9 years ago

I love Earth Day because it recalibrates me back to living sustainably as best I can! It also gets me thinking about all the things on the horizon when it comes to living green, including my food choices. Below are some of the top food trends that I predict will be leading the way to a healthier future. 

Real Food, Real Flavor, Real Color 
Out with the fake stuff and in with real food. Real foods will play an important role in the development of new products, as the trend of high-quality real foods with authentic flavor and ingredients continues to grow. Artificial and synthetic flavors and colors will be replaced with food grade pure flavors and colors. So, things like FD&C Red Dye #40 will be replaced with beet color, and artificial vanilla (a.k.a. vanillin made from industrial petrochemicals) will be replaced with the ultimate pure Madagascar Vanilla. Bring it.

Health and Wellness 
A term we hear A LOT in the food industry these days. Healthy lifestyles are not a trend; they’re a way of life that many are adopting to feel better, look better and to help prevent disease. Nutrition is being recognized as one of the most proactive ways to deal with health challenges and to keep medical and prescription bills down. We’re seeing a landslide of products that are made from superfoods like berrieskale and chia seeds. Health trends are also pointing to reduced meat consumption so expect more meat alternatives that are soy-free and gluten-free. Reduced meat consumption can help reduce industrial meat practices, which is not only good for you, but good for the environment.

There’s No Such Thing as Trash 
No, seriously almost everything can be reused or recycled, so waste reduction will continue to grow in the food industry, and with consumers. It’s now a common sight to see shoppers carrying their own reusable shopping bags to our stores. Still, there’s a ton of material many of us continue to schlep home when shopping — cellophane, paper and plastic bags, and cardboard used in the packaging of many common items. Much of this wasted packaging can be avoided simply by buying bulk, bringing your own reusable shopping bag, and staying clear of plastic bottled water. At my home we have a triple osmosis water filter and lots of reusable water bottles. Easy and making a difference.

Non GMO 
It’s by far one of the most talked about and controversial food topics in the industry right now, and it’s not going away. Despite the failure for many state ballot initiatives (CA, WA and even MN), consumer demand for non-GMO products continue to increase. According to New Hope Natural Media, non-GMO products are one of the fastest growing categories in the natural food industry, and surprisingly growing at a faster rate than organic foods. Folks, organic regulations prohibit the use of GMO seeds, or ingredients that come from a GMO source. My prediction is once people understand that ORGANIC IS NON-GMO, and offers no harsh pesticides or chemicals to boot, organic foods will continue to grow. Go organic!

Bea James, senior manager of organic, natural and sustainable programs