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Food Trends Insight Alert Archive

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Food Trends

News and developments about food trends and food innovation
<<234567891011>> Total issues:159

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November 01, 2015, to November 15, 2015

Energy Drinks Are A – Potentially Harmful – “Guy” Thing

The main consumers of energy drinks are men, suggesting a connection between “masculinity ideology” and energy drink use, according to a U.S. study. Drinking energy beverages may be a way of “performing masculinity... a way to raise masculine capital." The researchers analyzed data from 467 adult males who were asked if they agreed with statements that suggested traditional masculine attitudes. They also asked what participants expected from energy drinks and whether they felt that the drinks affected sleep patterns. Young white men especially associated the drinks with participation in extreme sports or leading an active and competitive lifestyle. But the researchers warned that the high caffeine content of the drinks can have adverse health effects, especially when it comes to sleep.

Dietary Supplements Are Popular, Safe, According to Dietary Supplement Makers

More than two-thirds of American adults say they take dietary supplements, and a large majority (84 percent) believe supplements are safe, according to a survey sponsored by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a trade organization representing dietary supplement makers. Americans have the most confidence in the vitamins and minerals category. The survey found that between 2014 and 2015, overall usage of vitamins and minerals and “specialty supplements” remained flat. Usage of “herbals & botanicals” and “sports nutrition & weight management” supplements grew five percent.

China: Many Barriers To Health Food Land Of Milk And Honey

Health food marketers may think of China as a sort of “promised land” of sales opportunities, if a Chinese food industry five-year plan is to be believed. By 2019, health food sales in the country are expected to reach $48 billion, for several reasons: a growing overall obesity rate (up 67 percent between 2002 and 2012), a doubling of the obesity rate for children and adolescents, severe vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and mounting high blood pressure and cancer rates. Though Chinese consumers want high-quality foreign health foods, it’s still a daunting procedure for multinationals to get their products to market. It can take two to three years, and up to $15,800, to get one health food product registered under China’s blue hat system. The new Food Safety Law, now in effective, adds other hurdles.

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October 15, 2015, to November 01, 2015

Opportunities For Sorghum Farmers Beyond Animal Feed

A sorghum farmer from Kansas saw the potential of sorghum as a food product several years ago. He started a sorghum milling business to take advantage of the fact that the non-GMO, gluten-free, sustainable ancient grain “fits with nearly every hot new food trend.” Earl Roemer’s Nu-Life Market –growing at an annual rate of 20 to 30 percent – sells wholesale food-grade sorghum that winds up in a broad range of products, from snacks to liquor to pet food that dogs and humans can share. His retail products include an all-purpose sorghum flour and a gluten-free pizza crust. He has also launched a seed business, and hopes to introduce new varieties of sorghum better suited to the high elevations of eastern Colorado.

Kelp Is Beating Kale In The Snack Sales Competition

Snack shoppers (and manufacturers) have discovered what coastal cultures around the globe have known for centuries – namely, that the edible algae known as seaweed -- the brown variety is known as kelp -- is a nutritious functional food. Seaweed snack sales have now surpassed kale-based snacks, with market growth surging to 30 percent in 2014. Seaweed is a “naturally functional” food: low in calories, rich in protein, fiber, trace minerals and vitamins. Snack brands are including seaweed in a variety of products, including seaweed-flavored rice chips. Another seaweed virtue: “impeccable sustainability credentials.”

Science Has Abandoned Its Advice To Avoid All Whole Fats... Will The Feds?

Science has gradually reversed the conclusion first drawn by a scientist in the 1950s – namely, that America’s consumption of fat was the cause of the heart disease epidemic. Study after study over the last ten years has concluded that – contrary to the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans – fat is not a cause of cardiovascular disease or obesity. And now a study shows that whole milk is not only not bad for you, it actually offers cardio-protective benefits. So, the question becomes, will the new federal dietary guidelines back off the warnings against consuming all fats? Will they suggest avoiding trans fats and encourage eating unsaturated fats found in fish, nuts and vegetable oils? One thing is sure, says one scientist: it is okay to have whole fat food, including whole fat milk, and that message “is slowly seeping into consciousness.”

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October 01, 2015, to October 15, 2015

British Bread Buyers Waste Many Tons Of Loaves Every Year

A survey of U.K. bread buyers by an anti-food-waste initiative finds that nearly 20 percent toss unopened, stale loaves into the trash. The head of Love Food Hate Waste initiative said the group hopes to raise awareness of how much food is wasted in the country every day and to educate people on ways to cut the waste. U.K. households discard seven million tons of food annually at a total cost of $19 billion. This is just under half the 15 million tons of food wasted annually in the country, with the rest trashed by supermarkets, restaurants and other entities in the supply chain. The group says there are simple ways to use bread up or store it differently to reduce waste and save money.

Healthy Ancient Grain Phenomenon Keeps Growing

A market research report finds that one-fifth of American adults have purchased menu items or grocery foods containing whole grains, including whole wheat and brown rice, but also ancient grains, because they believe they are more healthful. Quinoa is the most popular of the ancient grains, appearing more frequently than others on restaurant menus and in new food product announcements. But more readily sourced and generally cheaper ancient grains, such as sorghum and barley, are increasingly replacing conventional oats, corn or rice in grain-based products. An advantage for producers is ability to claim gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan in products using ancient grains.

Specialty Foods Are Especially Popular With Young People

A Mintel survey conducted for the Specialty Food Association found that consumers aged 25 – 44 are the most likely purchasers of specialty foods, followed closely by those 18 – 24. This core group of younger consumers tends to be affluent, earning $75,000 or more annually, and is more likely to live on the East or West Coasts. Favorite specialty foods include cheese, chocolate, tea, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and vegetables, pasta, and pasta and pizza sauces. Oils and salty snacks were less popular this year than in the past. Forty-seven percent of all consumers said they bought specialty foods within the last six months.

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September 15, 2015, to October 01, 2015

Eastern Europe Will Show Greatest Growth In Dietary Supplement Sales

The European dietary supplement market will grow 9.5 percent in the next five years to €7.9 billion ($8.8 billion) in market value, according to Euromonitor. Italy, Russia, and Germany remain the biggest consumers of dietary supplements, though Germany’s position is slipping. Eastern European countries – especially Romania, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Russia, and Macedonia -- will be the fastest growing marketplaces to 2020. Top selling brands in Western Europe include Abtei (Perrigo), Linex (GSK), Enterogermina Sanofi), and Aboca. Among the top brands in Eastern Europe are Magne B6 (Sanofi), Herbalife, Nutrilite (Amway), and Bifiform (Pfizer).

Sourdough On The Rise In U.K., Despite Sagging Overall Bread Sales

British bread lovers are discovering the unique virtues of sourdough, and are increasingly willing to put themselves through the grind of preparing and guiding the raising agent (also called the starter or ferment) to fruition. The starter itself is not complicated: it’s made from just flour and water and environmental bacteria. But it goes through several time-consuming steps before it is ready to use in making dough. Sourdough is a hot trend in the U.K. restaurant industry: theprocess is used to make not only delicious loaves, but also pastry, cakes, doughnuts, ice cream and chocolate bars. “Once the sourdough bug hits you, it’s hard to turn back,” says Britain’s so-called queen of sourdough.

Causes Of Early Death Have Changed Globally Since 1980s

Prior to the 1990s, the leading causes of death globally were child and maternal malnutrition, unsafe water, sanitation, and lack of handwashing. But a new study finds a whole slew of new culprits. The study, conducted by an international team of researchers led by the Universities of Washington and Melbourne, looked at 79 risk factors for death in 188 countries between 1990 and 2013. The top death risk factors include: high body mass index (Middle East, Latin America); household air pollution, unsafe water (South and Southeast Asia); alcohol (Russia); smoking (high-income countries, the U.K.); childhood malnutrition, unsafe water and lack of sanitation, unsafe sex, alcohol use (sub-Saharan Africa); high blood pressure (Australia) and HIV/AIDS (South Africa).

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September 01, 2015, to September 15, 2015

Panera, Starbucks Go Natural With Their Pumpkin Spice Coffee Concoctions

As the season of jack-o-lanterns and Thanksgiving pumpkin pies approaches, two of America’s top purveyors of pumpkin-spiced caffeine beverages are revving up their “all natural” marketing engines. Starbucks and Panera are advertising newly reformulated pumpkin spice lattes. The new Starbucks recipe ditches the caramel color and features real pumpkin. Panera, meanwhile, on September 9 will start selling a pumpkin spice latte made without artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives or high fructose corn syrup.

Florida Grocery Chain Goes Full Tilt Into Online Cake Ordering

Florida-based Publix Super Markets is now offering cakes on their Web site that can be picked up at any of their 1,103 stores in six states. The company does not offer wedding cakes as part of the service, because of their intricacy. But customers can order “decadent dessert cakes" or "special-edition cakes" online. Industry analysts say the idea of ordering online has been tried and abandoned a couple of times by Publix and other grocers for logistical reasons. But now retail chains are feeling competitive pressure to provide online ordering convenience as Internet retailers like Amazon.com tiptoe into food ordering and delivery.

"Personalized" U.K. Breakfasts Increasingly Feature Added Fruits And Nuts

British breakfast eaters are into customizing their morning meal, as more and more are adding fruits, seeds, and nuts to their cereal, yogurt and other foods, or are purchasing products that already contain those ingredients. According to Kantar Worldpanel research, consumption of fruits and nuts grew nearly 10 percent last year. Fruit was eaten in 2.2 billion breakfasts in 2014, a rise of 8.9 percent, while nuts were eaten in 116 million breakfasts, a rise of 221.1 percent. Food companies are helping to fuel the trend. A Weetabix “Weetabuddies” ad campaign targeted at kids touted healthy fruit ingredients. Ads for Alpro’s Simply Plain yogurt boasted of the product’s “infinite” topping possibilities, including fruits and nuts.

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July 15, 2015, to September 01, 2015

Baked Goods Volumes Stagnant, Held Back By Bread

The value of the global baked goods market continues to grow, though volume is stagnant, thanks to bread’s “lackluster performance,” according to Euromonitor. Buoying baked goods generally are smaller categories such dessert mixes and frozen baked items. The global market will reach $339 billion in value this year, a five percent growth rate. The researcher notes that snack products such as cakes and pastries are showing healthy growth. But, a global shift in consumer tastes from carbs to protein-rich foods “does not bode well for packaged baked goods manufacturers” who are fighting to stay profitable as retailer space consolidates further.

New Kashi Breakfast Products Are Suited To Emerging Consumer Food Preferences

Kellogg-owned Kashi has introduced a couple of new breakfast cereals that tie in with its strategic focus on health and sustainability and dovetail with the latest consumer food trends. The company believes its “Overnight Muesli” and “Organic Promise Sweet Potato Sunshine” will appeal to shoppers who are into “scratch cooking” – the new muesli has to soak overnight to be eaten – and trends toward tradition and authenticity. That means that “good” food is less processed, more natural, traditional and old fashioned. A Mintel analyst said cereals companies have been trying to revive sales by using unusual grains, like quinoa and chia. Of Kashi’s sweet potato-based product, the analyst says, “Why not veggies, too?”

Artisan Pasta Competes With Bread At “Kneading Conference”

At the “Kneading Conference” in Maine recently, more than 200 foodies learned about the best ways to grow and use grains, not only for artisan bread making, but also for artisan pasta making. Former chef Steve Gonzalez taught attenders how to make fresh, small-batch pasta, a hot topic at the conference. Gonzalez’s growing Sfoglini Pasta Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., supplies gourmet restaurants all over the city with custom whole grain penne, rigatoni, seasonal pastas (e.g., chili pepper fusilli and radiatore made with spent malt from The Bronx Brewery) and organic variations. The executive director of the conference validates the trend, noting that pasta is “a new frontier and in many ways more versatile than bread.”

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July 01, 2015, to July 15, 2015

Will Growing Interest In Almond Foods Be Dampened By Rising Prices?

The four-year drought in California is having a major impact on the price of protein-rich almonds –$4.50 a pound now, up from $3.30 a year ago – just as the tree nut has surged in popularity as a substitute for peanuts in a variety of products. Analysts say a fear of peanut allergies and an interest in healthier nut spreads are driving the surge. Sales of so-called specialty nuts, including almonds, have more than doubled in the U.S. in the last four years (to $449 million), while peanut butter sales have dropped by 4.1 percent. “There’s a little peanut-butter fatigue,” says a Bloomberg analyst who notes that people are willing to try different nut-based foods. This despite the fact that almond foods are now much pricier than peanut foods.

Oreo Jumps On “Slim Snack” Bandwagon

The $3 billion a year (global sales) Oreo cookie brand is shrinking in size, cream filling amount and calories. Sporting what Mondelez calls a “sophisticated” look that it hopes will appeal to former Oreo lovers, the popular treat will be available in mint, classic, and “golden” flavors. The rebranding effort follows in the wake of other rebranded (smaller, more savory) snacks, including Ritz's Crisp & Thins, Triscuit's Thin Crisps and Kraft's Wheat Thins. Analysts don’t see the trend slowing any time soon, and Mondelez hopes the slimmer Oreo will give the company a badly needed shot in the arm. Its North American cookie business wilted in the first three months of 2015.

Americans Love Sandwiches -- And Trying New Varieties

Eight of 10 Americans say they’ve eaten at least one sandwich in the last seven days, and are more likely to eat a homemade sandwich (83 percent) than a food service sandwich (62 percent). Sandwiches, whether homemade or non-homemade, are perceived as healthier than burgers and other menu items. But that doesn’t mean sandwiches have no cachet. Both the ingredients and the breads used are getting more varied and sophisticated – thanks to culinary restaurant trends – and present opportunities for marketers. Innovative ingredients include smoked pork, pork belly, sopressata, as well as new sauces. Bread options have moved beyond plain white and whole wheat to include French baguettes, Texas toast, ciabatta, and brioche.

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June 15, 2015, to July 01, 2015

Company Unveils Line Of “Free-From” Baking Mixes

A “free-from” food company will launch to retailers in August a line of ready-to-use bake mixes that are gluten-free, non-GMO, and free of the top eight food allergens. The mixes from Enjoy Life Foods (Schiller Park, Ill.) are also kosher and halal certified, made with ancient grains (including Ethiopian teff), plant proteins and a probiotic “enhancement.” The baking mixes are available at $8.49 each now at the Enjoy Life online store. Varieties include pancake/waffle, pizza crust, brownie, muffin, and all-purpose flour.

FDA To Food Companies: Three Years To Get Rid Of Trans Fats

After taking a close look at all of the available evidence from scientific studies, the FDA has told food companies to rid their products of all partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the main source of harmful trans fats in the American diet, within three years. The agency in 2013 made a preliminary ruling that PHOs were not “generally recognized as safe,” then considered all public comments on the proposal. The three-year compliance period will give companies time to reformulate products without PHOs or petition the FDA for special exemptions from the ban. After three years, “no PHOs can be added to human food unless they are otherwise approved by the FDA,” the agency said.

Greenhouse Conditions Affect Wheat, And Bread, But Not For The Better

Australian researchers studying the effect of elevated carbon dioxide – as in global warming – on wheat, lentils, canola and field peas have made some interesting, and ominous, discoveries. The Australian Grains Free Air CO₂ Enrichment facility (AgFace) in Victoria has determined that wheat and canola grown in a carbon dioxide-rich environment grow faster and produce higher yields, but contain less protein. In addition, the ratio of different types of proteins in wheat is also changed, affecting the elasticity of dough and how well a loaf rises. "We don't understand completely why that's the case," one researcher says.

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June 01, 2015, to June 15, 2015

Whole Foods Will Begin Opening “Streamlined” Stores Next Year

Whole Foods Market, saddled by a reputation as being too expensive (“Whole Paycheck” or "Whole Foods Markup") and facing stiff competition from specialty grocers and big box retailers, in 2016 will begin opening smaller “streamlined” stores offering lower-priced private-label natural and organic products. The company hopes the new stores, to be called 365 by Whole Foods Market, will appeal to younger shoppers looking for more affordable fresh and locally-sourced foods. The new business unit, located in Austin, Texas, will be headed by Jeff Turnas, a 20-year Whole Foods Market employee.

Major British Retailer To Enrich Bread Products With Vitamin D

U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer has begun adding vitamin D to its entire line of packaged bread and rolls. The products are prepared using a vitamin D-rich yeast that has been exposed to UV light. The decision came after the company surveyed 2,476 of its customers, finding that 78 percent wanted vitamin D enrichment of food. In addition, health experts have expressed fears about the rise in rickets cases among British children due to vitamin D deficiencies. Marks and Spencer is the only retailer so far to offer vitamin D-enriched bread.

Traces Of Monsanto Herbicide Discovered In South Africa’s Bread, Maize Meal

Governments around the world are moving to restrict, or outright ban, the use of a herbicide known as glyphosate because research has shown it to be carcinogenic in animals, and there is evidence it is harmful to humans. The Netherlands, Denmark, and Sweden have all banned or limited glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. But glyphosate use in South Africa has been growing: the country has been slow to act on health warnings, there is almost no regular monitoring, and the herbicide continues to show up in bread and maize meal. Half of South Africa's maize crop and all of its soy crop are genetically modified, which means glyphosate has to be used in cultivation.

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May 01, 2015, to June 01, 2015

Sliced Bread Makers In The U.K. Buffeted By Ill Winds

Several trends have combined to make life miserable for British makers of sliced bread. Health-conscious shoppers are choosing fresh-baked and whole-grain breads over packaged sliced loaves. There’s been a 14 percent drop in packed school lunches. The price war among retail supermarket chains has pushed the price of premium manufactured loaves downward. As a result, the U.K. bread market has declined $190 million. The upside of this phenomenon has been the easing of food prices for cash-strapped shoppers. Bread prices have dropped an average of 15p ($0.24) for a large loaf.

Big Food Suffers As Shoppers Seek Healthier, Or Cheaper Processed, Eats

Processed food is taking a beating in the U.S., as are its makers, thanks to pressure from policymakers, “real food” advocates, and fussier, more price-conscious, consumers. Shoppers are growing more disenchanted with Kraft macaroni and cheese, McDonald’s burgers and fries, and other former staples of the American diet. The result is tough times for food makers. Last month Kraft announced it was removing the orangey food dye from its mac and cheese, then reported stagnant sales and a 16 percent drop in profit. McDonald’s hired a new CEO to fix its falling sales, but the bleeding continues. To make matters worse, consumers who don’t care about the ingredients are switching to store brands of processed foods to save money.

Tyson Chicken To Be Antibiotic Free Within Two Years

Tyson Foods announced it will end the use of antibiotics in its chicken products by September 2017. The decision is a reflection of a more health-conscious attitude among food companies, which are using less antibiotics and other artificial ingredients in their products. Market researcher IRI said dollar sales of antibiotic-free chicken – about 11 percent of total chicken sales -- were up 25 percent in the year ending January 25. Organic chicken sales were up 33 percent in the same period. Tyson is the largest seller of chicken in the U.S.
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