Every year we like to take a look at food trends for the next, and 2016 is certainly going to be an interesting one. We’re happy to see that raw, wholefoods are continuing to become more popular as more products become available and our health is in the spotlight. So what is set to emerge in 2016? Well, no one is better at answering that question than our very own expert nutritionist, Lucy-Ann!
The rise of the flexitarian
The increase of part-time vegetarians or “flexitarians”, who are reducing their meat consumption because of health, sustainability and animal welfare concerns, is naturally going to have an even greater impact on food trends, and new product activity. It may come as no surprise to plant-based food lovers, but it also seems that consumers from all walks of life are more passionate than ever about natural, far less processed foods than ever before.
This is forcing food and drink companies to remove artificial ingredients and pander to the wants and desires of a world truly interested in back-to-basics, simple, “clean” and eco-friendly food and food products. Also on the surge will be organic, gluten-free, and free-from, vegan and vegetarian fare, to the point where these foods and products actually become mainstream.
We are also, by all accounts, more interested in where our food and ingredients have come from, and even better if there’s an inspirational story behind its origin. Quinoa, chia seeds and maca root are possibly good examples of this, being ancient staples and “health foods” that nourished communities and tribes in times gone by.
More niche diets on the way
Popular diets are unsurprisingly a catalyst in driving food trends too, with eating styles such as veganism, raw foodism, and at the other end of the spectrum, the Paleo or Caveman diets, catapulting ancient grains, superfoods and more obscure ingredients to the front-rows of shop shelves. People now truly believe that age-old staples are better for them than modern-day manufactured foods. People are also discovering that eating healthy foods profoundly affects the way they look and feel. In addition, we’re becoming more educated about the many sources of good and bad fats (something plant-based lovers are well versed in, embracing foods such as avocado, nuts, seeds, olives etc.), influencing our search for healthy products.
Sports stars and athletes also influence food choices, and sports nutrition for everyday consumers is set to boom. Novel protein sources and the demand for convenient non-animal proteins are joining the growing ranks of “alternatives”, and trend analysts predict a changing marketplace in which “alternatives” could also take over the mainstream!
Coconut water is taking off
A big part of the alternatives market is non-dairy milks and beverages, also set for further global expansion. Almond milk (with a mild nutty taste), rice milk (with a more neutral, sweet taste), soya milk (with a subtle, creamy taste) and oat milk (with a cereal, creamy taste) will feature more and more on breakfast tables than ever before. Coconut milk will join the ranks too, but the biggest player in the beverage market for 2016 will be... you’ve guessed it… coconut water!
Aside from coconut water’s natural, nutritious, and unadulterated appeal, growth is as much underpinned by the global health and obesity crisis. In addition, the smoothie and fruit juice markets have recently come under some heavy criticism due to the high levels of sugar they contain. Coconut water therefore makes the ideal replacement for those looking to move away from sugary drinks, to healthier options. The nutritional benefits of coconut water are becoming well-known - high in potassium, with a natural sweetness and low in calories, it is also described as a “natural isotonic beverage”. Of course, this means it is as popular in the sports nutrition market (to replace lost electrolytes during exercise), as it is in the everyday consumer market.
So what about our shopping habits?
E-commerce will continue to shift many people’s shopping habits, but folk still love to shop, touch and browse foods and food products. This means local producers, small outlets and farmers markets will continue to feature in daily life, with the internet simply providing another, and frankly a necessary route to market for producers and retailers. Something else that is influencing what we eat, try, and buy is of course social media! Now, unless you’ve been asleep for the last few years, the rise of social media and sharing our food creations across networks, not to mention umpteen cooking TV shows, has undoubtedly sparked a new interest in cooking. If it’s good enough to tweet, it’s good enough to eat!
So, 2016 is going to be a world where plant nutrition, transitioning to a plant-based diet and embracing plant power is going to be easier, more convenient, more popular, and dare we say it, “trendier” than ever before. We can’t wait!