Superfruits and grains to set next functional trend?

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

"Miracle grains" and "superfruits" are among the
ingredients set to enjoy increasing popularity with American
consumers, as attention is focused on a combination of health
benefits and exotic tastes, says a new report.

The report, by food trend tracker Center for Culinary Development (CCD), is based on market observations by the group's Chef's Council, comprised of 80 of the nation's "high-profile"​ chefs.

According to the CCD, this group of industry experts is an "extraordinarily reliable"​ predictor of "which new culinary ideas will ultimately make their way from the rarified environs of white-tablecloth establishments to the more readily accessible aisles of the mainstream grocery stores and fast-food restaurants."

And the chefs have added their voice to the growing clamor surrounding foods with health benefits.

"From fresh and raw foods packed with natural nutritional value to 'nutraceuticals' and functional foods that are quietly fortified with everything from antioxidants to minerals and fiber, demand for foods that nourish the whole body continue to grow,"​ says the report.

Certain nutrient-rich fruits, or "superfruits"​ - such as pomegranates and blueberries- are becoming more popular with American consumers keen to eat healthful foods while trying new tastes, according to the CCD.

Other popular fruits that consumers will opt for to boost their mood and energy levels include guava, lychee, pomelo, yuzu, and tamarind as well as berries such as acai, guarana and goji.

Indeed, Datamonitor analyst John Band also recently told FoodNavigator-USA that exotic fruits are climbing on the American consumer's agenda.

"Sales of premium fruit are on the rise in the US, as are sales of ethnic food in general. Exotic fruits, which combine the perceived authenticity and flavor intensity benefits of ethnic foods with the health and quality benefits of premium fruit, are set to grow in future years, driven by consumers' desire for greater healthiness, authenticity and flavour,"​ he said.

"Miracle grains,"​ also expected to enjoy increasing popularity, include Quinoa, which has a high protein, iron and vitamin content, as well as amaranth, which is said to be a nutritious food for infants and to provide "energy and strength"​ to soldiers.

"Health has become more than a fleeting interest- it's become a full-fledged fixation for millions of Americans. And that spells even greater opportunity in months and years ahead for manufacturers determined to make healthier fare a mainstay of modern diets,"​ says the report.

The CCD also identified an increased interest in foods and ingredients from Latin America and Asia. Particular mention was made of foods from Cuba, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Vietnam and Korea, as well as Spain's Catalonia and Basque regions.

Amongst the most popular products identified by the group's chefs was choclo, or Peruvian corn, which exists in 55 varieties and "virtually every color."​ Herbs, grains and piquillo from Peru were also identified as popular choices.

"When it comes to food, consumers want more than just tastes, they want experiences,"​ says the CCD.

Consumers are also increasingly interested in high-quality, small-batch, artisan products, such as handcrafted breads and cheeses. And along with these high-end expectations, Americans also "seem to want to have everything custom-made for themselves and their preferences."

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