Major Food Trends for 2015

May 1, 2015
The Institute of Food Technologists recently published the results of their Top Food Trends for 2015 study. The results were published in the April 2015 edition of Food Technology magazine. Major findings from the study cite a continued erosion of the traditional family meal, more snacking throughout the day, and more marinated meat and poultry dishes.

Significant findings from the study show that consumers want more fresh foods with 90% indicating that fresh foods are healthier, 80% stating that fresh foods are more tasty, and 78% indicating they are trying to consume more fresh foods as compared to processed foods. In addition, consumers are snacking more between meals with an average of three between meal snacks in 2014. According to consumer response, healthy snack foods are becoming an important factor.

Quick to prepare meals continue to be popular with consumers. Meals that are prepared in 20 minutes or less, one-pot meals and meals prepared using marinated meats and poultry have increased more than 25% in the last 5 years. In addition, packaged meal kits, and oven bake meals are all quite popular. However, in spite of the increase in quick-prepared meals, family meal time continues to diminish with only 27% of “family meals” including the children.

Breakfast is becoming the most popular meal of the day with consumers eating breakfast an average of five days a week. Consumers surveyed stated that eating breakfast gave them more energy and mental focus and helped them maintain a healthy weight. Interestingly, ethnic flavors for breakfast are increasingly popular. This includes things such as manchego, chutney, chimichurri, and chipotle flavors.

Consumers are also seeking more sophisticated food experiences. This includes unique flavors and culinary trends such as pickling, fermenting, fire-roasting and smoked foods. In addition to the flavor aspect consumers also want more local foods and beverages, along with more choices in organic, natural and non-GMO foods. The survey found that in 2014 consumers purchased 28% more organic products, 25% more natural products, and 23% more non-GMO products when compared to the year prior.

Consumers are now including more meat alternatives in their diets with eggs being one of the most popular meat alternatives. Food restrictions, intolerances, and food allergies have a greater influence on food purchase choices than ever before with one in 10 shoppers making food purchase decisions based on these issues.

Finally, whole food nutrition is becoming increasingly important with whole grains and non-wheat flours now seen as “hot” culinary ingredients. Non-wheat flours include flour made from peanuts, millet, barley, and rice. Ethnic flours from fufu, teff, and cassava are also popular.

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