Health, Budget Concerns to Drive Food Flavor and Ingredient Market in 2011

Consumer thriftiness and health-​consciousness will continue to exert a notable influence over the food and beverage ingredient and flavor trends to emerge in 2011, according to "Food Flavors and Ingredients Outlook in 2011," by market research publisher Packaged Facts. 

"Heading into 2011, consumers are growing evermore weary of economic and nutritional health gloom and doom.  Many have spent the last few years reinventing their financial and employment lives, and are now starting to focus more emphasis on their overall wellbeing and happiness in a way that is reflective of their values, being more pragmatic and deliberate in making decisions about how to spend both their time and their resources," says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts.

Packaged Facts believes food marketers, from the retail and foodservice sectors, will take that consumer mindset to heart in 2011. Some of the key trends Packaged Facts forecasts to hit it big in 2001 are:

  • Flavors From Around the Globe – Ethnic food will remain a bright spot for foodservice and retailers, providing variety and interest without taxing smaller food budgets. The growing presence of food trucks, with their varied ethnic fare at reasonable prices, will bring this national trend home to the local level.
  • Sustainability Trumps Local, Organic and Natural – Local, organic and natural foods will more often be connected with eco–friendliness and a more holistic lifestyle approach to eating that promotes sustainability.  As a result, Packaged Facts predicts that there will be greater use of natural, organic, local and antibiotic and hormone–free ingredients at quick serve restaurants (QSRs) and fast casual restaurants in 2011.  At retail, the popularity of private label organic products is anticipated to continue while growth in directly marketed local and organic produce, meats and locally processed foods sold via farmers’ markets and community-​supported agriculture (CSA) is anticipated.
  • Wellness Overhaul – Packaged Facts anticipates that food will get more attention as the foundation of health, and wellness activities will be better integrated into overall lifestyle. Growing recognition that digestive health is a key link in promoting overall good health will help drive sales of yogurt and other foods containing probiotics, but gluten-​free foods will likely show signs of slowing down after a year of explosive growth that some might consider to be a fad.
  • Plethora of Produce – Vegetables, more so than fruit, will take on added importance in 2011 as they move to the center of the plate. More fine–dining restaurants are starting to focus on vegetables as the main attraction, with either no accompanying meat, or used sparingly, as a condiment to accentuate flavor. Look for considerable menu experimentation with taste palates developing to savor a broad array of produce, with the likes of turnips, parsnips, black and purple kale, broccoli, spigarello, Romanesco, eggplant, celeriac, and sunchokes becoming more commonplace.
  • Flavor & Ingredient Crossovers – A key trend will be even more two–directional crossover of savory ingredients into sweet foods and sweet ingredients into savory foods. For example, Packaged Facts expects the use of olive oil to extend into a wide range of desserts and sweet goods including ice cream and gelato, cake and muffins.
  • Satisfying Sweets – Packaged Facts anticipates that agave will surrender some of its sweetening prominence to less exotic but always special honey as stevia still gains ground at a slower pace. Figs, pears, cherries and blackberries look likely to be the most popular fruits, along with the superfruit combination of blueberry and pomegranate. America’s appreciation of artisanal and retro desserts is expected to continue in 2011 with home–made pie and ice cream showing a great deal of creativity.
[Source:  Food Flavors and Ingredients Outlook in 2011.  Packaged Facts.  11 Jan. 2011.  Web.  17 Jan. 2011.]