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  • Natalie Rouse

Food and nutrition trends which should be on your radar...

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Future Foods' Technology and Market Researcher, Natalie Rouse, shares with us her top ten food and nutrition trends taking centre stage...

Do you ever wonder what we will be buying and eating a few years from now? In 2018 we saw a rise in gut-friendly foods and booze-free beverages. But what trends are taking place in 2019? Food trends come and go, but cost continues to be the key driving factor for influencing purchases. Other key factors driving consumer choice following cost are;

  1. Taste is KING: Regardless to any other factor, taste drives purchase power

  2. Convenience: On the go nutrition has been indicated by busy schedules have driven the need to find nutrient packed foods that can be purchased and eaten on the go. The raise of the complete meal powder and RTD have encapsulated the convenience and nutritionally rich delivery but for many falls short on the taste and enjoyment factor.

  3. Health: Consumers value health, with 75% of consumers aiming to improve their health status, yet only 13% select food purely for its perceived or claimed health benefits. Parents with primary school aged children are the consumers influenced the most by the claims of improved health or intelligence. Whereas, 16-35yr old consumers are the largest users of sports style ‘active’ nutrition, such as whey powders, protein bars and nootropics.

“Some of the leading themes for 2019-2020 which we are starting to see include; Sustainability, Environmental, Transparency, Nostalgia and Identity (self and social)" - Natalie Rouse, Future Foods.

But what are the current food and nutrition trends we should be taking note of? Here are our list of our top 11 Food Trends in 2019.

1. Plant based milk alternatives:

The plant based tend continues to be at the forefront of the nutritional market trend. Consumers are demanding to not only have a plant-based alternative for vegans and those with allergies but also a suitable alternative for all dietary models, that is sustainable and locally sourced. Plant based milks have been well received with almond and coconut making the largest market presence to date, however the environmental impact of almond and coconut production has raised questions to its sustainability. Therefore, the opening for growth in oat and pea milk drinks has gained great interest and momentum in market.

2. High protein snacking:

High protein snacks have continued to move from sports driven nutrition to all mainstream markets. Protein intake increases satiety, muscle preservation and has a lower blood sugar response. These attributes have spurred protein to be the macronutrient of choice. The growth in both animal and plant based snacking markets are showing growth, spanning cured dried meats, plant-based snacks, nuts and seed snacks and bars. The drive to increase the variety of plant-based protein has become a priority to accommodate the growing vegan and flexitarian consumers. Plant based protein alternatives have seen jackfruit, flava bean, potatoes, lentil and peas emerge as potential protein alternatives for a wide range of snacking goods. The use of potatoes as an alternative to whey protein concentrate has seen a keen uptake in commercially available meal replacement powders and RTD’s.

3. Seaweed and algae:

The use of seaweed has not been a new venture, but the interest of seaweed and algae has attracted the attention of broader markets, than traditional uses, such as in powder supplements and as sushi wraps. The natural abundance of micronutrients; iodine and omega3 fatty acids lends seaweed to be a great addition to all diets, but especially vegan. The developmental areas see seaweed as an alternative to spreads, noodles, dried snacks and jerkies. Algae is exciting due to its potential as an alterative protein, stabiliser, additive and highly nutritious additive that has a low environment impact.

4. Microgreen from CEA:

Microgreens grown in controlled environment agriculture (CEA) have developed specific crops combinations to yield high nutrient dense salad toppings, greens smoothies and encapsulate greens. As CEA is rapidly developing the access to fresh produce all year round, reducing the need to use pesticides and reducing the risk of contamination to water supplies from chemical run-off from soil. Whilst CEA is far from being limited to microgreens it is the control and fast turnover of the nutrient dense crops that will be a big player in the health markets, for home and industrial applications. The plants can be grown in any space, from warehouses to small kitchen units at home, in shipping containers to abandoned underground spaces.

5. Personalised nutrition:

Personalised nutrition takes dietary guidelines based generic planning to specifically tailored nutrient intake to complement an individual genome. Personalised nutrition can also be optimised to address larger scale non-communicable disease such as T2DM and CHD and to combat malnutrition in those with digestive diseases such as Crohns and Colitis. Personal nutrition can benefit all populations, already being well received by sports men and women, active and rehabbing military personnel. Advances in technology to monitor physiological changes such as, metabolism, activity levels and nutrient demands, can improve individual health status, quality of life and reduce food wastage.

6. Indulgent treats:

The demand for new taste experiences is driving the market to produce delicious indulgences. By combining botanicals, extracts, spices and adding new twists to old favourites. This is one trend where health isn’t the focus, purely dictated by tastes and textures. This is a stand away from mass produced products that are void of character and soul. This trend sits within the notion of having a truly relaxing experience that can be shared with loved ones for sheer enjoyment and pleasure.

7. Ketogenic diets:

The ketogenic diet is not a new diet: high fat, low carb and moderate protein, shifting the body into ketosis. Historically used to manage epilepsy in children. The ketogenic diet has been building steady momentum from the early 2000’s. The strictness of the diet can at first be viewed as negative, however the followers of the diet report that the clear parameters are a positive to aid the adherence and ease to make food choice. Keto has also seen a shift to the ‘keto-vegan’; this may appear to contradict terms, but increased availability of plant-based protein and plant-based fats lend the diet to be followed with considered planning. There is a demand for increased variety of keto-vegan labelled foods.

8. Vegetables boxes – delivered and shop bought:

The desire to have fresh food delivered to the door has been steadily increasing and a welcomed greengrocer nostalgia. Having seasonal produce delivered eases health adherence. To accompany these boxes may companies are adding information cards to describe the varieties, seasonality and recommended usage of the foods contained. Within supermarkets food boxes have also appeared on the shelfs, a Morrisons (1kg produce box for £1.00) and Lidl (5kg produce box for £1.50), containing a variety of fruit and ‘wonky’ veg.

9. Fermented foods:

Fermentation has been accredited to enhance gut flora, aid digestion, rebalance the bodies pH and enhance mental health. Commonly fermented food and drinks indicted health but failed to deliver on taste and enjoyment. Asian and African fermented foods and fermentation techniques have been welcomed by western interest. Kefir, kombucha, and kimchi have been well received by millennials who are seeking flavoursome options to probiotics and digestive enzymes. There has also seen a growth in home pickling, preserving and extracting ferments for both their health and taste attributes; by mixing botanicals and flavour extracts the market can encompass food & drink and functional foods markets.

10. Cannabinol (CBD):

The great interest in CBD has been propelled by the reported health benefits and therapeutic properties. CBD has demonstrated beneficial for treating inflammation and anxiety, in both anecdotal and lab studies. CBD is extracted from the cannabis sativa plant, and free from psychoactive effects. Now in many health stores the intrigue from all demographics has led CBD to be used in a wide range of products such as infused tonics, confectionary and oil sprays. The continued curiosity and growth of CBD has been heightened by the legalisation of cannabis farming for medicinal purposes.

11. Ancient grains:

The shift from the familiar over processed, refined grains have seen a demand to back ancient grains, demonstrated by consumer uptake of chia and quinoa. Ancient grains are perceived as a healthier alternative to conventional grains. Ancient grains include Teff, Einkorn, Millet and Spelt, bringing revived flavours, new textures and stories of origin. Ancient grains spark ethnic nostalgia. Ancient grains present less allergenic reactions and intolerance to that of wheat and corn. Ancient grains can be added to salads or used as an alternative to home favourites such as pizza bases, in bakes and breads. Kellogg’s, Del Monte Foods and Mondelez have also backed the ancient grain trend.

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