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Top Five Food Trends for 2018

Here's a big surprise: A new study reported in a news article in Candy Industry magazine reveals that seven in 10 consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. actually want to know what's in their food -- and that four in 10 want to be sure it's healthy -- before they buy it.

Who da thunk it?

“The increasingly thoughtful and mindful consumer will continue to catalyze changes in the way that companies produce, package and label their products,” says the report from Innova Marketing Insights.

Food producers and manufacturers have been aware of this trend for some time now, and better-for-you claims continue to rise, with such products boosting market penetration from 42 percent in 2012 to 49 percent in 2017. In addition, increased interest in ethical issues have propelled the use of ethical claims for food and drink new product development, resulting in a compound annual growth rate of 44 percent over the 2011-2016 period.

Bottom line: We want to know what's in the food. We want to understand the ingredient list. We want it to be healthy. And, we are concerned about sustainability and ethical issues.

The other four key trends for the year, according to Innova Marketing Insights are:

2. Lighter Enjoyment. Lightness in terms of alcohol content, sweetness, flavor, texture or even portion size is increasing its appeal, although not at the expense of familiarity, high quality and indulgent taste.

3. Positively Processed. Consumers have become more concerned about naturalness and minimal processing techniques, so the industry is reviving traditional processes like fermented foods and cold brew tea and coffee, as new processes are developed.

4. Going Full Circle. The notion of closing the circle is taking hold as consumers expect companies and brands to be more resource-smart, such as tip-to-tail eating, innovative uses for food waste and more biodegradable and renewable packaging.

5. Beyond the Coffeehouse. While coffee is clearly trending among Millennial and Generation Z consumers, tea also is focusing on the younger generations. With the taste and experiential associations of coffee and the healthy image of tea, the industry is increasingly using coffee and tea as ingredients and flavors outside the hot drinks and iced tea and coffee sub-categories across a wide variety of products as varied as energy bars, yogurt and jam.

Meanwhile, as I write this, we're getting ready for left over fried chicken and cole slaw. Not sure this fits any of the above conditions! Oh well.

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