Top (missing) food industry trends for 2014
The media has been focused on recapping the previous year as they do each January. I have never been clear if this is to point out the cleverness and accuracy of forecasters from the previous year or to say "what on earth were we all thinking." Perhaps both. But what I find is not in short supply this year is 2014 trends forecast Top 10 Lists. I have come across 168 and at the same time last year there were just 146 posted. Is 2014 just so predictable that everyone has an opinion or are we just so glad 2013 is over and we are happy to look forward?
With that said there are several holes I have noticed in the predictions put forth so far so I offer a few more – some obvious, some not — to round things out a bit.
The Unmentioned Top 10 (OK – 11)
- Foods & Flavors – Low country and Appalachian comes in on coat tails of Deep South. Brazilian food steals spotlight from Peruvian cuisine.
- Foods & Flavors – Beverage – Scandinavian & honey beers, drinkable grains, tea cocktails, farm to glass.
- Foods & Flavors (Bonus) – Creepy crawlers, invasivors, and killers shine. Think oysters, crickets, agave worms, honeypot ants, cicadas, puffer fish (fugu), raw baby octopus (sannakji), lion fish, foraging (is that really an edible mushroom?), etc. Ties to fearlessness and global cuisine interests.
- Consumer – The budget conscience consumer will demand luxury and "value" will be defined as the best quality for the money. In other words - if they value an item, they will justify the cost.
- Consumer – My favorite – fearlessness continues to gain ground! This has birthed in the travel and wine scene. Adventure in food and flavor is back, comfort food is out. Think regionally/culturally authentic or tie the foods and flavors to a time in history. Knowing a food's origins is key to consumers.
- Health – Cognitive function research – specifically development and decline. Sorry Gen Y and Xer's this one focuses on the Boomers, WWII, and Swing Gen, and Gen Z. Think focus, memory, depression, sleep and stress behaviors.
- Health – Elimination diets – any diet which vilify a single food or food group(s) attract more immediate attention from medical and dietetic professionals to correct false or misleading health information. Whole food diets supported.
- Technology – GMO technology used to enhance vegetable, fruit, legumes, grains and others to boost nutritional content or eliminate allergens.
- Technology – Vending is hot, hot, hot. Whether the machine is talking to you, offering suggestions on your next beverage purchase, making you a pizza in real time, or sending out Wi-Fi signals, it has no equal.
- Government – FDA voices opinion on frivolous lawsuits directed at industry – "natural," GMO, etc.
- Government – FDA addresses energy beverages and sweeteners – labeling and marketing issues primarily focused on kids.
I have already sabered champagne, played board games with Gen Z and watched the holiday pounds melt away as spring approaches! So a late "cheers" to the baby New Year.
Suzy Badaracco / Suzy Badaracco is a toxicologist, chef, and registered dietitian. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminalistics, an Associates degree in Culinary Arts, and a Masters of Science degree in Human Nutrition.