‘Tis the season of food trends. So you’ll be hearing a lot from me about emerging trends as we approach the New Year.
Here’s a look at the top food trends for 2010 identified by Phil Lempert, aka the Supermarket Guru.
- Private label evolution. Consumer acceptance and purchasing of less expensive store brands are at an all-time high. Lempert predicts that the major food companies will fight back with new strategies, such as co-branded products and partnerships with retailers.
- 1960s are back! Perhaps it’s the influence of the popular show Mad Men, but the spotlight seems to be on those 76 million baby boomers who grew up in an era where the Don and Betty Drapers were the role models. The show has sparked an entire range of Mad Men products, including Eight-O-Clock Coffee’s free Mad Men eCards. Look for ’60s iconic food brands to be updated with a new ingredient profile and more flavor to meet the nutrition desires and needs, along with the dimensioned taste buds of the aging boomer. Look for less carbonated soft drinks and more vitamin enriched everything.
- Food sense. People want to know where their food comes from and with the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), shoppers are learning more than they ever expected, especially in the meat case. Labels on meat that list more than one country are prompting consumer questions and concerns. Lempert predicts that the hot trend of 2010 will be the re-emergence of the local butcher (within supermarkets and as free-standing shops) where shoppers will go, select the cuts of meat they prefer and have it ground on demand.
- The power of the collective. It’s a new world of “word-of-mouth” recommendations using the latest technologies: mobile devices, mommy bloggers, Twitter and house parties. The shopper in 2010 will depend less on advertising and more on social networking and killer apps to help them make their decisions on where to eat and what foods to buy.
- Cute and cleavage is out. Even though the Food Network has relied on hot looking female and male chefs, Lempert said that’s so last year. With the success of Julie & Julia and the closing of Gourmet, we’re now moving back to substance over glitz. It’s time for the food to be the star, Lempert said, which is what today’s shoppers believe it should be.
- Comfort food transforms into relaxation foods. Instead of the “psychology” of comfort foods, brands are coming out with “relaxation” products with herbs and other ingredients designed to relax or put you to sleep. Products like the iChill Relaxation Shot may be the replacements for Vitamin Water and Gatorade, Lempert suggests. He believes this trend will move to other categories including “anti-energy” bars, snack foods and even spawn a resurgence of calming after-dinner drinks that you can enjoy at home.
- Less is more. The food industry realizes that by using “real foods” and shorter ingredient lists that they’re creating healthier products that consumers want. Brands that illustrate this trend include Haagen-Dazs Five, Healthy Choice All Naturals, Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Campbell’s Select Harvest.