In January this year Google produced their Food Trends Report for 2016. By pulling together the highest volume searches in the food category between January 2014 and February 2016 the smart people at Google have been able to identify those North American food trends that have experienced year on year growth. The report is fascinating and an interesting read for anyone with any kind of interest or involvement in the food industry. Below I have included some highlights.
1. Functional Foods
It’s no secret that Americans are seeking to understand the ingredients in their food from more than just the perspective of taste. Now more than ever consumers want information about the impact of particular foods on their body and how consuming an ingredient will benefit their overall health and wellness. Some of the top trending functional foods are turmeric (which grew in search volume by 56% November 2015 – January 2016), apple cider, jack fruit, avocado oil and cauliflower rice.
As much as healthy foods are definitely snagging the spotlight this year, quinoa, kale chips and agave nectar are on the decline as ingredients like bitter melon and cheese curds take over.
2. Food as a Cultural Experience
Consumers are looking to experience international cultures through global cuisine. Pho, Ramen, Bibimbap and Empanadas are all on the rise as users search for recipes, “how to” videos and local establishments that serve these foods. Another cool trend associated with global cuisine is the associated content that is developing up around them. Some of it is practical, and some definitely less so. Check out this YouTube video of the Pho Song by Richie Le featuring Rafael with almost 900K views.
3. Adventures with Pork
According to Google, our fascination with bacon and pork is evolving. No-one is interested in bacon cupcakes (that was a thing?) or bacon cinnamon rolls (what???) anymore and instead prosciutto, uncured bacon, bacon jam and new ways to cook the humble pork shoulder are taking off. Consumers are craving new information about how to cook familiar meat cuts in a new way. Slow cooking and pork in international recipes (think Korean BBQ or Cuban pork) are increasing in popularity.
4. Changes to Snacking Habits
Healthy, bite-sized snack foods that are convenient, easily made at home and can accommodate dietary restrictions are in demand. Things like “mug cake” (I’ve included a link as this was the first time I’d ever heard of a mug cake!) are rising stars, as well as snacks that are catering to individual diets like Paleo, Keto, Gluten Free and Vegan.
5. Pasta Makes a Come Back
Strange but true. It seems that gluten free might be slowing down as a food trend. Gluten free cupcakes and wheat free bread have declined steadily year over year while pasta is making a come back. Search terms that included pasta names like linguine and rigatoni as well as pasta based dishes like Mac and Cheese saw a 26% increase in 2015. As with pork, North Americans are looking for new ways to use familiar ingredients in their home cooking routines.
All these changes represent interesting opportunities for the food industry as consumers look to trusted brands to support them in their changing habits. Have you noticed any major shifts in the last year in your food industry or consumption experience? Write to us and let us know all about it….