Fresh, local and natural still lead the trends in food choices.
By NACS Online // December 13, 2018
For the second consecutive year, FullTilt Marketing of Orlandohas surveyed food bloggers nationwide to get their thoughts on what food trends are most relevant and how those trends shape America’s mealtime reality.
“When it comes to consumer trends, food bloggers offer a unique perspective,” said Heidi McIntyre, FullTilt managing partner. “They are constantly monitoring the responses to their recipe posts, engaging with followers and keeping tabs on other food bloggers, which gives them an edge in understanding consumer preferences.”
In addition to food trends, FullTilt also looked at meal planning and shopping behaviors in response to the dynamic grocery marketplace. Here’s what they found:
Whole and fresh:The demand for fresh, non-processed food continues to be important. The fewer the ingredients, the better.
Locally grown:How and where food is produced remains a top trend. According to Packaged Facts, a food industry research organization, that translates into sales. Local food sales are expected increase to $20 billion in 2019, outpacing the country’s total food and beverage sales growth.
Whole 30 is not just for crossfitters:Specialty diets and healthy meals ranked a close second and third among bloggers in importance. Health & Science reports that 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and the majority of households have at least one member on a specialty diet. This indicates that specialty diets like Whole 30, keto and paleo will continue to be popular.
Food bowls are out; comfort is in:Last year’s smoothie bowls and food bowls are fading from memory. Basics, such as pickling and fermenting, are on the rise. Comfort food will be influenced by street food and global flavors, such as curry, pad Thai and masala.
Added ingredients and “not natural” are concerns:When asked about food worries, bloggers showed increased concerns about what is in the food they consume. This year, there was a near double increase in concern over added ingredients followed by increased concern over GMOs.
“It’s not surprising to see growing consumer awareness about the food they eat, especially related to where it’s from, who grew it/made it, and what’s in it,” commented Melinda Goodman; managing partner at FullTilt. “Today’s consumer has access to more information than ever before and we are entering a new era of consciousness that has consumers considering a holistic view of health, wellness and even community and economic impact.”
For the first time, bloggers were asked to share how their shopping habits have changed. The majority reported doing more shopping online and at least a third of bloggers reported shopping both more stores and more value formats. Bloggers who often recommend products to their readers indicated a step back from national brands, with 70% purchasing more local, specialty and craft brands and half reporting buying more private-label products.
While 72% of bloggers said they felt brands were doing a better job of being more transparent, those results came with a healthy dose of skepticism. Bloggers commented that they also felt that transparency was cloaked in telling them what they wanted to hear.