FoodNavigator predicts top industry drivers for 2015

By Nathan Gray and Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

The FoodNavigator editors have picked their top six trends to look out for in 2015. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.
The FoodNavigator editors have picked their top six trends to look out for in 2015. Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

Related tags: Nutrition

It’s time to get out our crystal balls and predict the hottest trends in the European food and drink sector for the year ahead. What’s in store for 2015?

Portion control: A little of what you fancy

The food industry has made strides in improving the health profile of many products over the past several years – but consumers increasingly are sceptical of reduced fat, reduced sugar and reduced salt foods.

While the reduction trend will continue, smaller portions of regular products will multiply over the year ahead as a way to appeal to consumers’ desire for health while also providing the full flavours and creamy textures they crave. In some cases – notably the confectionery market – smaller portions may become the new norm, but in other categories, look out for more options when it comes to portion size.

A major push for sustainable sourcing

Sustainability has featured in our trend predictions for several years in one guise or another. In 2015, the trend will focus on communication with consumers.

In light of the Food Information for Consumers (FIC) regulation requirement to specify palm oil (instead of generic vegetable oil) in ingredients lists, many manufacturers will be keen to highlight sustainably sourced palm – and if they are not sourcing sustainably already, to make the switch.

Tech on the rise

Consumer interest in food has expanded dramatically in recent years, and the coming year will see technology firms – including small start-ups – tapping into this increased interest.

Look out for a proliferation of apps in 2015, providing information on the provenance of ingredients, nutrition, and a range of environmental and ethical criteria.

Naturally healthy

Consumer demand for healthy and functional foods seems set to continue for a long time yet. However, the growth of organic and raw foods also signals the ever increasing importance attached to foods that are closer to nature and minimally processed.

As the food and nutrition industry start to embrace these secondary demands, we will begin to see even more foods that claim to be naturally health rather than fortified or functional.

Expect to see strong growth in product categories that naturally contain ingredients with proven health benefits, and for firms to move away from ‘shoehorning’ functional ingredients in to product categories where they are not seen to be a natural fit.

Seaweed success

Seaweed and algal ingredients have created a lot of buzz in recent years. Many suppliers within the industry have invested heavily in this area, while 2014 also saw a whole host of small and trendy bakeries using seaweed as ingredients.

Could 2015 be the ‘breakthrough’ year for seaweed and algal products? Expect to see even more widespread use and acceptance of these ingredients in foods in the next 12 months.

Sweet and spicy

Things may be spicing up in flavours too. One of the hottest flavour trends of 2015 is set to be a combination of sweet and spicy. 

Top restaurants are already using spicy and sweet mixtures like jalapeno honey to create the next big buzz in flavours. It's not usually too long before the food industry begins to follow such trends. Just look at the huge trends for things like salted caramel or chilli chocolate in recent years ... we expect to see spicy and sweet combinations to soon follow suit.

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