Five key food and drink trends in 2014

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food and beverage_ssShoppers’ attitudes are changing – bad food is out and feel-good food is in. Partly due to the press, Brits are starting to feel more guilty about what they’re putting in their mouths and want to know more about where their food comes from. This in turn is having a big impact on the food and drink industry, meaning some interesting trends are about to emerge.

Guilt-free convenience

Brits still want their food to be quick and convenient, but they don’t want to feel guilty about it. To tackle this issue, some companies have been introducing products that are similar to ready meals, except the customer has to do the last step of the preparation process. Market research firm RTS Resource says this makes the customer feel good, because they feel as if they have done the cooking, even though most of the work has already been done for them.

It also makes the meal seem healthier, as these convenience foods aren’t marketed like ready meals, which have been on the receiving end of some very negative press in the past.

High protein foods

The press often writes about the fact that carbohydrates and saturated fats are very bad for you, but not a bad word is ever said about protein. Thus products filled with high amounts of protein are becoming much more popular, especially with men. In particular, foods marketed as high in protein and low in carbohydrates are favoured by consumers, as they send across a positive message. Many people typically see healthy foods in a slightly negative light because consumers feel forced to eat them, this isn’t the case with these new high protein products.

Innova Market Insights predicts that dairy products are going to take the lead in this area. It expects that Greek yoghurt will be the most popular high protein food choice.

Caffeine-free food and drink

Caffeine is widely seen as a negative thing to put into the body, especially in excess. Instead, more consumers are looking for natural highs, products that keep energy levels up without the need for caffeine. Although this trend has existed before, these sorts of products have been limited to the soft drinks category and are usually only found in health-food shops. Next year, consumers can expect to start seeing them appear in the wider beverage market, as well as snacks.

Tea and tea-flavoured products

Brits love tea and it’s predicted that they will be buying a lot more of it next year. Not regular tea, but different varieties, such as fruit tea, black tea, green tea and white tea. Tea based cocktails will also rise in popularity, as will tea flavoured dinners and desserts. This trend has been largely fuelled by the fact it’s seen as a healthy thing to drink, as there are a number of health benefits – giving consumers lots of reasons to drink more. For example, tea (especially the green kind) contains a lot of antioxidants, which can help the body burn fat and protect it against various types of cancer.

‘New’ superfoods

Consumers are rediscovering certain superfoods, such as chia and freekeh, with super seeds becoming particular popular due to the number of people with tree-nut allergies. Quinoa, another superfood, has proved very popular in the past, so experts predict these ancient grains to follow suit. In addition, there’s expected to be even more interest in super vegetables like parsnips, artichokes, kale and salsify.

Brits are getting fussier about what they eat, a growing number of people have special dietary requirements, either because they’re a vegan or vegetarian, or they’ve chosen to cut gluten out of their diets. This trend has pushed the popularity of certain superfoods up and consumers can expect to see a lot more products featuring these ingredients in their local stores next year.

The upcoming food and drink trends say a lot about how Brits feel about their health and what they put in their bodies. With obesity on the rise, it’s no surprise that many consumers are looking to cut the fatty foods out of their diets and include much healthier snacks. However they want to do this without giving up their convenience foods too, as a busy and active lifestyle means most Brits feel as if they don’t have time to cook a whole meal from scratch, or at least not every day of the week. It remains to be seen if any of these trends will actually take off next year, but it certainly paints a positive image for Britain’s health.

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