Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Food and Beverage In 2010

The recession hasn’t significantly dampened consumers’ interest in nutrition, and we’ll continue to see evidence of this trend—more detailed nutrition labeling, marketers touting new varieties of antioxidant-rich foods (black garlic, exotic berries), more “all natural” options (like the sweetener stevia) and even organic fast food. We’ll also see more evidence of the green trend affecting the food industry, with growing consumer awareness of how food choices affect the environment and more green packaging on supermarket shelves. The rise in DIY is also in evidence here, with more people fermenting their own foods and gleaning their own fruit.

Bacon Everywhere
The humble BLT is getting upstaged: Bacon is being spotted in everything from cocktails (made with bacon-infused liquor or the new Bakon Vodka) to desserts, including bacon-and-egg ice cream at the famous Fat Duck in the U.K., a bacon chocolate bar from Vosges Haut-Chocolat and Lollyphile’s maple-bacon lollipop.

Black Garlic
Developed in South Korea, this chewy, savory-sweet fermented garlic boasts twice the antioxidants as regular garlic and doesn’t cause bad breath. It’s cropping up in gourmet restaurants and upscale food markets, and on the Food Channel.

Coconut Water
As spring water sales continue to cool, beverage marketers are looking for the next big thing. Sales of coconut water—which is low in calories and high in potassium—have doubled this year to roughly $20 million, according to Beverage Marketing Corp. In September, Coca-Cola bought a minority stake in coconut water brand Zico.

The Devil Wears Packaging
One of JWT’s 10 Trends for 2010. As the eco spotlight focuses on the environmental costs of packaging, brands will increasingly switch to bottles, boxes and other solutions that reduce, reuse, recycle, remove and renew. Example: Kenco Coffee in the U.K. recently launched Eco Refills, which it says use 97 percent less packaging than its glass jars.

Exotic Berry Flavors
Watch for several varieties of hitherto unheard-of antioxidant-rich berries—among them aronia, yumberry and maqui berry—to become the next acai berry: the must-eat superfood that pops up in everything from juices and teas to cereal and energy bars.

This age-old, inexpensive process of preserving vegetables is coming back into fashion. Cleaner and safer than canning, the process also produces the healthful bacteria known as probiotics. Root vegetables, cabbage and fruits are all well-suited for fermentation.

Greening the Palate
People will become increasingly aware of the impact their food choices make on the environment, well beyond local sourcing issues. Some foods (notably red meat) have a much bigger carbon footprint than others; some choices are better in terms of water consumption; and foods with palm oil are being linked to rainforest destruction. In Sweden, which is formulating dietary guidelines that take emissions into account, some restaurants and food manufacturers are already listing emissions information.

Maximum Disclosure
One of JWT’s 10 Trends for 2010. While manufacturers and retailers have become increasingly transparent in recent years, legal requirements and competitive pressures will force fuller disclosure about everything from ingredients and calorie counts to carbon footprints and sourcing. Example: In September, California became the first state to mandate calorie disclosure for restaurant chains.

Watch for a backlash from government authorities and experts against the proliferation of health and nutrition claims from food and beverage brands. Much as “greenwashing” has made consumers skeptical about brands’ environmental claims, shoppers will increasingly take health messaging with a grain of salt.

Organic Fast Food
Organic is the new hook in quick-service eateries, with chains such as Organic to Go, Naked Pizza and O!Burger popping up around the U.S. The wave is hitting Europe too. Look for more chains in more regions.

Return of the Pacific Sardine
Whether grilled or pan-roasted, the humble sardine, once again plentiful in Monterey Bay, is popping up on menus across the U.S.—and being hailed for both its environmental and nutritional credentials (sardines are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids). And for today’s cost-conscious diners, they’re also a bargain.

Slow Beverages
There’s “slow food,” and now there are slow-down beverages—anti-Red Bulls. Brands including Slow Cow, Drank, Jones GABA, Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda and OmegaChill are fortified with ingredients such as chamomile, melatonin and valerian root that purportedly promote calming; some take on the energy-drink category directly by claiming to also boost mental focus and concentration.

A year after the U.S. FDA approved this no-calorie herbal sweetener for use in food and beverages, an array of stevia-sweetened products touting “all natural” claims are on their way to market. Although manufacturers are still working out taste issues. Mintel expects stevia sales to jump from $21 million in 2008 to upward of $2 billion by the end of 2011.

Urban Fruit Gleaning
Mix the traditional practice of collecting leftovers from farmers’ fields with social networking and you’ve got urban fruit gleaning. Web sites in the U.S., U.K. and Canada encourage produce proponents to post about fruit trees in public areas that can be harvested and surplus goods from home gardens, and connect people who want to swap too many tomatoes for a bumper crop of apples.

The Wine-Tail
Sangria is old news: Mixing wine with juices, hard spirits and soda is going in new directions as mixologists create various “wine-tails.” These cocktails come without the high alcohol content.


RobbieVitrano said...

thanks for mentioning Naked Pizza. While we our mission is to hijack the $30B pizza industry with the world's first functional food pizza (12 whole grains, prebiotics and probiotics in the crust, no added sugar, trans fats, etc.) we are not "organic" (we use several organic foods in our 'za). Our mission is to offer food that is nutritionally aligned with human physiology (and tastes Great). We love and respect organic, but are wary of the nutrition-washing you reference. After all, an organic Oreo is still an Oreo. Keep up the good work and hopefully we'll be in Cincy soon. Who dat! Robbie@nakedpizza.biz

yodasmith said...

I use SweetLeaf stevia, the first brand to receive GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status in March 2008, contrary to what many believe.