This new report, "Fats and Oils: Culinary Trend Mapping Report", claims that consumers are beginning to understand that some fats are healthier than others, much in the same way that consumers became aware of the idea of ‘good’ carbohydrates and ‘bad’ carbohydrates, on the back of better information about the benefits of whole grains.
"We suspect that fats are coming next into the limelight, and the same 'good fat, bad fat' consumer filter will be applied," said CEO of CCD Kimberly Egan.
CCD’s collaborative reports with Packaged Facts are based on trend mapping, which it says is guided by the premise that new flavor trends often go through five distinct phases on their way to becoming mainstream.
New trends tend to emerge at upmarket dining establishments, it says, passing into specialist consumer food magazines and television programs, before being picked up by mainstream chain restaurants, then begin to appear in family-oriented consumer magazines, and finally appear in grocery stores and/or quick service restaurants.
This latest report highlights different fats and oils at each stage in this process, including ghee, the clarified butter used in Indian cuisine, which is beginning to become more accessible to American consumers, through Indian street food, and jars of ghee appearing in supermarkets. The report suggests that it could be an interesting ingredient to explore for Indian-inspired frozen meals.
Rice bran oil has potential for producing better fried food because of its positive nutritional profile and superior frying capabilities, the CCD report said, while traditional fats like lard and schmaltz are seeing a comeback as chefs explore a growing interest in enjoying natural fats in moderation, as part of a healthy whole food diet. Duck fat and coconut oil are also beginning to gain popularity for similar reasons, and as consumers seek more flavorful, authentic fats.
Further toward full mainstream status are nut and seed oils, which CCD suggests deserve more use in packaged foods, where they could add “a distinguishing element and possibly even a health benefit.”
The report said that margarine and spreads have migrated entirely into the mainstream, and there is further potential for new types of oils, such as nut and rice bran, to be used in spreads.