Market research firm Packaged Facts released a new report on Monday titled “US Food Market Outlook 2018,” which identified five key food trends that are expected to grow through 2022. According to the report, everyday foods that are innovated to include health benefits are expected to become more popular in the coming years.
The market research firm identified these five trends from researching 14 food and retail categories and they acknowledged these food innovations as intriguing opportunities for food companies.
Large-scale cereal manufacturers have been seen developing new varieties of health-focused cereals or adding healthy ingredients to popular cereal brands. According to Packaged Facts, cereal companies will focus more on nutritional ingredients and enhancing the health benefits of their products. Marketers are also looking into repositioning cereal beyond breakfast as a food that can be consumed at any time of the day.
Emphasis on chocolate as “food” not “candy”
Chocolate has always been a fan favorite, but with consumers looking for heathier food and snack options, the confectionary is finding its way into the health foods category.
“Chocolate companies are increasingly jumping on the better-for-you snacking trend, which leverages frequency of snacking by Americans with a balanced approach to nutrition that explores realistic options rather than a more dogmatic philosophy that forbids snacks or sweets altogether,” said David Sprinkle, Research Director for Packaged Facts.
According to Packaged Facts, the key to finding success in the chocolatey health food category is to incorporate healthy ingredients without sacrificing the unique taste of chocolate.
E-commerce market for meal and snack bars deepens
As online shopping becomes more prominent in the grocery industry, the sales of meal and snack bars are expected to transition online as well. Currently, most meals and snack bars are sold in brick-and-mortar stores, but with the convenience of e-commerce grocery and delivery services becoming more prevalent, this category is expected to grow online as well.
Major companies like Kellogg’s and General Mills have already invested in growing their portfolio of nutrition bars because of their rising popularity in the consumer market.
The continued evolution of cheese
Though the market for dairy products is experiencing competition from dairy-alternative beverages, Packaged Facts identified the cheese segment as a growing, yet evolving, sector in the food industry. Consumers are looking for healthier cheese options that are low-in-fat and sodium but are fresh and organically sourced. In response, manufacturers are producing low-fat, portable cheese products that are portion controlled and complement the busy lifestyles of today’s consumers. Other companies like Yooli Foods are innovating the cheese category by producing scoopable cheese cups and cheese bars.
Packaged Facts predicts more cheese innovations will be introduced in the coming years.
Bread baked for digestive health
A quarter of American adults seek of probiotic-rich foods when grocery shopping. This spike in probiotic product sales is a because consumers are more aware of the health benefits associated with consuming bacterial cultures. However, the trend has led to a lot of saturation in the dairy probiotics segment. This is leading food manufacturers to invest in new probiotic innovations such as fermented teas and bread products.
Packaged Facts identified Orlando Baking’s True Grains as one the first companies to introduce probiotic bread products. In partnership with the Cleveland Clinic’s “Go! Well for Healthy Eating” initiative, Orlando Baking developed their probiotic True Grains Seed’licious bread products with probiotic cultures, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and millet.
Another company innovating baked products with probiotics is Farm & Oven. Their vegetable-based cookies were introduced in fall of last year and are said to be probiotic dense and contain 40 percent of the recommended daily vegetable intake per serving.
These food innovation trends are expected to continue to grow within their categories.