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Nestlé Scientists Discover Molecular Footprint For Long Life

September 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Swiss and Italian scientists working at two Nestlé research facilities have pinpointed physiological markers in the bodies of a group of centenarians that could hold the key to a long lifespan. The group were characterized by complex changes in the levels of lipids in the body, metabolism of amino acids, and the function of their intestinal tract. The scientists said the substances in the centenarians’ blood and urine suggested that they may have a better anti-oxidative response and better cellular detoxification mechanisms. The group of centenarians, all from Italy, numbered 30 men and 113 women, born between 1900 and 1908.
"Nestlé research identifies metabolic signature for long life", News release, Nestlé, September 20, 2013, © Nestlé
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Sweetener Supplier Launches Web Site For Food And Beverage Companies

September 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Natural sweetener supplier Steviva Ingredients has launched a Web site targeted at food and beverage technologists. The site provides comprehensive information on Steviva’s sweeteners, including technical resource videos, company services, etc. Food categories covered on the site include snacks, beverages, and frozen foods. Steviva Ingredients sweeteners and bulk ingredients are all-natural, GMO-free, soy-free, corn-free and allergen-free. The company says its mission is “to deliver innovative, naturally sweetened products in an expedient, cost-effective manner”.
"Steviva Launches New Portal For Food, Beverage Developers", News release, Steviva Ingredients, September 19, 2013, © Steviva Ingredients
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Thanks To Social Media, Americans Are Hooked On Food Fads

September 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Experts say people are drawn to food fads – like the Cronut or the ramen noodle burger – and are willing to wait in long lines to get their hands on them, because they are new, hip and scarce. But even more than that, food has become part of the culture, like movies and music. People talk about it, especially on social media, where trends and fads are spread instantaneously. Both hip restaurants and fast-food chains benefit from fads and quick publicity. The principle of mass-market scarcity was applied in Taco Bell's Doritos Locos, Kentucky Fried Chicken's Double Down sandwich, Wendy's pretzel bacon cheeseburger and McDonald's McRib – “a pork sandwich that mysteriously disappears and reappears from the chain's menu”.
"What the Cronut and the McRib have in common", Crain’s New York, September 19, 2013, via Associated Press, © The Associated Press
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Consumption Of Whole Grain Bread, Rice, Rises Under Revised WIC Program For Poor Families

September 18, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Low-income families who rely on the federal WIC program have begun to choose healthier foods now that the vouchers include whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole grain cereals, according to a new study. Prior to the change, most of the bread and rice purchased by WIC’s low-income households – with pregnant women or children under five – were made from refined grains. After the change, whole grain bread purchases went from eight percent to 24 percent; brown rice purchases rose to 30 percent. The WIC program also includes a new monthly $10 voucher for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Ed Stannard, "Yale study: WIC changes mean low-income families eat more whole grains", New Haven Register, September 18, 2013, © The New Haven Register
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IRI Sees Opportunities For CPG Marketers In Changing U.S. Family Eating Habits

September 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Americans who eat on-the-go now comprise 21 percent of the U.S. population, according to researcher Information Resources, Inc., a statistic that reflects the decline of the daily family dinner. The new class of eaters – dubbed “opportunists" by IRI – grab food and drink at any time during the day, and don’t really distinguish between snacks and meals. IRI says opportunist  eaters are a $90 billion market and CPG marketers need to look “beyond the confines of the retail store”, rethink the competitive landscape, and view all eating and drinking occasions as opportunities to engage shoppers and “win share of stomach”.
"How America Eats: Capturing Growth with Food on the Run ", Report, Information Resources, Inc. , September 17, 2013, © Information Resources, Inc.
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Fast Casual, Fine Dining Establishments Experience Rise In Traffic In 2Q

September 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Though visits to restaurants in the U.S. rose by only one percent in 2Q 2013, spending went up three percent, according to NPD Group. The increase in spending at restaurants was mainly due to higher meal prices. Visits to quick service restaurants (QSR), which represent 78 percent of industry traffic, were up one percent. Traffic to fast casual restaurants, a subset of the quick service segment, increased by eight percent. After several quarters of declines, traffic at casual dining facilities held steady in the quarter, while midscale/family dining restaurant traffic dropped two percent compared to the same period last year. By contrast, visits to fine dining/upscale hotel restaurants – about one percent of total industry traffic – was up six percent.
"U.S. Restaurant Traffic Increases Modestly and Average Check Growth Drives Spending Gains in Q2, Reports NPD", News release, The NPD Group, September 17, 2013, © The NPD Group, Inc.
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Argentinean Family Hopes Its Empanadas Catch On Big

September 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A family with roots in Argentina – and a restaurant in a Chicago suburb – hopes that its culinary specialty catches on big. The specialty is empanadas, half-moon shaped pies made with wheat flour dough and stuffed with meat and cheese (savory) or apple, brown sugar and cinnamon (dessert). Meat-filled empanadas are a food staple in Argentina, where the gauchos (cowboys) found them easy to carry around while working. The Schamber family has opened two locations of EmpanadUS, and plan to open more.
Jane Michaels , "Empanadas restaurant comes to La Grange", The Doings La Grange, September 16, 2013, © Sun-Times Media, LLC
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“Gluten-Free” Is A Magic Marketing Word Now – But Will It Last?

September 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Sales of gluten-free products this year will total $4.2 billion, and could reach $6.6 billion annually by 2017. But the gluten-free market wouldn’t be this lucrative if it relied solely on selling to the three million Americans who suffer from celiac disease. Fortunately for food and beverage manufacturers, the market is much larger, fueled by the belief that gluten causes all kinds of health problems, from obesity to arthritis. Some critics believe the bubble will burst eventually when consumers realize that the premium prices they are paying for gluten-free products aren’t buying any real health benefits.
E.J. Schultz, "Gluten-Free Food Fad Gaining Momentum Among Marketers", Advertising Age, September 16, 2013, © Crain Communications
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Purple Sweet Potatoes Offer A Natural Color Alternative For Foods, Beverages

September 9, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Natural colors derived from vegetables are making a comeback, thanks to consumer demand, the needs of manufacturers and the realization that the antioxidant-rich compounds offer health benefits. According to a Texas A & M University professor, certain root crops – black carrots, purple sweet potatoes and purple carrots, etc. – are being grown specifically to meet the growing natural color needs of the food and beverage industry. Purple sweet potatoes (PSPs), in addition to tasting like regular varieties, offer a range of colors, including light pink, rose, red, and deep purple that are used in  fruit drinks, vitamin waters, ice cream and yogurt. PSPs have the same healthy anthocyanin pigments found in black cherries.
Stephen T. Talcott, "Purple Sweet Potatoes Among 'New Naturals' for Food and Beverage Colors", News release, presentation at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, September 09, 2013, © American Chemical Society
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U.K. Commercial Baby Foods Are Pushed On Infants Too Early, Study Finds

September 9, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Commercial baby foods in the U.K. that are promoted as a way to wean children from breast milk are actually sweet foods that provide little extra nutritional benefit over breast milk or formula,  according to new research. British government guidelines say infants should not be weaned before six months, and the foods they eat – cereals, vegetables, fruits and proteins – should be introduced gradually. The researchers looked at products from four manufacturers, finding that commonly used commercial foods supplied no more energy than breast or formula milk and are promoted at an age – four months– when babies should be consuming breast or formula milk.
A. L. Garcia et al., "Nutritional content of infant commercial weaning foods in the U.K.", Archives of Disease in Childhood, September 09, 2013, © BMJ Publishing Group Ltd & Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health
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Researchers Complete Genome Sequencing Of Uruguay’s Prize Grape Variety

September 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Scientists in Uruguay have sequenced the genome of the country’s Tannat grape, purported to produce the healthiest wines in the world because of their high concentrations of the antioxidant tannin and of the flavonoid procyanidin. The researchers, who say wines made with Tannat grapes have twice the tannins of Cabernet, Merlot or Pinot Noir, believe that sequencing the grape's genome will allow Uruguayan vintners to protect “a valuable niche in the world's $300 billion wine industry”. The scientists will now turn their attention to determining how soil conditions, minerals, sun, temperature, climate, altitude and other environmental factors affect the expression of genes in grapes and the chemistry of wine's aromas and color.
"Scientists sequence genome of high-value grape, seek secrets of wine's aroma", EurekAlert, September 02, 2013, © AAAS, the science society.
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Labeling Food As “Low Fat” Is A Powerful Inducement For Consumers

September 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In a study involving 175 female college students, researchers at the University of Hawaii found that the label “low fat” on candy (M&M's) conveyed an impression that the food was not only healthier but better tasting than regular M&M's. (All of the M&M's in the study were regular versions.) They also found that participants significantly underestimated the caloric content of candy labeled as low fat. Those who did not know the calorie content underestimated the calories of supposedly low fat M&M's by an average of 71 calories, and  overestimated the caloric value of regular M&M's by an average of 38 calories. “The study findings may be related to the ‘health halo’ associated with low fat foods,” the researchers concluded.
Daria S. Ebnetera et al., "Is less always more? The effects of low-fat labeling and caloric information on food intake, calorie estimates, taste preference, and health attributions ", Appetite (Volume 68, 1 September 2013, Pages 92–97), September 01, 2013, © Elsevier B. V.
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Vinegar Beats Prescription Drugs In Reducing Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

August 30, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A small clinical study by U.S. researchers has found that ingesting a small amount of vinegar at mealtime twice a day may benefit people at risk for type 2 diabetes. Participants, who were otherwise healthy, either drank 750 mg (one tablespoon) of acetic acid or ingested a placebo pill at two meals each day for 12 weeks. Blood sugar was measured daily. Those who ingested the vinegar showed greater reductions in fasting blood sugar levels than those from taking diabetes drugs metformin or rosiglitazone. The researchers concluded that vinegar, “a simple addition to meals, has antiglycemic effects in adults at risk for type 2 diabetes, possibly related to carbohydrate maldigestion”.
Carol S. Johnston et al., "Vinegar ingestion at mealtime reduced fasting blood glucose concentrations in healthy adults at risk for type 2 diabetes", Journal of Functional Foods, August 30, 2013, © Elsevier B.V.
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Flavors And Fragrances Markets Set For Healthy Growth Over Next Four Years

August 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A shift toward healthier foods means American consumers are buying lower-sodium foods and lower-sugar beverages, increasing the demand for flavorings that improve taste, according to a Freedonia Group report. A shift toward natural products has generated greater demand for natural flavors, which are more expensive than their artificial counterparts – “boosting value gains”. The cosmetics and toiletries market, meanwhile, is benefiting from a surge in the popularity of body washes, perfumes and colognes, which means increased demand for fragrance blends. All of this adds up to good news for the flavors and fragrances market, which Freedonia forecasts to advance 4.6 percent a year through 2017 to $7.1 billion.
"U.S. Demand for Flavors & Fragrances to Exceed $7 Billion in 2017", Nutraceuticals World, August 29, 2013, © Rodman Media
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Europeans Feel Personalized Nutrition Programs Are Better For Health And Fitness

August 21, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A European focus group study has found that consumers believe personalized nutrition – whereby diets are customized for individuals – is better for their health and fitness. Researchers at the Food4Me project also found that consumers liked the programs because they are convenient and payment-based. But at the same time the 126-person group worried about the security of the health data gathered by regulators and nutrition service providers. Personalized nutrition takes into account genetic differences among individuals, including how certain genes affect the risk of diet-related diseases. The goal  of the Food4Me project, funded by the European Commission, is to find the best ways to deliver information and services.
"Personalized Nutrition Perceived Positively by Consumers", Nutrition Horizon , August 21, 2013, © CNS Media BV
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NSF Establishes First Industry/University Research Center For Wheat

August 19, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The first National Science Foundation-established research center for a crop plant will be set up at Kansas State University, the school announced. KSU will be the lead institution for an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center on wheat, focusing on improving food production and disease resistance. It will also be a training hub for graduate students and young researchers. The NSF has established 61 cooperative research centers, mostly devoted to engineering and electronics. Colorado State University will share wheat research responsibilities with KSU.
"University to lead world's first NSF-established research center for wheat; first such center for crop plants", News release, Kansas State University, August 19, 2013, © Kansas State University
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Food Culture Is Changing, And Food/Beverage Companies Need To Monitor The Trends

August 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Market research firm The Hartman Group reports some “really fascinating shifts” in today’s food culture that are affecting consumer expectations of grocery products and packaging. Food and beverage companies should pay attention to these trends because they offer opportunities and challenges for new product presentation and packaging, according to the company. A primary trend is greater involvement by consumers in the world of food, which people associate with enjoyment, passion, love and healthy families. Along with this new passion for food comes a desire to know where it comes from, perhaps for safety reasons, but also just out of curiosity.
Anne Marie Mohan, "Food for thought: Consumers’ changing attitudes toward food", Packaging World, August 16, 2013, © Summit Media Group, Inc
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GLG Lifetech Partners With China's Largest Food Company To Develop Healthy Products, Help Tackle Obesity And Diabetes Epidemic

August 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Stevia producer GLG Lifetech announced it is working with state-owned China National Cereals, Oils, and Foodstuffs Corporation, the largest food company in China, on three major healthy food and beverage formulation projects. Two of the projects cover dairy products for the COFCO Mengniu Dairy business unit and one involves the company's China Foods subsidiary, according to GLG investor relations head Stuart Wooldridge. China's government is concerned about the increase in number of obese people in the country to more than 200 million, while those diagnosed with diabetes have reached 90 million. As part of its deal with COFCO's Nutrition and Health Research Institute, GLG will supply stevia ingredients and technologies and help the Chinese company develop products with zero or reduced sugar content.
Elaine WATSON , "GLG Lifetech works with China’s largest food company to tackle obesity, diabetes epidemic with stevia", Nutraingredients USA, August 15, 2013, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Gluten-Free Baked Goods Among Best New Products At Fancy Food Show

August 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Food writer Ruth Taber sampled a lot of innovative foods and beverages at last month’s Fancy Food Show in New York City, but was especially fond of some tasty gluten-free baked snacks. Among her  favorite products: Barry Novick’s award winning All Parmesan Gourmet Wafer Crisps made entirely of cheese; Just The Crumbs – created by a woman with celiac disease – combining brown rice, quinoa, flax, and sesame seeds and suitable for any recipe calling for crumbs; and Israeli firm Osem’s Gratify gluten-free pretzels made with rice and soy flour (and wheat, milk, casein and egg free).
Ruth Taber, "Ruth Taber: Food finds", El Paso Times, August 15, 2013, © MediaNews Group
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Western Food Ads Often Fail In Emerging Markets Because Of A Misguided Emphasis

August 14, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Companies attempting to launch new foods and beverages into emerging markets frequently fail because they apply their own cultural assumptions in their ad messages. Specifically, “they jump to a pleasure position with their brands,” says food branding expert Peter Wennstrom. Instead, companies need to pay special attention to the nutritional component of their healthy and functional food ads because consumers in emerging markets “still have an experience of nutritional shortage”. Too many ads for Western products emphasize the pleasure gained from eating the brand first, putting too little emphasis on how the product meets important nutritional needs.
Shane Starling, "Emerging market healthy food 'faux pas': Too much pleasure, too soon", Nutra-ingredients, August 14, 2013, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Coca-Cola Wants You To Know: Aspartame Is A Safe Artificial Sweetener

August 14, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
High-intensity artificial sweeteners are safe to use instead of sugar, according to the Coca-Cola company, which has launched an ad campaign in print media to convey that message to consumers. Sales of Diet Coke fell three percent in 2012 compared with a one percent drop for regular Coke, because of some negative scientific reports. The company is focusing specifically on aspartame, which is used in its diet beverages. Citing more than 200 studies conducted over four decades, the company says aspartame is a safe, high-quality alternative to sugar that is beneficial for people who need to manage their calories.
Elaine Watson, "Coca-Cola unveils ad reassuring consumers about the safety of artificial sweeteners", Food Navigator , August 14, 2013, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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Proactive Consumer Healthcare Trend Drives Increases In Nutritional Supplement Intake

August 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A study by market researcher NMI finds that over the past five years American adults have steadily increased their use of nutritional supplements. About 73 percent now use them, compared to 62 percent in 2009. Millennials are also jumping on the nutritional supplement bandwagon – they show the highest increases in supplement use over the past several years. According to NMI, the increase in supplement use – a sign of the consumer directed, proactive  healthcare trend – is driven by several factors, including the aging population, the desire for “anti-aging” remedies, and the uncertainty of the healthcare system.
Siobhan Hawthorne, "Nutritional Supplement/OTC/Rx Consumer Insight & Market Opportunity Report", NMI, August 13, 2013, © NMI
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Entrepreneurs Hope To Profit From Innovative Alternative Protein Sources

August 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A growing number of food entrepreneurs are looking to eliminate the middleman of protein production – namely, animals such as beef cattle and chickens. Their focus, as described to a gathering of venture capitalists and others interested in alternative sources of protein, is production of high-protein foods directly from plants and insects. Key benefits would be a vast reduction in water usage and greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising beef cattle. Among the start-ups: Beyond Meat, which makes a meat substitute from soybeans, peas, and carrot fiber; Hampton Creek, maker of a pea-, sorghum-, and canola-based egg substitute; and Exo, whose protein bar mix combines dates, almond butter, and coconut with flour made from crickets that have been roasted and milled.
Wade Roush, "Proteins of Tomorrow? Soy, Peas, Crickets, and Mealworms", Xconomy, August 13, 2013, © Xconomy, Inc
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Boosting Daily Dietary Fiber Is Only A Matter Of Smart Food Substitutions

August 13, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
By making simple substitutions of high-fiber foods for low-fiber ones, Americans can easily boost their fiber consumption to recommended healthy levels, according to a recently published article. The key is choosing higher fiber varieties of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, the authors say. Simple substitutions can also play a role. For example, a person consuming around 13 grams of fiber and 1,600 calories a day could double fiber intake easily by exchanging a low-fiber breakfast cereal for a high-fiber breakfast cereal, chocolate chip cookies for a high-fiber chocolate chip snack bar, and white bread for whole wheat bread.
"New Study Shows How To Easily Get More Fiber In Your Diet Without Increasing Calories", News release, Kellogg's, August 13, 2013, © Kellogg Company
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Only 7 Percent Of US Consumers Say They're Vegetarian, 36 Percent Use Meat Alternatives

August 12, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
While only 7 percent of consumers in the United States identify themselves as vegetarian, 36 percent say they use meat alternatives, according to a research from Mintel. Half of consumers who use meat alternatives are using them to replace real meat and 16 percent say they use the products together with meat products. Data also showed health concerns are a major factor encouraging consumers to use meat alternatives, with one-third of consumers say they are using meat alternatives because they are healthy. Also, 31 percent of respondents said they are trying to cut their meat consumption, while another 31 percent said they like the taste of meat alternatives.
"More than one-third of Americans consume meat alternatives, but only a fraction are actually vegetarians", Mintel, August 12, 2013, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Fried Noodle Buns Give Ramen Burger Its Unique Look And Flavor

August 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
There’s hardly been enough time to adjust to New York’s  “cronut” craze when along comes another culinary fad: a burger-noodle hybrid sandwich, also born in New York City. Chef Keizo Shimamoto invented the Ramen Burger and debuted it at a Brooklyn, N.Y., food fair recently. The burger comprises a slab of ground beef topped with scallions and arugula and sandwiched between two bun-shaped disks of fried noodles. According to a food blogger, the key ingredient is a soy-based shoyu sauce that “brings both sweetness and salt to the party”. Chef Shimamoto formerly owned a Tokyo-based noodle restaurant.
Margot Peppers, "That's one way to use your noodles! The burger topped with a RAMEN 'bun' that is proving a hit in New York City", Daily Mail Online, August 08, 2013, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Purple Is The Trendy Fall Color For The Food And Beverage Industries

August 7, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Microbreweries, candy makers, snack food manufacturers and other food companies are showing an extraordinary interest in anthocyanin-rich purple corn ingredients, according to a firm that supplies the compounds. Consumers are catching on to the health benefits of phytonutrients, and seem especially hip to “purple foods,” according to Suntava Inc. The company, which says its purple corn packs twice the antioxidant power of blueberries, has arrangements with growers in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin to grow non-GMO purple corn. The company is talking to a big beer company in Japan and top microbreweries in the U.S.
Elaine Watson, "Purple rain: Purple corn craze moves from snacks to beer, bread, confectionery and popcorn", Food Navigator USA, August 07, 2013, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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UK Consumers Spend Almost Twice As Much As Other European Consumers On Hummus

August 7, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In the UK, 41 percent of consumers have a pot of hummus in their refrigerator, almost twice as many as other consumers in Europe, according to a survey as of 2013. UK consumers spend £60 on hummus each year, using the product as spread on pitas, a dip for carrot sticks, and other uses that are different from its traditional uses in the Middle East, where it originally came from. Hummus history in the UK probably began in the 1980s when Waitrose became the first British supermarket to stock the product, with other retailers following suit in the 1990s. Also, chefs, such as Claudia Roden and Anissa Helou, have also played a significant role in promoting hummus in the country.
Katy Salter, "The British love affair with hummus", The Guardian, August 07, 2013, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Poor Food Choices Linked To Sleep Deprivation

August 6, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A U.S. study that used functional magnetic resonance imaging to look at the brain regions that control food choices found unusual activity patterns in the brains of sleep-deprived individuals. Activity in the frontal lobe of sleep-deprived individuals – the area involved in complex decision making – was impaired, while activity in areas deeper in the brain that respond to rewards increased. The researchers said that high-calorie foods become significantly more desirable when participants are sleep-deprived, “which may help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese”.
Stephanie M. Greer et al., "The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain", Nature Communications, August 06, 2013, © Nature Publishing Group
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Only A Quarter Of Restaurant Customers In The US Say They Order Healthy Menu Items, NPD Reports

August 6, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In the United States, only 24 percent of consumers say they eat healthy food when they dine out, while over half of foodservice customers say they eat healthy at home, according to market research firm The NPD Group. Data from the report “Healthy at Food Service —Consumer Expectations Put in Perspective” revealed that despite the increase in number of restaurants offering healthier menu items or providing nutritional and calories information, consumers still see dining out as a time for indulging. That includes eating less healthy food. Top reasons cited by consumers for not eating healthy at restaurants include their desire to eat what they want to eat, not paying attention to health-related issues when ordering, and not having to watch what they eat.
"Over Half of Foodservice Consumers Eat Healthy at Home, But Only One-Quarter Do at Restaurants, Reports NPD", NPD , August 06, 2013, © The NPD Group, Inc.
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Lower-Calorie Sprite With Sugar/Stevia To Replace Full-Calorie Version In U.K., France

August 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Euromonitor reports that Coca-Cola intends to replace its full-calorie version of Sprite with the  reduced calorie version sweetened with sugar and stevia. The move is seen as a response to criticism of sugary beverages as a leading contributor to the obesity epidemic. Despite that, Coca-Cola is emphasizing the flavor of the new low-calorie version in its advertising, rather than any purported health benefits. The reduced calorie version was introduced in France in 2012 and In the U.K. in March 2013. All full calorie Sprite is being pulled from store shelves in those markets.
Dana LaMendola, "Will Sprite's UK Stevia Makeover Usher in a New Era of Reduced-Calorie Growth?", Euromonitor International, August 05, 2013, © Euromonitor International
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Eating A Large Breakfast Is Much Better For Weight Loss And Waist Reduction

August 5, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Israeli researchers report that women who eat the largest meal of the day at breakfast are much more likely to lose weight and reduced their waist lines than those who eat large dinners. The study was conducted with 93 obese women who consumed 1,400 calories a day, eating either 700 calories at breakfast and 200 calories at dinner, or 200 calories at breakfast and 700 calories at dinner. Those who consumed the large breakfast and light dinner had lower insulin, glucose and triglyceride levels during the day, which translates to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Daniela Jakubowicz et al., "High Caloric intake at breakfast vs. dinner differentially influences weight loss of overweight and obese women", Obesity, August 05, 2013, © The Obesity Society
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Toaster Strudel, Ja?: General Mills Hopes So

August 2, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A new ad campaign from Pillsbury (General Mills) featuring a Germanic-looking, lederhosen-clad  adolescent boy pitching Toaster Strudel signals a rising trend in food marketing: the use of brand mascots, “an old-school approach” – think Pillsbury Doughboy – rejuvenated in the era of digital social media. Toaster Strudel’s ads are, in fact,  timed to dovetail with the launch of the brand’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. The company’s strategy is a response generally to the malaise in breakfast cereal sales, and specifically to the $668 million Kellogg campaign for its Pop Tarts brand and its “Gone Nutty” peanut butter and chocolate varieties. One of the ads features an animated Pop Tart character swimming in a peanut butter spa.
E.J. Schultz, "Toaster Strudel Straps on Lederhosen in Breakfast Battle", Advertising Age, August 02, 2013, © Crain Communications
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HPP May Be The Answer To Concerns About Safety, Health Benefits, Of Raw Foods

August 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Raw food, once thought to be the next big food trend, has so far not caught on with the mass market because of a lack of evidence of the health benefits and concerns about safety. Manufacturers of raw foods – defined as those never heated beyond 115°F – could advance the cause, however, by applying high pressure processing (HPP) technology in lieu of heat. HPP  destroys pathogens while retaining vitamins and minerals. Because there is no heat degradation (caused by cooling), HPP is particularly appropriate for heat-sensitive, acidic foods such as fruits. The water-based technology has also been approved for use on organic and natural products.
Diana Cowland, "Raw Food Revival?", Nutraceuticals World, August 01, 2013, © Rodman Media
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Cake Pop Advocate Explains Why The Trendy Confection Is Superior To Bake Pops

August 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Among the important things the world needs to know is the difference between a cake pop and a bake pop, according to baker Jennifer Cucci. Though both are based on cake, they are very different. Each has its advocates battling it out on online discussion forums, Facebook and blogs. The original and phenomenally popular cake pops are made from crumbled cake mixed with frosting, dipped in candy coating, and skewered on a stick. Bake pops are machine-made spherical cakes-on-a-stick dipped in chocolate. According to Cucci, each version has a place in the market, but bake pops, lacking the frosting mixture in the middle, “are much more airy and dry,” unlike the “moist and gooey center” of the “superior” cake pop.
"Cake Pop Expert Reveals the Truth About Two Trendy Treats", News release,Heavenly Cake Pops, August 01, 2013, © Heavenly Cake Pops
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Demand Grows For Personalized Formulations Of Vitamins And Dietary Supplements

July 31, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Nutritional supplements companies are using scientific research to develop and market vitamins and dietary supplements formulations personalized for individual consumers. Demand for VDS is driven in part by the growing popularity of nutrigenomics, also called nutrigenetics, which Food4Me Project describes as “combining the study of genetics and nutrition” to identify how tiny changes in genetic make-up determine the effects of nutrients on human bodies and how humans metabolize the food they eat.
US-based geneME creates a personalized formulations of VDS based on the results of a DNA test to identify variations in 12 genes associated with the body’s various functions, such as the ability to use vitamin D. In the UK, Beyond Nutrition offers a DNA Diet program, which includes personal consultations to review DNA test results linked to factors, such as ideal nutrient intakes.
Analyst Insight by Stephanie Prymas, Analyst - Consumer Health, "Made Just for You: Customization in Vitamins and Dietary Supplements (VDS)", Euromonitor International, July 31, 2013, © Euromonitor International
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French Love Affair With The Baguette Is Getting Stale

July 30, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
It seems that a staple of French civilization –  the baguette – is in trouble. The French are eating much less of the long, thin loaves of bread: only half a baguette a day per person, compared to a whole loaf four decades ago and more than three in 1900. Though 10 billion baguettes are still sold annually in France, the staple is relinquishing popularity to breakfast cereals, pasta and rice. The decline in baguette eating has driven the French bakers’ and millers’ lobby to launch a nationwide ad campaign, reminding people to bring home the baguettes. The slogan ''Coucou, tu as pris le pain?'' (''Hi there, have you picked up the bread?'') appears on billboards and bread bags in 130 cities around the country.
Elaine Sciolino, "A French Dining Staple Is Losing Its Place at the Table", The New York Times, July 30, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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Amateur Baker Creates Successful Business Based On Protein-Rich, Gluten-Free Muffins

July 30, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
A muscular, tattooed amateur baker who wanted to create tasty, protein-rich, gluten-free muffins without the chalky texture may have succeeded beyond all expectations. After testing his muffins, cupcakes and macaroons on family and friends – all of whom immediately asked for more – he began offering his products on Instagram, and getting orders. Dubbed “Manbake Beefcakes”, the products – including coconut almond fudge muffins – were sold at $5 for a bag of three at farmers markets, labeled vegetarian, gluten-free, carb conscious and “pre- and post-workout”. Seth Lagana and his girlfriend/partner recently convinced the Las Vegas Athletic Club to sell their  baked goods, a positive step on the road to financial success.
Adrienne Packer, "Manbake Beefcakes offers healthy option for Las Vegas' sweet tooth", Las Vegas Business Press, July 30, 2013, © Stephens Media LLC
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Will Fitness Fans Flock To Dr. Zak’s High-Protein Bread?

July 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
MuscleFood.com has launched a high-protein, lower-carb bread targeted at bread loving fitness fanatics. Made in the U.K. from wholemeal (whole grain) flour, Dr. Zak’s Protein Bread contains 15 grams of wheat and pea protein and 13.9 grams of carbohydrates per slice, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. A loaf is denser than sliced white bread, weighing in at 850 grams, triple the weight of a normal loaf. Food writer Bianca London says the bread has a pleasant aroma, more depth of flavor than regular bread, and left her feeling full and satisfied. But at £5 ($7.64) a loaf, it would probably appeal only to a specialty market.
Bianca London, "The bread that can help you get fitter, not fatter: Loaf contains SEVEN TIMES as much protein as regular bread - and it's full of Omega 3 too", Daily Mail Online, July 29, 2013, © Associated Newspapers Ltd
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Vegan Mexican Dish Finds A Place On Chipotle’s Fast-Food Menu

July 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
It may be hard to believe, but the vegan culinary culture that shuns all animal products is inching its way into the world of fast food. Chipotle Mexican Grill, whose menu includes organic ingredients and naturally raised meats, is now selling vegan Sofritas in its restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia. The chain had been offering the item – basically shredded, organic tofu braised with chipotle chilies and roasted poblanos in burritos, tacos or bowls – only in California. If the $6.50 vegan dish is a hit, the company says it will it out across all of its 1,450 restaurants.
Bruce Horovitz, "Chipotle unwraps vegan burrito", USA TODAY, July 29, 2013, © USA TODAY
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Consumer Health Market Posts Impressive Growth In 2012, Forecast To Grow Even Bigger By 2017

July 29, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In 2012, the overall consumer health market reached approximately $197 billion in value, according to market research firm Euromonitor International. During the webinar “Consumer Health as a Prevention and Solution to the Chronic Disease Epidemic” held in Chicago, the company said over-the-counter drugs accounted for $94 billion of the total market value, with vitamins and dietary supplements worth $82 billion. Data also showed weight control products were valued at $13 billion and sports nutrition at $8 billion. These categories helped drive the overall consumer health market to grow by 11 percent in 2007–2012, with OTC drugs growing 6 percent; vitamins and supplements, 17 percent; weight management, 5 percent; and sports nutrition, 41 percent. By 2017, global vitamin and dietary supplement sales are forecast to grow by $14 billion, or about $4.5 billion more than the OTC segment, according to Euromonitor consumer health analyst Chris Schmidt.
Lisa Olivo, "Consumer Health Products: Accessible OTC Healthcare", Nutraceuticals World, July 29, 2013, © Rodman Media
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Fancy Food Show Trend Review: The Rise Of Convenience

July 25, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In this review of the Fancy Food Show, in New York June 30 - July 2, 2013, we look at the rise of convenience. Previously we looked at the rise of ancient grains and growing interested in sprouted grains.
 
New products, supporting literature and also rep comments at the show provided a lot of information as well as examples of manifestations of established trends, ranging from the rise of novel flavors, the push to healthier eating, artisanal production and more. A common theme is the ongoing demand for enhanced convenience. Here is a small selection of examples:
 
In May, Mediterranean Snacks launched a mini-meal line, tapaz2go, which combines their protein-rich Lentil Crackers with hummus. The individual package size is 3.6 oz. at a suggested retail price of $2.99 - $3.49, with shelf life of 300 days.  The mini-meals come in three flavors, Classic Hummus, Red Pepper Hummus and Roasted Garlic Hummus.
 
Vincent P. James, founder and CEO of The Mediterranean Snack Food Company said: ‘We are very excited about our tapaz2go innovation. There is significant research showing that protein in snacking is becoming more desirable, and tapaz2go provides a snack alternative that satisfies both the appetite and the demand for a nutritious, protein-rich mini meal. We are confident this line, which leverages culinary trends of legumes, tapas, and hummus, will be very well-received by a wide range of consumers.’
 
Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods continues to launch convenience foods that play to health-conscious consumers. Its most recent addition was its line of Asian Entrées – ‘platefuls of delicious Asian favorites like Pad Thai, Teriyaki, or Kung Pao Noodles or Indian Masala Lentil Rice Pilaf.’ The products are easy to prepare – just add water and microwave.  They are priced at $11.94 for a case of 6 (1.9 oz cup).
The company’s other recent products play to similar themes. Its Organic Cereal Big Cups are based on organic oatmeal and come in a range of flavors, including Hemp Peach Oatmeal Made With Organic Whole Grain Oats:
 
‘Indulge yourself with fresh summer peaches and organic oats every day. We've combined sun-sweetened peaches and nutritionally powerful, non-narcotic hemp seeds to create a taste that will have you craving more. This creamy, high-fiber breakfast also gives you a hefty dose of protein, Omega-3, and Omega-6 essential fatty acids for a nutritious start to your day. And it's all in a package that lets you customize the sweetness and sodium levels the way you like them.’
 
In a nice touch, the products contain brown sugar in a separate sachet so you can choose your sweetness. Its oatmeal cereals are priced online at $14.94 for case of 6 (3.0 oz cup).
 
It also has a range of four Quinoa Salad Cups with interesting flavors such as Curry Almond Brown & Wild Rice Salad:
 
Aromatic curry, sweet raisins, and crunchy almonds combine with a medley of brown and wild rice to make a delicious healthy snack or meal. Like all Dr. McDougall's Right Foods, this vegan cup meal contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.’
 
Priced online at $14.94 for a case of 6 (2.6 oz cup), they run with the claim ‘We’ve done the chopping and measuring for you.’
 
The Right Foods website claims that Dr. John McDougall is one of the‘founding fathers of natural wellness.  A best selling author and board-certified internist he has been writing and speaking about the effects of nutrition on health for over 30 years. ‘
The company states that Dr. McDougall’s Right Foods is the nation’s leading natural meal cup brand.
 
A nice idea, but perhaps one that assumes consumers are lazier than they are comes from LifeIce, ‘the first: All Natural, Freeze & Eat, Bite-Sized Ices’.
Essentially, LifeIce is a prepared pack of ready to freeze cubes. They offer four flavors, Berry Bite, Chocolate Crisp, Citrus Chomp and Green Grind. All at $6.99 online for 4 FL OZ, 2 trays totaling 48 cubettes.
 
LifeIce claims some health benefits. For instance, for its Berry Bite, it says:
 
‘Adding to the LifeIce power base of coconut water and agave, Berry Bite is jam packed with blueberries, blackberries, black currant and even the exotic Asian Superfruit, Yumberry. It’s a healthy frozen treat that nourishes and delights.’
 
LifeIce has a nice idea but there are few barriers to entry. They claim that ‘After two years of research and development, the ‘cubette’ was born’, but it’s hard to see how they can build a robust franchise on this.
 
With its ready-to-eat meals, GoPicnic is hoping to tap demand for convenience. GoPicnic first launched in November 2006 as a shelf-stable meal box solution to the costly fresh food service, available for purchase onboard major U.S. airlines. In January 2011, GoPicnic introduced eight new ready-to-eat boxed lunches for the retail market, which are available at nationwide grocery, specialty, and mass merchandise stores, as well as online.
 
The boxed lunches were featured at the show and may find traction. They certainly have some flavorful options (‘Gold Star Edamame Kale Dip & Plantain Chips’, anyone?), and are gluten-free, but the packaging looks tired and cluttered and on opening the package you’re greeted with an apparently random selection of five individually-wrapped food items. Kraft’s Lunchables, launched in 1988, dominate kids to-go lunches and it’s not clear who GoPicnic is targeting; the packaging would have little attraction to kids but the offering is too cluttered to appeal to adults. 
Business360 staff, "Fancy Food Show Review by Business360", Business360, July 25, 2013
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Fancy Food Show Trend Spotter: Sprouted Grains

July 25, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
As part of our review of the Fancy Food Show, in New York June 30 - July 2, 2013, we looked at the rise of ancient grains. A related trend is the use of sprouted grains, grains that have started the germination process. 
 
Sprouted grains – sprouts –are said to be rich in digestible energy, bioavailable vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and phytochemicals. In both the US and Europe there has been a series of outbreaks, so called "sproutbreaks,” associated with sprouts that have harmful bacteria, including salmonella and toxic forms of Escherichia coli. Guidelines and legislation have been introduced to address possible health issues but concerns remain.
 
At the show we noticed a couple of products touting sprouted grains:

With the header ‘Simply Sprouted,’ Way Better Snacks has a range of crackers, tortilla chips and pita chips that contain sprouted grains. Reps claim they are in the process of getting national distribution in the US and looking to expand to Europe (UK first) but shelf-life (they claim ~five months) is an issue.
 
Way Better Snacks is a division of Live Better Brands, Inc. and is a privately held company.
 
Emmy’s Organic is a young (~2008) NY-based company that ‘use the finest non-GMO ingredients in everything we make & biodegradable, earth-friendly resources for our packaging’. It has two products that use sprouted grains:
 
‘Our newest version of our amazing sprouted sunflower seeds! Crunchy, sweet and spicy, these are the perfect snack on the go, as a salad or soup topper. Soaked and sprouted sunflower seeds bursting with enzymes combined with the powers of organic raw coconut aminos, organic curry powder and himalayan salt. Topped with a little sweetness from our raw agave nectar. We use 100% organic sunflower seeds that are sprouted and dehydrated below 115 degrees to maintain the nutritional integrity & enzymatic properties naturally found in the food. Get spicy!’
 
‘Crunchy, delicious & flavorful! Our raw-coconut-aminos-seasoned sprouted sunflower seeds are the perfect snack for individuals on-the-go or try them as a salad topper. We use 100% organic raw coconut aminos, pure himalayan crystal salt & 100% organic raw sunflower seeds that are soaked, sprouted and dehydrated below 115 degrees to maintain the nutritional integrity & enzymatic properties naturally found in the food. You will love them!’
 
Also, it has a Sprouted Supercharged Cereal that was featured at the show but isn't mentioned on its website. It is launching this fall.
Business360 staff, "Business360 Comments", Business360, July 25, 2013
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Burger Buying At Fast-Casual Restaurants Is Trending Upward

July 25, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
America’s hunger for burgers is fueling growth in the category at fast-casual and other retail outlets, according to market researcher Technomic. But that hunger is evolving and changing, as consumers move from the sub-$1 format. They expect “something extra” when dining out, including burgers with quality ingredients and customer-chosen toppings or specialty preparations. Sixty-four percent say that the ability to customize burger toppings and condiments is important. Ninety-five percent of U.S. consumers say they buy at least one burger a month, while 49 percent said they buy burgers because they have “cravings”.
"New Technomic Report Examines Factors Driving High Burger Consumption", Technomic, July 25, 2013, © Technomic, Inc.
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Skinnygirl Introduces Liquid Sweeteners

July 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
The start-up company known mainly for its low-calorie alcoholic beverages targeted at women has launched a line of zero-calorie liquid sweeteners made with monk fruit, agave, and stevia. The concentrated sweeteners from Skinnygirl, founded by former Real Housewives of New York cast member Bethenny Frankel, are zero-calorie, gluten-free and carb-free. They come in 1.68 ounce bottles that contain 80-160 servings. The sweeteners are available nationwide in Walmart and other stores.
"Skinnygirl™ Makes Life a Little Sweeter by Launching Zero Calorie Stevia, Agave, and Monk Fruit Liquid Sweeteners", PRNewswire , July 24, 2013, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Convenience Stores Are Most Popular Source Of On-The-Go Snacks, NPD Reports

July 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In the United States, the 28 million people who eat a grab-and-go snack each day are five times more likely to buy their on-the-go snack from convenience stores, according to market research firm The NPD Group. Results of the SnackTrack study also showed these on-the-go snacks are 50 percent more likely to be eaten while traveling or in a car. Grab-and-go snacks account for 12 percent of snack-oriented convenience foods and are usually consumed between meals and do not replace meals. Data also revealed that young adults, ages 18 to 24 years, are most likely to consume these on-the-go snacks.
"Convenience Stores Five Times More Likely to Be Source for Grab-and-Go Snacks, Reports NPD", NPD, July 24, 2013, © The NPD Group, Inc
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Fancy Food Show Review: Ancient Grains

July 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Recently we attended the Fancy Food Show, ‘North America’s Largest Specialty Food & Beverage Event’, which was held in New York June 30 - July 2, 2013. The event includes 180,000 products including confections, cheese, coffee, snacks, spices, ethnic, natural, organic and more, with 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries and regions.
 
All the standard food business trends were in evidence at the show – rise of organic, healthier options, exotic and vibrant tastes, craft and artisanal food, convenience. This year the show was especially heavy on artisanal olive oils, sea salts and chips.
 
We went looking at a number of themes and trends and one thing we looked at was the ongoing rise of ancient grains. Here are a few things of interest we saw:
 
Ancient grains
Many brands and products mention ancient grains in their literature but the penetration of grains varies greatly. Some, like quinoa are entering the mainstream while others like teff, spelt or kamut, say, are much less commonplace. One product that at the show looked to be gaining traction is freekeh, being introduced alongside quinoa and used more widely as an ingredient. For example:
 
Under the tag ‘Nature’s Recipe for Well-Being,’ Freekehlicious offer Wholegrain Freekeh and Cracked Freekah.
 
Under the tag ‘ancient grains for modern times,’ Freekeh-Foods offers freekeh in three flavors: Original, Rosemary Sage & Tamari.
 
We did not notice any consumer products with freekeh but a web search shows some are emerging. Also, the rep at Freekehlicious believes that freekeh is the ‘new quinoa,’ given the benefits it offers and relative ease of using it compared to other ancient grains.
 
Chia Pod
Australia-based Chia Company is pushing the benefits of the ancient grain chia that was originally grown in South America. Chia seeds were first used as food as early as 3500 BC and were one of the main dietary components of the Aztecs and the Mayans. It is the richest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fiber, protein and antioxidants.
 
It recently launched Chia Pod:
 
‘…a world first innovation. Dairy free and vegan, each 6oz Chia Pod® has been cold processed to retain the raw nutrition, taste and color of the fruit. The innovative single serve pack contains a custom designed spoon inside the lid. The lid, spoon and cup are 100% recyclable.’
 
The Chia Co products are now available throughout stores in Australia, New Zealand and the USA; since June 2013 Chia Pods have been available at Wholefoods in the USA.
Business360 staff, "Fancy Food Show Review by Business360", Business360 Comment, July 24, 2013
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Food Technologists Choose pH Value As Main Technical Challenge In Using Natural Colors

July 24, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
With more and more food companies responding to consumer demands by using natural colorings for their products, food coloring specialist D.D. Williamson wondered what food technologists felt was the key technical challenge presented by the trend. Polling 41 technologists at the recent IFT Food Expo, DDW found that 34 percent cited pH value as the main challenge affecting the stability of coloring. The participants, all of whom held technical positions, also cited (in descending order of importance) heat, light, distribution or storage, interaction with other components, and solubility as challenges to using natural food colorings.
"Poll suggests pH is key challenge for natural coloring", News release, DDW , July 24, 2013, © D.D. Williamson
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New Breakfast Cereal Rich In Protein, Fiber And Antioxidants “Challenges” The Cereal Industry

July 22, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
ViSalus has introduced a high-protein, high-fiber breakfast cereal that “challenges” cereals high in sugar, fat and salt. Vi Crunch cereal servings contain 12 grams of protein, five grams of prebiotic fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants (from grape seeds and rosemary extract) and only three grams of sugar. The company says it is challenging the breakfast cereal industry “by offering a nutritionally dense cereal that tastes great without ingredients that have a detrimental impact on human health."
"ViSalus® Puts The "Real" In Cereal With Vi Crunch™ Protein Super Cereal And Vi Crunch™ Fusions Flavor Toppings", News release, ViSalus, July 22, 2013, © ViSalus
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Food Companies Should Develop Functional Foods That Inhibit Abnormal Blood Vessel Growth

July 17, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Many drugs on the market are used to inhibit the abnormal growth of blood vessels that promote disease, obesity and inflammation. But there are also a wide variety of natural “anti-angiogenic” foods that accomplish the same thing. Among them are tomatoes, green tea, garlic, broccoli, dark chocolate, turmeric, tuna and olive oil. This should inspire food companies to participate in the “new frontier in dietary health” because there is a “clear global demand” for functional foods that provide health benefits beyond what is provided by their nutritive content, according to a nutrition scientist at General Mills.
"The New Frontier: Creating and Marketing Food Products that Prevent Disease and Obesity", News release, presentation at the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists, July 17, 2013, © Institute of Food Technologists
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