TrendWire is an email newsletter distributed to food professionals to alert them to news and trends.
More people than ever are interested in their overall health, and restaurants and food producers are getting the message. Here’s what’s ahead.
- Less is better. In increasing numbers, people are ditching the “more is better” mentality and realizing that often less is better, especially if the quality is higher. We’ll watch portion sizes continue to shrink in restaurants, even as prices stay steady. Consider the “Right Size Right Price” menu at TGI Friday’s and the Sweet Shot desserts at Chili’s.
- Increased snacking. People are beginning to eat smaller portions more often. Continue to watch for new menu items geared to snacking. Think the McDonald’s Snack Wrap, the KFC Snacker, and the new Quizno’s Sammies as examples.
- Healthier formulations of menu items. For example, Starbucks has announced it will put a skinny latte on the menu. Many of us have ordered our favorite coffee drinks “sugar free, fat free” for years; now it will be an official menu item. Jack in the Box announced a new Smart Choice logo program to identify healthy menu options.
- Increased interest in whole grains. One area on which many food companies will continue to focus product development dollars is whole grains. People will continue to watch and count the number of servings of whole grains they’re getting daily, and smart food producers will make this easier for them.
- Appreciation for heart-healthy foods. Among other heart-healthy foods, consumers are paying attention to Omega-3 fatty acids (which lower your risk of heart disease) in things such as flaxseed oil and salmon.
- Continued interest in antioxidants. People are aware of and interested in the benefits of antioxidants in their diets. They’re looking to familiar fruits (such as blackberries and blueberries) and exotics (such as aÃ§aÃ, mangosteens, and pomegranates) to help them meet their daily needs.
- Attack on HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup). Some experts believe that this widely used sweetener is the next “trans fat,” meaning it’s the next component of the American diet to be monitored, reduced, and eventually removed from many of the foods we eat. In the same way many companies reformulated their systems to use trans fat-free oils, look for some to follow suit by substituting new sweeteners for this metabolism-altering one.
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