely available globally and special interest groups are driving the demand behind other food types.
Food manufacturers would do well to take note and consider how they can make changes that align with these trends if they want to grow their market share. Let’s consider what some of these trends look like and what opportunities they could present for UK food manufacturers:
Far from porridge or bacon and eggs, breakfast is becoming a gourmet meal on it’s own. Grain-free pancakes and muffins, wraps, omlettes, smoothies, yoghurt, fresh fruit and muesli are just a few of the choices available. Nuts and snackbars are popular defaults for people who have breakfast on the go. In particular berries are one of the most popular fruits for breakfast as they can be enjoyed raw, added to smoothies or yoghurt or stored frozen.
Fermented foods are part of many traditional cuisines, take sauerkraut for example, or the current trend Kimchi which is an Asian variation. Fermented foods include pickles, yoghurts, some cheeses etc. and are particularly good for replacing friendly gut bacteria – hence their increase in popularity.
On the back of the trend towards High Fat Low Carb lifestyles people are no longer looking for low fat or fat free food products. Research studies have shown that full cream contains far more nutrients than fat free alternatives and consumer behaviour is supporting this trend. Full cream milk, double cream yoghurt and full fat cheese is popular once again and suppliers should market their products with this in mind.
It used to be that taste was most important, but trends show that texture is now coming a close second. In terms of manufactured food there have been few innovations in this area but suppliers that get this right could realise an increase in market share. Playful food is yet another emerging trend where texture can be used effectively.
Fruit and Vegetables reinvented
Vegetables are being used in all sorts of interesting ways, from kale chips to cauliflower rice. In addition, the trend towards organic fruit and vegetables continues as more evidence comes to light of the harmful effects of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Coconut remains on the super food list with coconut water and coconut sugar increasing in popularity.
Following on the trend of juicing, soups are becoming popular for their nutritional value. This includes bone broth which contains many essential nutrients and minerals. Providing premix packs for home made soups may well be an opportunity for food manufacturers.
This is somewhat controversial in that as an attempt to market gluten free products that are supposedly healthier, food manufacturers end up with more artificial ingredients than before. This then defeats the purpose. The demand for gluten products remains high and is likely to grow but manufacturers can shoot themselves in the foot if they do not do proper R & D and produce quality truly healthy products.
Quinoa and Chia seeds were all the rage last year and in 2015 they are joined by yet another highly nutritious traditional grain – this time from Ethiopia. Teff is high in iron and protein and can be enjoyed as a breakfast cereal. Spelt and rye also remain popular alternatives for wheat.
Food manufacturers that ignore trends are more likely to see a decline in sales compared to those that adapt to market demands. The trends for 2015 present great opportunities for innovative food manufacturers who want to increase their market share and are worth investigating more.