Processed foods are likely to get a health kick this year, with more whole grains, lean poultry and seafood, vegetables, and mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, according to a new report from Packaged Facts.
The market researcher’s latest report, “Food Flavors and Ingredients Outlook 2012”, looks at the flavors and ingredients likely to gain traction with food manufacturers in the year ahead, with many popular restaurant trends finding their way into grocery store aisles.
Publisher of Packaged Facts David Sprinkle said: “The flavors and ingredients of Southern cooking will remain big, with improvisation or customization to incorporate international influences, especially those of Central and South America.”
In particular, Sprinkle said that food manufacturers will continue to source and draw attention to ingredients from specific states or regions, such as Vermont cheddar or Northwest raspberries.
The report predicts that frugal behaviors will continue throughout the year, while consumers will also attempt to incorporate healthy foods into their daily routines.
"Seeking to overcome the boredom of extended frugality, consumers will especially value creative attempts by manufacturers, retailers, and foodservice operators to affordably introduce variety, comfort and indulgence to their taste experiences," it said.
When it comes to ethnic food, Korean influences are likely to remain strong, and the market researcher predicts increased interest in Peruvian food, “well beyond ceviche and seafood, including greater appreciation for potato dishes.”
Sustainable seafood, more unusual cuts of meat, and humanely raised veal will all gain in popularity as center-plate options, it said, while increased interest in ethnic flavors will combine with consumers’ ongoing desire for affordable options, ensuring that sausages and hot dogs remain popular throughout 2012.
For desserts, the report suggests that butterscotch, pear, lemon and lime, and corn will become more prevalent ingredients.
Farmers markets on the wane?
The report also predicts that the growth in farmers markets will slow in the coming year, as many urban areas have reached saturation point. This is not to say that these areas do not present demand for locally grown food, but that the infrastructure may be insufficient to support this direct-to-market approach.
“More locally grown food will be available and promoted through conventional supermarkets as well as portable, single-serve ready-to-eat fresh fruit and vegetable snacks,” the market researcher said.