2017 Food Trends

Originally Published: October 10, 2016
Last Updated: February 4, 2021

Global Food Forums has begun compiling lists of top trend lists on food, beverage and nutritional product trends for 2017. Many list items directly related to our events, which are the Clean Label Conference, Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar, and Sweetener Systems Conference.

Top Trends lists below are from Rabobank, Mintel, Innova Market Insights, The Fiscal Times, SensoryEffects/Balchem, MarketWatch, Sterling-Rice Group, Food & Drink Resources, Comax Flavors, Forbes, Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian magazine, Whole Foods Market

Also see other Top Food Trends Lists

Food Trend Survey: We Didn’t See That Coming – Source: Rabobank, Rabobank Research, Nicolas Fereday

Extracted from “Rabobank U.S. Talking Points – December 2016”
© Rabobank (Posted with permission)

  1. The Pace of Change – Example comments include acceleration of movements such as non-GMO, organic, gluten-free, etc. and number of start-ups entering the food space
  2. The Tyson Game-Changer – Example comments include “Tyson acknowledging momentum in alternative protein with the Beyond Meat investment,” and “How strong the change in “protein preference” is and what that means for animal protein.”
  3. New Routes to the Consumer – Example comments include “Retail channels embracing new brands as never seen before” and “The retail landscape is chaging rapidly and in three to five years will look very different than it does now.”
  4. “Big Food is Getting All Hot on Small Start-ups” – Example comments include “Food manufacturers outsourcing their R&D by creating incubator and accelerator programs” and “There is a scary amount of capital floating around searching for deals – overpaying and poor structuring abound.”
  5. A Mixed Bag – This item listed a subset of topics including “Food rules and regulations,” “There is always room for indulgence,” “Food waste reduction and sustainability” and “Price deflation”

Six Key Global Food and Drink Trends for 2017 Source: Mintel
(Posted November 11, 2016)

♦ In Tradition We Trust: Consumers seek comfort from modernized updates of age-old formulations, flavors and formats.
♦ Power to the Plants: The preference for natural, simple and flexible diets will drive further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations.
♦ Waste Not: The focus of sustainability zeros in on eliminating food waste.
♦ Time is of the Essence: The time investments required for products and meals will become asinfluential as nutrition or ingredient claims.
♦ The Night Shift: Evening is tapped as a new occasion for functional food and drink formulations.
♦ Balancing the Scales – Health for Everyone: Healthy food and drink are not “luxuries.”

The Top Ten Trends for 2017 Source: Innova Market Insights (Posted online November 14, 2016)

Innova Market Insights has revealed its top trends likely to impact the food industry in 2017 from its ongoing analysis of key global developments in food and drinks launch activity worldwide.

1. Clean Supreme: The rules have been rewritten and clean and clear label is the new global standard. The demand for total transparency now incorporates the entire supply chain, as a clean label positioning becomes more holistic.
2. Disruptive Green: As plant-based milks, meat alternatives and vegan offerings have rapidly moved into the mainstream, consumers are looking for innovative options to take the inherent benefits of plants into their daily lives.
3. Sweeter Balance: Sugar is under pressure, although it remains the key ingredient delivering the sweetness and great taste that consumers are looking for.
4. Kitchen Symphony: The connected world has led consumers of all ages to become more knowledgeable of other cultures.
5. Body in Tune: Consumers are increasingly personalizing their own nutrition intake, making food choices based around what they think will make them feel better.
6. Plain Sophistication: The number of new products using the word “craft” or “crafted”increased by 248 percent from 2011 to 2015, with alcoholic beverages, confectionery and bakery as the leading market categories.
7. Encapsulating Moments: Targeting specific moments is becoming a powerful weapon for marketers, especially in categories like snacking. There is a lot to learn from the sports nutrition space…These types of products are optimized to the moment before, during or after exercise; for maximum efficacy.
8. Beyond Pester Power: While “pester power” was behind typically less healthy shopping 10 to 15 years ago, kids are now often setting the family dinner agenda themselves.
9. Fuzzy Borders: The most innovative products are being observed at the crossroads of different categories.
10. Seeds of Change: Seeds bring a natural source of flavor, texture and health, including a high protein content and consumers are looking to benefit.

The 11 Hottest Food Trends for 2017 Source: Janna Herran in the The Fiscal Times Posted October 28, 2016

♦ Home Cooking: Home cooks are showing off their kitchen skills in two different ways. Yuma in Montreal is an app the allows home cooks to prepare food and deliver to local restaurants. Feastly, operating in five U.S. locations, is a start-up supper club, allowing people to reserve a seat at a dining event in a cook’s home.
♦ Virtual Restaurants: Star-ups and food chains are opening commercial kitchens in cheap locations to deliver chef-prepared food to home. ♦ Delivery Evolution: Then there are drones. Google drones are delivering chipotle burritos on the Virginia Tech Campus. ♦ Faux Meat: A quarter of Americans are trying to eat less meat and as a result, veggie “meats” have taken center stage. ♦ Veggies as the Main Entree: Veggie-centric restaurants are becoming more popular such as Ladybird in New York that offers a vegetable charcuterie plate with smoked carrot, cured beef, mushroom pate and beet chorizo. ♦ Butcher-to-Table: To counter the veggie trend, some artisan butchers are adding an eat-in option to their shops. ♦ Fried Chicken: It’s What’s for Breakfast: The Southern American classic meat fare is moving in on bacon’s turf. ♦ What’s the Next Kale?: This year, kale lost its footing to seaweed, thanks to its umami and presence in ramen, which is rising in popularity across the country. ♦ Milkshake’s Gone Wild: On the unhealthiest end of the spectrum comes the freakshakes-a milkshake with generous amounts of ice cream, whipped crem and chocolate sauce, plus toppings of cake, cookies, donuts and candies. ♦ The Thai-Styled Ice Cream Treat: Another ice cream creation—the rollup—comes the way of Thailand. ♦ Unlikely Restaurateurs: Restaurants are coming from unlikely sources, such as food suppliers.

2017 Feature Flavors Trends

Source: SensoryEffects (a division of Balchem)

The presence of Artisanal/Craft/Local flavors are now more prominent than ever in the ice cream aisle.
♦ Limited Time Offerings (LTO) – The advertising and PR buzz of an LTO product creates the “gotta get it now” mentality, since it’s only offered at this time of year, or worse – only time EVER!
Ethnic & Worldly foods, especially the East Meets West macro trends…Green Tea, Honey and Matcha are big this year, and Thai-flavored ice creams have been recently introduced to the market.
Clean Label demand has had a huge impact on every food and beverage category in the marketplace today.
Last year was a springboard for the savory, spicy and sweet flavor category, but these mash-up flavor combinations are once again on our radar.
Tropical fruits and flowers were starting to float onto the radar last year, but we’re seeing these flavors combo’d with grains for concepts perceived as “healthier” indulgence.

The Next Hot Trends in Food
Source: MarketWatch Posted online: Nov 7, 2016

♦ The next superfood: moringa – Move over, kale — there’s a new super green. The leaves of the Moringa oleifera tree, grown in Haiti, parts of Latin America and Africa, are drawing interest from trend watchers for their nutritional content.
♦ The next buzzword: regenerative grazing – There is a growing movement called regenerative agriculture, in which different farming practices are used to restore soil degraded by planting and harvesting crops.
♦ The next ingredient: something consumers understand – Now the goal is “ clean labels”— lists of ingredients consumers can understand and pronounce.
♦ The next healthy beverage: plant waters – From aloe water and maple water to artichoke water and cactus water, they are replacing more sugary sports drinks and artificially flavored waters that don’t appeal to consumers’ desire for nutritious and natural beverages.
♦ The next meat alternative: jackfruit – Of all the budding meaty substitutes, food experts say jackfruit has the most potential to go mainstream because of its meaty texture and ability to absorb the flavors in which it’s cooked.
♦ The next natural food dye: spirulina – Blue-green algae called spirulina are often sold as a health supplement at vitamin shops or as an energy shot in smoothies. But now they are being harvested for use as a natural blue-green dye.

Top Ten Food Trends That Will Have Diners Drooling in 2017
Source: Sterling-Rice Group Posted Oct. 12, 2016

♦ Wake and Cake: Have your cake and eat it … for breakfast? Dosha Dining:Long recommended as medicine by Siddha doctors (traditional Indianphysicians), turmeric came into the spotlight in 2016 boasting its mega-health benefits and savory flavor.
♦ Plant Butchery: Meat substitutes have graduated from seitan and soy with new options made from chickpeas, legumes, and fungi.
♦ Food Waste Frenzy: With approximately 40% of food in the U.S. going to waste, restaurants, and innovative food companies will increasingly serve up delicious food options using the whole fruit and vegetable—from seeds to rinds.
♦ Snackin’ Sardines: In 2017, consumers will fish for more protein-rich snacks.
♦ Noodle on This: Noodle lovers who have long embraced Thai pad see ew, Vietnamese pho, and fresh Japanese ramen are rediscovering Chinese lamian—or hand-pulled noodles.
♦ Mocktail Mixology: From nonalcoholic happy hours to standalone mocktail menus, beverages are being positioned as intricate and unique experiences that can be had without the hangover.
♦ Goat! Get It: Low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, goat is poised to become the next go-to protein in 2017.
♦ Cook and Connect: Chefs, home cooks, and foodies are taking advantage of the sharing economy and coming together in a big and innovative way—from communal pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens to the fleet-farming movement.
♦ Migratory Meals: By celebrating their rich heritages and cuisines, large refugeepopulations are beginning to make culinary connections with their new home countries.
♦ Dosha Dining: From street food to mango lassi smoothies, mainstays of Indian culture are spreading out from the subcontinent.

FDR’s Complete List of 2017 Food and Beverage Trends
Source: Food & Drink Resources Posted on October 14, 2016

Pasta Is Still So Back In: The October 2016 issues of Food Network Magazine, Food & Wine, and Bon Appétit all featured pasta dishes on the cover.
♦ Khachapuri: Khachapuri is a Georgian (country, not U.S. State) dish of bread, cheese, and eggs.
Seaweed: Seaweed really is the new kale, or at least we are counting on it.
It’s Hot in Here: Turmeric was big last year (and still has its place), but we can’t help but notice more and more Harissa.
Asian Peasant Food: Last year on our food trends list, we looked at peasant food — like pierogies and dumplings — as a trending food, which continues.
Oko Nam Yaki: Asian, usually Japanese, savory pancakes.
Meatless Entrees: Many restaurants and manufacturers are presenting meatless entrees to satisfy their environmentally-conscious, health-conscious, and animal-friendly diners.
Jackfruit: Speaking of plant-based proteins, jackfruit is becoming a very popular substitute for meat.
Dragonfruit: Dragonfruit is another notable fruit. It’s the new acai with its powerful antioxidant content.
Souping: Instead of smoothies nowadays, it’s all about fruit soups.
Flavored Butters: Chefs have long created their own compound butters to simplify recipes.
Fresh Cheeses:… these days, fresh and spreadable cheeses delight, too.
Compressed Sawdust: The trend to have open fire in restaurants continues.
Incense: If you’ve traveled to France, you may have witnessed on-table burning herbal scents beneath your dessert or other dishes.
Especially Dark: It starts with vegetables all different ways–smoked, charred, dark roasted–and continues to other dark foods like black rice.
No Soda: Sparkling water only.
Crowlers: For years, many have taken home their favorite micro-brews in a glass container called a growler.
Teatotalism on the Rise: More and more restaurants are adding mocktails to the menu that go beyond Shirley Temples.
New (ish) Restaurant Concepts: Poke bowls!!!! Everywhere.; We cringe when we say “ fusion.” It’s so…1990s. However, it adequately describes the strong
restaurant concept trend toward Nikkei cuisine; Shawarma refers to a style of Arab meat preparation.
Transparent Menus: No, not see-through paper menus. Rather, calorie counts and nutritional values on the menu. A story printed on the wall explaining how you source your ingredients. A social media campaign profiling your farmers.

Comax Flavors 2017 Flavor Forecast Source: Comax Flavors Posted November 28, 2016 Comax Flavors introduces the 2017 Flavor Forecast with four unique flavor collections. Flower Power: …floral flavors are popping up and making their way into food and beverages including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and dairy products such as yogurt and ice cream. Flavors in this group include: Blueberry Hibiscus, Orange Blossom Vanilla, Raspberry Lavender. Spice Is Nice: Driven by globalization and the growing multicultural population, spices that were once exotic and unfamiliar are becoming familiar and ubiquitous. Flavors in this group include: Cinnamon Caramel, Cocoa Curry, Ginger Mandarin Cardamom. Smoke Out: Smoking, both hot and cold, is experiencing an uptick. It is appearing in dairy, fruits, vegetables, desserts and even cocktails. In packaged foods, inspiration from smoked foods can be seen in unexpected applications such as beer, snacks and chewing gum. Flavors in this group include: Blackberry BBQ, Smoked Tomato, Torched Vanilla. Nostalgia Remix: Classic and nostalgic flavors are finding their way into new and unexpected applications. Flavors in this group include: Grilled Cheese, Milk & Cookies, Root Beer Marshmallow.

Ten Food Trends That Will Shape 2017 Source: Forbes by contributing editor Phil Lempert Posted December 14, 2016

Trend #1. Silicon Valley & Food: CB Insights estimates that over $1 billion has been invested in food startups and projects in 2016 alone. Why does Silicon Valley love food? Food meets the sustainability portfolio requirements for investing – and has the potential to make a positive impact on the world.

Trend #2. The Wild West: The new food retailers are stealing customers with a different approach and understanding of shoppers. Aldi, Lidl and Amazon GO are the future as high quality, low prices and convenience set the stage for food retailing.

Trend #3. Enhanced Foods: Beyond Brownies: It’s a lot more than just adding protein to just about every food category; although sales prove that added protein can turn around categories that are declining like frozen appetizers. Look for the next big trends coming from Matcha, butter, beets, botanicals and yes, edible cannabis.

Trend #4. Generation Z: This 50 million strong generation – now 5 to 20 year old – have been shaped by the recession and terrorism and as a result are willing to work hard for a stable future. They are financially cautious and demand good value from the foods they consumer in and out of home. They hate corporate greed, don’t trust brands and demand transparency.

Trend #5. Sustainability: Look for cage-free to evolve to pasture-raised and aviary systems, Halal and Kosher to grow by double digits over the next decade as more shoppers understand their tenants, and brands and fat fooderies to jump on the bandwagon….

Trend #6. Digital Foodscape: Look for the new foodscape to be simple, stand out, engage and be multisensational – and all that comes through the next generation of food communication through gamification, edu-tainment and AVA triggered content.

Trend #7. Microbrands to Megabrands: Two-thirds of the top CPG brands saw sales decline in 2015 and the top 5 lost $13 billion in sales. People are not eating less; they are choosing the brands that mirror their needs and values.

Trend #8. Augmented Transparency (AT): This technology will allow for multi-panel deep dives into the nutritional information, ingredients, sourcing all across the supply-chain to answer questions that shoppers have.

Trend #9. Cellular Agriculture: In 1931 Winston Churchill predicted the evolution we are now realizing in cellular agriculture where animal free proteins are being produced that are molecularly identical to meat, dairy, eggs, chicken, fish, shrimp and turkey.

Trend #10. The New Administration: Over the past decade food companies have done a terrific job in reducing waste, eliminating ingredients and artificial colors and additives and improving their food safety practices. How will the food industry deal in the uncertainty of non-resident farm workers, the $15 (or not) minimum wage, increased tariffs on exports and imports to certain countries and possible deregulation of the FDA and EPA?

“What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey of 1,700+ Dietitians Predict Top 2017 Food Trends Source: Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian magazine Posted Dec 12, 2016

Dietitians are attributing the latest shift in consumer food perception to the growing trend of “mindful eating,” a slower and more thoughtful approach to eating. Based on the survey, 49% of RDs say that consumers will choose mindful eating over dieting. In addition, 59% say consumers will choose to “eat clean,” by looking to consume foods that are less processed and more whole foods such as veggies, fruits, ancient grains and green tea, as well as plant-based proteins like nuts and seeds.

Compared to 2016, dietitians report that consumers will be less concerned with the food trends of previous years, such as:

♦ Foods that are GMO-free, sustainable or gluten-free.
♦ GMO-free and sustainable foods have experienced on average a 20 percent decrease in terms of what concerns consumers. Dietitians attribute this decline to food label transparency and more food companies changing their ingredient deck. In contrast, consumers will be looking for more low-sodium and sugar-free options in 2017.

Top 10 Superfoods for 2017

  1. Seeds, like chia and hemp
  2. Avocado
  3. Nuts, like almonds and walnuts
  4. Fermented foods like yogurt
  5. Ancient grains
  6. Kale
  7. Green tea
  8. Coconut products
  9. Exotic fruits
  10. Salmon

Whole Foods Market Serves Up Top 10 Trends for 2017 Source: Whole Foods Market Posted December 6, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (Dec. 6, 2016) – Today, Whole Foods Market’s global buyers and expertsannounced the trends to watch in 2017. Wellness tonics, products from byproducts and purple foods are just a few top predictions according to the trend-spotters, who share more than 100 years of combined experience in sourcing products and tracking consumer preferences.
Whole Foods Market’s top 10 trends for 2017 include:

1. Wellness Tonics – the new year will usher in a new wave of tonics, tinctures and wellness drinks that go far beyond the fresh-pressed juice craze.

2. Products from Byproducts – Whether it’s leftover whey from strained Greek yogurt or spent grains from beer, food producers are finding innovative – and delicious – ways to give byproducts new life.

3. Coconut Everything –Virtually every component of this versatile fruit-nut-seed (coconuts qualify for all three!) is being used in new applications.

4. Japanese Food, Beyond Sushi –Long-celebrated condiments with roots in Japanese cuisine, like ponzu, miso, mirin, sesame oil and plum vinegar are making their way from restaurant menus to mainstream American pantries. …shoppers seek more varieties of the savory greens, including fresh and dried kelp, wakame, dulse and nori…

5. Creative Condiments –Once rare and unfamiliar sauces and dips are showing up on menus and store shelves….black sesame tahini, habanero jam, ghee, Pomegranate Molasses, black garlic purée, date syrup, plum jam with chia seeds, beet salsa, Mexican hot chocolate spreads, sambal oelek or piri piri sauce, Mina Harissa, and Frontera Adobo Sauces…

6. Rethinking Pasta – Today’s pastas are influenced less by Italian grandmothers and more by popular plant-based and clean-eating movements. Alternative grain noodles made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas (which also happen to be gluten free) are quickly becoming favorites, while grain-free options like spiralized veggies and kelp noodles are also on the rise.

7. Purple Power – Richly colored purple foods are popping up everywhere: purple cauliflower, black rice, purple asparagus, elderberries, acai, purple sweet potatoes, purple corn and cereal.

8. On-the-Go Beauty – “Athleisure” is not just a fashion trend; the style is now being reflected in natural beauty products, too. With multitasking ingredients and simple applications, natural beauty brands are blurring the line between skincare and makeup product…

9. Flexitarian – In 2017, consumers will embrace a new, personalized version of healthy eating that’s less rigid than typical vegan, Paleo, gluten-free and other “special diets” that have gone mainstream.

10. Mindful Meal Prep – People aren’t just asking themselves what they’d like to eat, but also how meals can stretch their dollar, reduce food waste, save time and be healthier.