Healthy eating has shifted from manifesting a feeling of loss and resentment, to becoming one of the biggest food trends of our generation.
When thinking about both retail and foodservice it is important to keep ahead of the trends and incorporate appealing and fresh ways to energise. Young people have embraced healthy eating options as the norm and this change is real. So which food trends should you be considering for both encouraging sales growth and promoting good habits for health-conscious diners?
Personalisation in everything has become the norm- smartphones, advertisements, and health. Personalised meal and fitness plans direct consumers towards particular nutrition values. Labelling effectively can ensure customers can make the right choices for them as an individual. Removing allergens and separating items e.g. protein in salad bars, as well as providing specific menus for target groups, can inform and generate sales, e.g. energy smoothies, detoxing juices, sleep inducing teas and digestive wellness salads.
Prevention through regular intake of anti-inflammatory ingredients, is another claim which although difficult to highlight, should be promoted by listing such ingredients, e.g. turmeric, ginger, acai. Antioxidant products should be promoted in replacement of treat foods e.g. smoothies. Health conscious consumers will be aware of the properties of such ingredients.
Studies have linked the gut microbiome to symptoms of anxiety, depression, weight-management and obesity, diabetes, auto-immune disorders and allergies, even stress. Digestive health is about all round wellness. Prebiotic ingredients such as fermented ingredients such as kimchi, non-dairy prebiotics such as kefir water, and high fibre products should be highlighted.
Obesity is still a real problem and Millennials are set to be the most overweight generation in history. Jamie Oliver, and his army of campaigners have had some success in ensuring we are more conscious when intaking sugar rich foods. The challenge is to reduce sugar without devaluing the taste and companies are falling over themselves to solve this problem. Natural sweetness from fruit should be considered, especially in baking. Sugar alternatives such as honey, maple, xylitol and stevia are good alternatives. Communication of these swaps are key to consumerism.
Protein is a key part of healthy eating these days and there is a movement towards plant-based foods, beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds. Including protein in each meal or snack is a good way to balance your diet. Protein enhanced foods such as cultured yogurts are another way to pack protein in and naturally high protein levels can be prromoted as making you feel fuller longer.
Wheat—and the main protein it contains, gluten—has been cited as a cause of weight gain, “brain fog,” skin rashes, joint pain, headaches, tiredness, allergies, gas, intestinal distress, irritable bowel syndrome, depression and, in the case of celiac disease—where the immune system goes haywire and attacks the body—even death. Although gluten intolerant customers have not increased, the number of consumers avoiding gluten has increased. All to do with wellness in the gut, white carb gluten is considered the enemy. Natural gluten free alternatives such as gluten free flours, vegetable pastas, low gluten grains e.g. buckwheat can be highlighted, as well as flourless bakery items which should be incorporated into the menu to entice and inspire.