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Food Trends to Think about in 2013

Author: Phil Lempert

The Independent View


Phil Lempert
Food Trends to Think about in 2013  

 December 20, 2012 


Snackable mini-meals and frozen foods will take center stage in supermarket aisles next year while dads and Millennials get more comfortable and powerful in the kitchen. In the coming year, we predict the most dramatic food changes are not what consumers are eating, but rather how they are eating and who is doing the shopping.

Read on for more on the major trends we will see for 2013:

  • Snacking and Mini-Meals: Think smaller bites and more frequent eating patterns that reduce overall portion size and increase variety. Restaurants will add more small plates and appetizers to the menu while grocery stores and food companies will offer new snacks with appropriate pre-portioned options to take the guesswork out of portion sizes. According to the NPD Group, more than half of Americans snack two to three times per day, while one in five eating occasions is a snack.

  • Men in the Supermarket and Kitchen: Men and dads are getting more comfortable and powerful in the kitchen. Look for supermarkets to increase their focus on men as they've become more active in shopping, meal planning and cooking. According to a June 2012 survey from Cone Communications, more dads than moms (52 percent compared to 46 percent) plan meals for the week ahead.

  • Evolution of Frozen Foods: According to NPD Group's National Eating Trends, fewer meals are made from scratch (59 percent in 2011, down from 72 percent in 1984) because many simply don't have time to spend in the kitchen. This year the myth that home-cooked is always more nutritious than frozen gets debunked and marketing extolls facts like frozen fruits and vegetables are typically harvested in season and flash frozen—and costs less; reinforcing the FDA statement that there is virtually no nutritional difference between fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables.

  • The Impact of Millennials: Supermarkets and food companies will cater more toward Millennial consumers with affordable foods that are flavorful and ethnically diverse. Millennials love food, and their passionate interest is led by their desire to understand where foods are from, preparation and how food is served. A recent Jefferies Alix Partners study found that Millennials are also deal seekers and are much more focused on finding the lowest price over brand loyalty.

  • Breakfast Becomes the Most Important Meal of the Day: The breakfast conversation is shifting to what foods are best to eat for breakfast, and taking breakfast foods into other day parts as the price of protein continues to rise. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the cost of both beef and chicken will increase by at least 5 percent due to the 2012 drought and declining supply. Anticipate a major shift in the nation's protein food supply away from meat-based proteins and shifting to meatless proteins like eggs, yogurts, nut butters, tofu, beans, legumes and these breakfast foods to move into lunch and dinner to maintain high protein levels and save money.

  • The Boomer Reality of Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease: A recent study by ConAgra Foods found that eating canned tomatoes provides the greatest source of antioxidants to Americans' diets—more than any other non-starchy vegetable. Boomers will control more than half the dollars spent on grocery foods by 2015, look for more heart-healthy antioxidant-rich foods including oily fish such as salmon, as well as green tea, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, popcorn, berries and whole-grains to take over supermarket shelves.


Phil Lempert