Last week, I gave you my first five picks for the top food trends and innovations of 2013. This week I’ll tackle the last five, taking you on a tour that starts with gluten-free and ends with companies that took product promotions to the next level with social media.
6. Gluten-Free Goes Mainstream
Gluten-free is now a market worth $4.2 billion in sales per year, according to the Packaged Facts research group. With the FDA finalizing rules on qualifying for gluten-free, more and more companies are becoming comfortable with using the term on their product labels when applicable.
Consumers have accepted the gluten-free diet as more than just a necessity for those suffering from celiac disease or possible gluten sensitivity. They also see it as a possible means for weight loss and reducing the symptoms of ADHD and joint pain, as suggested in some popular health books this year. Regardless of their motivations for trying it, consumers feel that they have a need, and they want gluten-free products to have comparable taste and texture to their gluten-containing counterparts.
7. Ancient Grains Gain Popularity
Alternate grains such as quinoa, spelt, amaranth, farro, millet and teff are becoming more mainstream and landed in many new products this year. Partly fueled by the gluten-free boom, some of these grains have been lauded as pasta and bread alternatives.
And nutritionally, ancient grains are real powerhouses that are worth a second look – amaranth and quinoa have good levels of protein, and teff and spelt have better levels of manganese. Quinoa has definitely been popular, and showed up in chili kits in Germany, corn chips in the US, beer in France, dog food in South Korea, toddler meals all across the globe and as a milk replacement beverage in the US.
8. Ubiquitous Yogurt…
In US grocery stores, a large component of the dairy aisle is comprised of yogurt-based products. Greek yogurt, kefir and skyr (Icelandic yogurt) occupy an ever-growing piece of that landscape. Typically, these products are aimed toward women, but that changed this year with the launch of Powerful Yogurt, outfitted with a vivid red and black package.
Food service is seeing a rise in consumption of yogurt, as well. It was selected as one of the Top 10 Culinary Trends at the NRA Show this year. Yogurt has crossed out of the dairy aisle, and was used in wet cat food in Germany, in wrap sandwiches in France, in chocolate mousse in Ireland, and in crepe fillings in Japan.
9. Twinkies Are Back. And They Last Longer?!
In the US, Twinkies disappeared from store shelves at the end of 2012 due to the bankruptcy and dissolution of Hostess Brands, but came back in July under new ownership. The snack cake has added three weeks to their shelf life! While the common conception is that the iconic Twinkie will last forever (Wall-E, anyone?), that is simply not the case. The company will not disclose the formula changes that were made, but advances have been made in cake shelf life extension during the past decade with the use of gums, emulsifiers and enzymes.
With the marketing campaign for the re-launch entitled, “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever”, the new owners relied heavily on social media to help re-build the brand and create excitement and consumer engagement for the re-launch… which leads us into our last trend for 2013.
10. Food Gets Social
Social media played a larger role in consumer awareness for food suppliers – some for the good, and some not-so-good. The need to interact with consumers more quickly has pushed this trend, but real innovation has been seen in how some messages are driven home to the consumer.
My favorite social media food campaigns of 2013 were:
- Nabisco Oreos lit up the internet with various Twitter campaigns – they had a Valentine’s Day campaign that encouraged followers to send love messages using the #oreocupid hashtag, which they then turned into graphics.
- One of the more recent campaigns was Oreos’ dunk swag pop-up shop with Zazzle, where limited edition items, like skateboards, shirts featuring dinosaurs and narwhals eating the famous sandwich cookies (or attempting to eat them), and cell phone cases, were made available to those following the Twitter feed.
Want to add your own? Let us know your top picks for 2013 in the comments below.
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