The year is still young enough to look at food trend predictions for 2016. Euromonitor, an international research firm, came out with its top trends for this year and included a food section. It’s expecting to see what it terms “Greener Food,” by which it means,
“More of us will be eating greener. More people will care about cutting down on food waste in and beyond the home, try harder to avoid unhealthy food and overeating and be keener on more natural, local and seasonal food. More of us will consider cheaper food past its best before date and shop in retail chains selling it. And even fast food is getting greener,” writes Euromonitor analyst Daphne Kasriel-Alexander.
People will accept uglier food than in the past, in other words blemished fruits and vegetables that Americans seem loathe to pick up in a supermarket, in order to cut food waste, she reasons.
Regarding locavores, she says they’re here to stay, at least in 2016. “Consumers are prioritising [British spelling] locally grown, seasonal food for environmental, thrift, freshness and health reasons. Shopping nearer home in smaller retail formats, such as convenience stores and smaller branches of supermarkets, and buying street food are both sustained trends'” she writes.
There’s even hope for fast food. Meanwhile fast-food operators are responding to demands from customers who want healthier options, such as antibiotic-free meat. McDonald’s, the largest fast food chain in the world, is pledging that chicken served in its US restaurants will be free of antibiotics used in humans within two years, amid customer perceptions that its food is unhealthy,” she writes.
The Food and Drug Administration is accepting comments until February on what the term natural should be, she writes. This could turn into one of the most bruising battles in U.S. food history, I think, since companies use the term with no clear-cut definition of it right now. Processors are not going to quietly accept limits on using natural, a marketing powerhouse word for them.
Disclosure: I worked for Euromonitor competitor Mintel for two years, heading up its North American food and beverage research report-writing team.