Grocery Innovations Canada is the annual “must attend” event for professionals involved in the retail and food service industry. We were there again this year to see what’s hot and what’s not, as well as to check out new food and beverage innovations.
Here are the top five trends that jumped out at us.
Clean ingredient list. Consumers are looking for pronounceable ingredients. What is NOT on the label is as important to consumers as what IS printed on the packaging. More shoppers are asking for ‘natural’ or unprocessed products. We expect to see more of this “ free of ….“ focus in the future.
Ethnic flavours continue to be a strong trend. Food makers anticipate a growth in Asian, Indian and Latin America cuisine.
Supermarket Chef Showdown! Canadians eat out often and busy shoppers are looking for help with prepared meals. Supermarket chefs showed their talents on how they create delicious and healthy meals to attract food loving grocery shoppers. In the Globe and Mail, Marina Strauss reports on this fast growing grocery-resto or takeout trend calling it the “Grocerant”
Chocolate, Chia and Coconut were notable ingredient trends. New product innovations with chocolate included baked goods, lactose free chocolate milk (Natrel) and chocolate flavoured peanut butter (Kraft). Chia seeds were introduced in new yogurts (Olympic), cereals and breads. (Chia seeds are similar to flax seed and contain omega-3 fats and boost fibre.) Coconut was featured in whipped cream from Gay Lea Foods, and in Campbell’s Thai Tomato Coconut Soup.
Go Green theme was evident in several sustainable and environmentally friendly innovations. For example “Green” shopping bags are made of material that resists bacterial growth and the Green Lid bins are completely compostable containers made from recyclable cardboard and newsprint.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) 2014 Annual Meeting attracted more than 16,400 food professionals from around the world to learn, exchange ideas and share knowledge. One of the highlights of the meeting was IFT’s five key innovation trends expected to have major impact on the food industry. We’ve added our builds for additional insights and context.
Protein is the next nutrient trend following fat and carbs. Protein helps build and repair body tissues and muscle, and is a component of protective antibodies. Protein also plays a role in satiety. With all these important attributes, the quantity and quality of protein in our foods and beverages matters!
Spices & heat are increasing in popularity. Food makers use a wide range of spices to infuse flavour and enhance consumer appeal. Top spice trend mentions include adobo, anise, cumin, coriander, chili peppers, paprika and turmeric.
Natural colors are sought after ingredients to add vibrancy and appeal without artificial dyes and colours. Examples include a variety of fruit and vegetable extracts that are stable in different food applications and are eye-catching to consumers.
Fats & oils are key food ingredients that add flavour and texture. Choosing healthier fats improves the nutritional profile of foods and results in the creation of tasty and ‘better for you’ options that consumers want.
Clean labels which generally means a food ingredient label that is simple, easily understood or sounds familiar. The consumer’s quest for ‘clean labels’ continues to spark innovations in ingredients and food safety to support product re-formulations that allow for the removal of chemical sounding ingredients.