Anyone who’s been in the food industry for a length of time has seen trends come and go, and often has to adjust their product offerings or marketing strategies to appeal to the next up-and-coming idea. For micro markets looking to make a splash in 2018, there are clear indications of what consumers are looking for when it comes to their food.
While last year was tumultuous in terms of leadership in the food arena and the evidence of legislative delays created frustration for some, it also opened major insights into where food is headed in the future. Let’s explore what 2018 might bring!
Health Conscious Consumers
Above all else, people are looking to the food industry to pave the way for healthier lifestyles. The promise of a new Nutrition Facts label was exciting for many, but as it’s now being delayed until 2020, it’s even more important for companies to be proactive when it comes to the health of their offerings.
From school lunches to grab and go items in micro markets, there’s an increased focus on lower sodium, fewer artificial colors, eliminating high fructose corn syrup, and more. Not only are consumers looking at food labels to ensure these elements aren’t present, but they also want to see organic ingredients, macronutrients, and sustainably sourced elements.
When thinking about the current food offerings in your micro market, it would pay to examine the quality of ingredients and the overall message of health that each item contains. Some are shifting their focus to more customized food options instead of packaged grab and go meals that make it harder to keep an eye on each individual ingredient.
Feeling the Flavor
Long gone are the days where healthy food is synonymous with bland and dry flavors. This year will see an increased focus on exotic tastes, with herbs and spices from Asia and the Middle East taking center stage. Consumers are more open than ever when it comes to experimenting with what’s on their palate, and micro markets would be smart to take note.
The age-old question often inquires how to combine robust flavors with healthy ingredients, and this year we seemed to have cracked the code. Substituting ingredients for healthier options is the key to the mystery, with added sugar being replaced by agave, stevia, and monk fruit. Salt is going out the window as well and is instead being replaced with vinegar, spices, and herbs to impart serious flavor.
Making It Work for You
As consumer preferences continue to shift and change, it’s important to note that food is headed in an interesting direction. Micro markets can set themselves up for success by expanding their offerings beyond the usual grab and go selections people expect and can start including exotic foods from around the world. Creating a focus on healthy foods with unique flavors that are transparent about their ingredients will no doubt place you in a position for consumers to love the items you sell!