Lempert, who works closely with ConAgra Foods and retailers across the country, has highlighted eight key trends that food manufacturers and retailers should be thinking about next year:
1 - Boomers embrace all-day grazing: While boomers were raised on ‘3-square meals a day’, they too are succumbing to the all-day-grazing habits of their younger counterparts, says Lempert. When boomers snack, he says, they look for protein, fiber and omega-3s.
2. Online grocery shopping gets fresh: Expect the online shopping experience to get fresher in 2015, says Lempert: “Peapod, Fresh Direct, Amazon Fresh and Instacart make it possible to have perishables like Healthy Choice Café Steamers delivered to your door in less than two hours. With this in mind, products will evolve and become catered to online shoppers. More brands will bundle multiple SKUs to create meal kits or offer pre-packaged sets of multiple products.”
3. Everything smoked: Look out for more smoked foods from vegetables and butters to cocktails, says Lempert, who adds: “With smokers gaining in popularity in backyards across America, at-home cooks are also experimenting with smoking non-traditional foods.”
4. Fermented foods: 2015 will be the year fermented foods such as yogurt, tempeh and sauerkraut take center stage, predicts Lempert. Click HERE for more on the fermented foods trend from the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta last month.
5. Gen Z: chefs everyday: Gen Z, the demographic group born after Millennials (1995 to present day) “tends to use stove tops rather than microwaves for cooking meals and fresh ingredients to prepare foods”, says Lempert. “Research by NPD Group indicates some of their favorite foods to cook include eggs/omelets, hot dogs, potatoes and chicken, which they can ’dress up' with their own unique touch.”
6. Craft foods: Expect ‘craft’ trends - foods made in small batches with specialized, local ingredients - to move beyond beer to other beverages and foods as “Millennials in particular continue to seek unique tastes and foods with authentic origin stories”, predicts Lempert.
7. Nutrition labels move beyond packaged foods: Look out for devices such as Prep Pad, which pairs with an iPad app to calculate the exact nutritional content of your meals by scanning the bar code of food packages used as ingredients or the items on your plate.
8. Supermarkets become social hubs: “Supermarkets have evolved from straightforward centers where consumers could buy groceries to purveyors of lifestyle,” claims Lempert, who predicts grocers will build full-service high quality restaurants as part of their brick and mortar operations.
“Present day supermarkets are developing a variety of services that help set them apart and establish each outlet as an ambassador of niche lifestyle trends. In the near future, we can expect supermarkets to further specialize in order to present their customers with a unique experience that showcases their personality and philosophy toward foods – instead of presenting themselves solely as vendors of goods."
Ultimately, he says, supermarkets will become social hubs: “Cooking classes, events and seminars are giving consumers reasons beyond a grocery list to step inside their neighborhood store.”