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What is on the Table for 2015



My mother went to the grocery store once a week and bought most of the food items we would consume for the next week.  My family would visit a grocery store several items a week and purchase food we would consumer over the next few days. The trend for 2015 is to not visit the grocery store at all and have the food you will eat that day delivered to your home, after placing the order on line. This is just one of the trends in the food industry that will dominate in 2015. It also represents trends that will change the kind and type of food that more and more Americans will consume.  For those of us who produce food, these trends are key indicators to watch.


One of the fastest growing trends in the food industry is not the kind of food being consumed, but how the food is being bought and delivered. The evolution of on-line food shopping is changing fast. Amazon has been selling and delivering non-perishable food for some time, but now services that deliver perishable food items to your door in a matter of hours are growing.  Online grocery shopping and delivery has become a crowded space with a host of services competing for consumer attention.


This trend allows everyone who sells food and beverages to be in the same-day delivery business without having to add additional operational infrastructure. Once considered a luxury for those living in metropolitan areas, revenue gains among food and beverage e-commerce/delivery service indicate the trend will expand to mainstream consumers living in both urban and rural areas. Services like Fresh and Instacart make it possible to have perishables like Healthy Choice® Café Steamers delivered to your door in less than two hours. With this in mind, products will evolve and be catered to online shoppers. More brands will bundle multiple SKUs to create meal kits or offer pre-packaged sets of multiple products. In 2015, a mom can order a complete meal on her mobile phone when she leaves work and have it delivered by the time she gets home.


There will be some changes in what that mom will be putting on the table as well. The popularity of smoked foods will continue to increase, say industry experts. The demand for smoked foods has risen as chefs began to apply smoking and grilling to add some sizzle and impart new flavor to other proteins and alternatives like vegetables, butters, and even cocktails. And, with smokers gaining in popularity in backyards across America, at-home cooks are also experimenting with smoking non-traditional foods. The smoking craze is not just for meats but also for a whole new variety of food products. For example, tomatoes are one of the most popular non-meat items, and that fresh-from-the-grill smoked flavor can now be found in Hunt’s® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes. In 2015, look for even more smoked flavors to emerge in the grocery aisles, menus, and recipes.


Another food trend for 2015 is fermented foods. Food products like yogurt, tempeh, and sauerkraut will take center stage. These foods contain live cultures, or are preserved in liquid so their sugars and starches can become bacteria-boosting agents. After multi-year growth of gluten-free foods and probiotics, many consumers have found their digestive health improved. In fact, a survey from ConAgra Foods found that nearly 50 percent of Americans have changed their diets to help improve digestion, with nearly 20 percent doing so in the past year. 


The craft beer market has revolutionized the beer industry. Today more and more people are drinking locally brewed beers. In Indiana alone, there has been an explosion of local brew houses that make and sell local beers. This trend is moving into the food sector. In 2015, look for this trend to extend to other beverages and food, as millennials in particular continue to seek unique tastes and foods with authentic origin stories. Marie Callender’s® Razzleberry Pie, made with whole Oregon Marion berries and North American red raspberries, is an example of a food that looks and tastes homemade but is found in freezer aisles nationwide.


I recently moved to a new community and, thus, had to find a new grocery store. What I found was a chain that had spend millions of dollars to re-design its store to be a unique shopping experience. Supermarkets have evolved from straightforward centers where consumers could buy groceries to purveyors of lifestyle. Present day supermarkets are developing a variety of services that help set them apart and to establish each outlet as an ambassador of niche lifestyle trends.  In the near future, we can expect supermarkets to further specialize in order to present their customers with a unique experience that showcases their personality and philosophy toward foods – instead of presenting themselves solely as vendors of goods. 


Finally Supermarket Guru®, Phil Lempert, has identified two major trends related to some of the oldest and youngest food consumers. Lampert says baby boomers are grazers, “Ninety-one percent of people say they snack daily, according to Nielsen research.  While snacking is on the rise among all ages and genders, research shows that snacking among consumers over the age of 65 could contribute to additional years with a higher quality of life.” Lampert says at the other end of the age spectrum is Gen Z, the demographic group born after Millennials (1995 to present day). They bring an entirely new set of food values to the kitchen table. “Exposed at a young age to more flavors and variety than previous generations, Gen Z’s collective attitude toward food is simplicity and health. They tend to use stove tops rather than microwaves for cooking meals and fresh ingredients to prepare foods. Research by NPD Group indicates some of their favorite foods to cook include eggs/omelets, hot dogs, potatoes, and chicken, which they can ‘dress up’ with their own unique touch.”


These trends will have an impact on not only what Americans eat but how they cook their food and where they purchase it. All of these will, in the long run, impact the food production system. These trends will also influence consumer attitudes and opinions on how farmers should produce food.

 By Gary Truitt