Nov 10, 2017

Is the nation changing to healthy eating? Our top seven fastest growing healthy food trends for 2018.

In today’s digital age, information is being distributed at extraordinary rates. The public’s increasing knowledge of the world around them has caused major shifts in the way people think about everything, especially what they eat and drink. This means Research & Development is one of the top priorities for food businesses, as they constantly compete to produce market-leading products.

One of the great things about being in the thick of the food industry is looking out for the upcoming trends. Some proving to be very successful, some one-minute wonders. We have seen products like purple cauliflower, vegetable spaghetti, protein drinks and more recently, prompted by Brexit, a revival of local British food and ingredients as consumer’s look to support British farmers.

So, is the nation changing to healthy eating? £62m was spent on almond milk in 2016, which was a 32% increase from the previous year. Avocado sales reached an astounding £187m and saw a 28% increase. You can also see a growing demand for convenient, on-the-go and single serve options, which highlights the need for brand owners accommodating for the more active consumer lifestyles.

We spoke to some of our consultants who gave us their thoughts on the top seven fastest growing health food trends for 2018. Here’s what they said…

The Trends

1. Organic and Plant-based Protein products.

“Protein is, of course, a very important part of any diet, especially for those who live an active and healthy lifestyle. However, as more and more people become increasingly conscious on what they put in their bodies, consumers are looking away from dairy and meat as a source of protein and are beginning to see the surprising health benefits of getting your protein from plants. Over the last few years, we have seen a rise in the popularity of Organic and Plant-Based protein products like Nut Butters, Quinoa, Lentils, and Beans.

Something new to look out for in 2018 is Jackfruit, a fruit you are able to shred and has a similar texture to pulled pork, perfect for tacos and barbecue meals.  Another product to look out for is Pea Protein Brownies! Check out the brand Pulsin, they do Mint Chocolate Chip flavour which is amazing!”

2. Sustainability.

“I think as a nation we need to zero in on eliminating food waste. The amount of food wasted not only in food manufacturing but in supermarkets and restaurants too is at a colossal level. Going into 2018, food manufacturers will adopt a new production line strategy to offer a wide range of processing technologies helping tackle the environmental issues. As for the supermarkets, we have seen ‘ugly fruit’ become a thing as they try to cut down on food waste too.”

3. Street Food.

“Living in Edinburgh, you are spoilt for choice with the number of restaurants around every corner. I’m someone who is very passionate about food so discovering these is always really fun. One thing I have noticed is the growing number of street food vendors offering a choice of cuisine from all around the world and the supermarkets have begun to capitalise on this popularity. Middle Eastern, South American and South East Asian themed food is available to us in abundance. We all love experiencing different cultures food so having the option to do this at the dinner table is becoming extremely popular. One spice which starting to make its mark in the health food industry is Turmeric, which also has added health benefits due to its anti-inflammatory properties.”

4. Fresh Meal Kits

“For me, Fresh Meal Kits are the number one trend to look out for in 2018. The consumer will always want something convenient when choosing their dinner, yet they still want to eat healthily and preferring not to go for the processed ready meals. Meal Kits are perfect for this as they are fresh, prepped and ready to cook.

Available in Waitrose look out for brands like Scratch Meals with their Chicken Pad Thai Noodles and Vietnamese Stir Fry. And check out Gusto too, they deliver recipes with all the fresh ingredients straight to your door.”

5. Water

“This year we saw the sales of water overtake fizzy drinks for the first time ever in the UK. The coconut water trend to continues to dominate the supermarkets with the likes of ASDA and Aldi doing their own varieties.  But it’s not going to stop there, keep your eyes peeled for other mineral-rich, plant-based waters with numerous health benefits. Watermelon water, cactus water, Aloe Vera water, these are all products that offer lower calories, natural sugars and lower levels of sodium whilst keeping a great flavour.”

6. Puffed Crisps

“Who doesn’t love crisps? Food businesses have recognised that crisps will always be one of the top contenders in the snack department and with new ways of processing and combining ingredients by a method called extrusion, this now means snacks are now coming in puffed which is a healthy alternative. Recently I’ve been buying puffed chickpeas from the brand Hippeas, these are a great company who not only care about making healthy, tasty products but also with every packet they sell they donate to Farm Africa.”

7. Transparency

“This one might seem a little obvious, but it’s something brands and manufacturers are taking very seriously. You may remember the horse meat scandal from Tesco a few years ago? This motivated the consumer to think a little more about what exactly is in their food. As a response, the manufacturers are displaying labels like ‘GMO-free’, ‘responsibility grown’ and ‘raised and fair trade’ to name just a few.”

The future

The rise of the health-conscious consumer has begun to shape the country’s eating behaviours and has even forced some food businesses to remove unhealthy ingredients from their products. Marketing campaigns, food labels, and TV adverts are all pushing towards a healthier future to help curb childhood obesity. As the power continues to shift from companies to the hands of its consumers, future generations are more likely to eat fresher, home-cooked meals, as fresh food consumption is expected to rise every year.

The health food trend is clearly here to stay and is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with.

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