Food Trends and Consumer Marketing

California was a buzz with food industry events last week. Between RFA (Refrigerated Foods Association), Southern California IFT Suppliers Night, and Natural Products Expo West; California was the place to be to see what is coming to the food space in the next year.

Natural Products Expo West gives you a micro glimpse at all the new products and marketing of both major food brands and innovate start-ups. As in years past, there was an abundance of new products and new variations of favorite brands. There were 5 top trends that seemed to stand out this year.

1.     Healthy Indulgence: “better for you” was the marketing buzz of choice at the show. Gone are the days of flavorless fat-free desserts. These are indulgent foods with just a kick of “good”.

2.     Functional Water: water with this and water without that, water with added benefits is all the rage.

3.     Tropical Fruit: from dragonfruit, to coconut, and acai – frozen, fresh or as a flavor; tropical fruit is working its way into all sorts of products.

4.     Sustainability: sustainable agriculture, sustainable production, sustainable packaging. If you can’t produce it without being a determinate to the environment, consumers don’t want it.

5.     Free From: it’s becoming less about what’s in your product and more about what’s not. GMO free, gluten free, and free from synthetic preservatives arebecoming common front of the package claims.

What’d we miss? With thousands of exhibitors and hundreds of new products it’s impossible to get to everything. What was your take away from the show? What are you expecting for the next year?