While huge shifts in food trends aren’t expected in 2016 according to NPD Group food and beverage industry analyst Darren Seifer, there is one word that stands out for consumers – “no.”
In recent food packaging news, according to Seifer, consumers are moving more toward clean ingredient labels than ever before. Consumers desire food in the purest form possible, foods that have no additives, growth hormones, or preservatives.
Saturated and unhealthy fats were once the “demons” in the food world; now, consumers are looking at added sugars in an entirely new light. Consumers are developing an aversion to table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Seifer said that approximately 66% of adults desire to completely avoid sugars or cut down on them in their diets. Even though the meaning of the term “natural” in foods is debatable, consumers will continue their quest for foods they feel are natural and free of potentially harmful ingredients.
Consumers have differing views when it comes to what natural actually means. Some consider foods that are not highly processed as natural, while others prefer foods that are locally sourced. One food trend surprisingly stuck out in the research; however, and that is that some expect to see more fried chicken on restaurant menus this year, primarily because of consumers’ love of hot, spicy dips and the fact that fried chicken is the ideal vehicle for these sauces.
As consumers become increasingly aware of what’s in the foods they eat and what they want to avoid, no doubt companies will focus more on clean labels and eliminating those ingredients consumers view as unhealthy, such as added sugars, preservatives, etc.
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