Americans in particular are starting to look at the big picture and are changing their overall lifestyle instead of focusing solely on short-term goals. Whether this means going vegan, juicing, or simply cutting out processed foods altogether, Americans are no longer relying on a “fix all” diet. Based on our experience, we have put together a list of 5 ways Americans are changing their food choices this year.
1) Ignoring Low-Fat Call-outs: While in the past dieters may have gotten sucked into the “low-fat” marketing ploy, today they know better. Consumers are now buying wholesome foods to avoid processed alternatives that often lack real, nutritious ingredients. Their new go-to items include nut butters, seeds, and other foods that may not be low-fat, but are nutrient dense.
2) Ditching the White Flour: With the availability of ancient grains including farro, amaranth, wheat berries, buckwheat, and quinoa, consumers no longer need to rely on refined carbohydrates that lack both nutrients and fiber. This year, even more consumers will step out of their comfort zone to try new grains and flours like those made from almond and coconut. With “no carb” diets losing traction, this year we will see consumers eating grains for both protein and fiber.
3) Becoming Vegan or Vegetarian: What once may have been considered a diet or fad, going vegan or vegetarian is now a lifestyle. Ditching both meat and dairy can not only help maintain weight, ward off disease, and build strong bones, but has been proven to increase longevity. More people are now avoiding inflammatory foods like meat and dairy and are focusing on a “mind and body” approach to health. While this may not be a goal for everyone, we will certainly see more people either limit their intake of meat and dairy, or fully commit to veganism or vegetarianism in 2014.
4) Making Better On-the-Go Choices: This year consumers will ditch the once popular diet bars and sugary, processed, protein smoothies for all-natural alternatives like juices. As juice bars gain in popularity, it’s easy to find bottled, cold-pressed juices right at your local grocery store. And, the majority of consumers will not mind paying for the convenience of these healthier, on-the-go solutions.
5) Dining at Select Places: The comfort of knowing what’s really in your food has become an important factor to those making healthy lifestyle changes. Consumers seek restaurants that provide a wide-range of healthy menu options, openly list ingredients (and their sources), and have knowledgeable staff to answer questions or provide recommendations based on individual preferences.
We at KOR recommend that those in R&D and marketing keep a close eye on consumer preferences. It’s important to know how your product or brand can best meet consumer needs now and into the future.