Lempert, who works closely with ConAgra Foods and retailers across the country, has highlighted 10 key trends that food manufacturers and retailers should be thinking about next year:
Snacking and Mini-Meals: Expect more smaller bites and more frequent eating patterns that reduce overall portion size and increase variety. Restaurants will add smaller plates and appetizers to menus while grocery stores will offer new pre-portioned snacks.
Men in the Supermarket and Kitchen: Men are getting more comfortable in the kitchen, says Lempert, who predicts supermarkets will increase their focus on men in 2013 as they've become more active in shopping, meal planning and cooking.
Evolution of Frozen Foods: Consumers are beginning to realize that many frozen meals are portion-controlled and start with fresh ingredients, homemade pastas and blended cheeses, and have saturated fat and sodium levels that are much the same as their home-cooked counterparts, if not lower, says Lempert.
The Impact of Millennials: Firms will cater more toward Millennials (those born between 1982 and 2001 - set to represent 19% of the population by 2020) with affordable foods that are flavorful and ethnically diverse, predicts Lempert.
Millennials also love food, care about where it comes from and how it is served. However, a recent Jefferies Alix Partners study also found that Millennials are deal seekers and are less brand loyal.
Smart Home, Smart Phone: Expect continued growth in the use of smartphone apps in selecting and researching products, generating shopping lists, and for deals.
Breakfast Becomes the Most Important Meal of the Day: Expect healthier breakfast options such as egg white omelets, whole grain bread and Greek yogurt with fresh fruit to gain momentum in 2013.
The Story Behind Our Food: Consumers are selecting their foods based on taste, ingredients, source, nutritional composition, who is making the food along with an understanding of its impact on the environment.
The Economy - New Proteins: With the cost of beef and chicken set to rise due to the 2012 drought and declining supply, Lempert anticipates strong growth in meatless proteins including eggs, nut butters, tofu, beans and legumes.
Tackling food waste: Consumers will plan more meals ahead of time, check expiration dates at the store, opt for portion-controlled freshly frozen foods and creative innovative recipes to spice up leftover food.
The Boomer Reality of Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease: Because Boomers will control more than half the dollars spent on grocery foods by 2015, expect more heart-healthy antioxidant-rich foods, green tea, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, popcorn, berries and whole grains.
Click here for some 2013 trend predictions from Mintel, Sloan Trends and Innova.