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Food Trends for 2018

Man at a Grocery Store

2017 will always be known as a year that changed grocery industry. Groceries and career in such industry became cool and hip. Talent from the best schools and companies is now flowing to food industry even though just a few years ago nobody would've thought of it as progressive, evolving, and fashionable.

Startups are raising millions in the industry while packaged consumer goods companies are working with young millennials to understand what modern buyers are looking for and how to create a different kind of environment.

Food industry is living a renaissance age. In the last 20 months 17 CEOs of major food companies stepped down and vacated their seats for younger generation with innovative thinking. The new retail model is built around consumers and the best way to service them, whether brick-and-mortar or online. Consumers strive to live their lives easier, healthier, and spend more time elsewhere, not in traditional grocery stores.

Let's take a look at 2018 food trends that are connected together and continue on the new winds that 2017 has brought:

#1 Mindfulness

Mindfulness in the food industry is not the same as in meditation. It is simply being in the state of consciousness and being aware. This movement is led by millennials who desire to truly understand what comes from where and how. They want to support companies that practice ethical treatment of animals and environment.

This trend is number one this year and can be supported by facts. Body and mind connection is important to more and more shoppers. According to research, 7 out of 10 U.S and U.K consumers do read and try to understand all the ingredients of their foods. All brands of sub-brands that feature ethical claims on their packages increased seven times since 2010 and continue to grow.

Various charitable supports gain speed side by side with clean foods. For example, CVS program "snacks that give back" or hospitality business "vegetarian vacations" gain speed and popularity. People are looking for businesses that adhere to the same holistic values as consumers do. Evn some McDonald's locations are becoming "certified green restaurants" .

We started approaching food very differently. Instead of being scared, we are now watching documentaries like "Okja", "Before the Flood", and "Wasted" to understand what GMOs and wasted resources are doing to our planet and make changes.

Money is still being made in food industry, but more and more CEOs emphasize the importance of social conscience, health and wellness, and enhanced nutrition.

#2 Tactile

The sense of touch is taking food industry by storm. What we mean by that is our modern society likes to not only know about foods from the intellectual connection, but also very physical one. Experience is important to us, so we want to see, smell, and taste to get full experience. This is why unicorn colored and black foods were so in just last year.

#3. Farming

This is where our food starts – agriculture. This, according to some prognosis, will change in the near future. By 2050 it'll be 9.6 billion of us living on Earth, 65% of those in urban areas. Soil and water are already endangered resources and climate change will challenge us all.

Communities and city dwellers are trying to get closer to food and its sources, so farmer markets are definitely in high demand. This demand is urging some young, educated people to turn back to farming, so the number of farmers under 35 is growing first time since 1900. Not only that, vertical farming is gaining speed and entering city buildings. Such farming reduces CO2 emissions and saves water while increasing yields five-fold.

#4 NeuroNutrition and #5 BioHacking

Sad reality is that about half of our kids will be obese by the time they are 35. Despite the progress we are making and strive to live healthier, we are still failing. 10% of our population is on some kind of "exclusion diet", meaning that we have to not consume some kinds of food because of allergies or ailments. Add another part of society on diet and we'll have about 50% of population not eating something.

NeuroNutrition looks at how foods we eat affect out brain. BioHacking breaks the rules to create a science for more personalizes nutrition and foods.

Omega-3 is due to explode this year and be added to foods for all, from babies to elderly. We want to eat what is good for our health and to know about it. Restaurants are beginning to employ on-staff nutritionists to advise guests about what is best for their brain, gut, immunity, depression, and cholesterol.

We should definitely look back at our DNR and determine what is best for us. Some grocery stores were selling DNR kits to help manage and prevent some diseases years ago, but it didn't become popular. Society was not ready, but now we are. More and more companies are jumping on this DNR bandwagon and offering foods that make a perfect match with our bodies.

#6 Technofoodology

Technology and artificial intelligence are changing the way we view foods and how we acquire them. All voice command devices, like Alexa, Google Home, Sonos, and all others, help us get our food replenished without going to the store.

55 million smart devices will be in our homes by 2020. This is a new type of grocery store for sure. Smart refrigerators, pantries, and cupboards will know when we are running out of something and will get that automatically reordered. This way the grocery stores will have more time to focus and improve fresh foods, artisan options, and ready-to-eat foods.

#7 Advertising

Advertising is here to make people understand that they need something and then buy it. Advertising should also be ethical and tell the truth about nutrition. We want to know where our foods come from, so advertising should take us there and create a long-lasting visual connection to our food. Even Sesame Street's Cookie Monster is getting on the truck and driving to find out the origin of his beloved cookies.

Food messages and story-telling are very important today as people are looking for information on social media and don't trust ads anymore. No smart retailer will ignore Facebook or Instagram these days.

Communication with food is important. We make decisions based on information and it makes a huge difference. If we believe that we are eating a high-nutrition food, we will eat less than if we think that we are eating a dietary snack. Today's consumer wants to be informed at all times.

#8 Security

Our population is not feeling secure. Our anxiety might prevent us from attending mass events and big crowds, so retailers will have to make adjustments and create more but smaller events to attract us to the stores.

To cope with anxieties men and women are eating more, which is good for food retailers. Good for health change is that a lot of people exercise more. Grocery stores are beginning to offer exercise classes and in-store nutrition, building long-lasting relationships as a result.

One positive outcome from the stress is that people are volunteering more and helping each other out as a coping mechanism. This state of mind has to be replicated by grocery stores if they want to align themselves to our values.

#9 Politics and Food

Political parties and policies are heavily affecting what is happening with our food and nutrition. The USDA is a major decision maker in the industry, but has seen its decline under current political power. The deregulation of many previous strict guidelines is imminent. We have withdrawn from Paris Climate Agreement.

There is some good news, though. First, San Francisco ordinance requires reporting of all antibiotics use by meat and poultry industry. There is hope that this will spread across the country. Second, the Farm Bill is likely to set good standards on eating and farming for five years to come.

#10 Future Supermarkets

Supermarket industry should think about how the stores should look like in the future. 4 wall structures might be gone as more and more people switch to online shopping and personalized experience. Taste, education, and excitement should take the center stage in modern supermarkets. We are talking farms, restaurants, educational experience, and groceries under one roof. Technology and artificial intelligence should assist shoppers in making informed decisions.

Food halls are popping up all over the country and invite us not to buy, but to try something new, taste, ask questions, and expand our horizons. This should be a future concept for every supermarket that cares about its success in the future.