The Top Food Trends for 2010
TREND: CUTE & CLEAVAGE IS OUT
The Food Network might have built its following showcasing the hottest looking female and male chefs, but its over! With the success of Julie & Julia and the closing of Gourmet magazine, we are now seeing a move back to substance over glitz. The signal is clear, death to the foodie — and the rise of the “anti-foodie”; as we see less of the self-absorbed discussions on the perfect truffle or over-priced wine. By contrast, food programming today includes competitions, dramatic conflict, intimidating personalities, lots of glitz, sexy camera angles, and high energy. The food is just playing a part of the presentation, it is time for the food to be the star — which is what today’s shoppers believe it should be.
TREND: COMFORT FOOD TRANSFORMS INTO RELAXATION FOODS
Instead of relying on the “psychology” of comfort foods, brands are coming out with “relaxation” beverages with herbs and other ingredients designed to actually relax or put you to sleep. Brands like Drank, iChill and RelaxZen may well be the replacements for Vitamin Water and Gatorade. Look for this trend to quickly move to other categories including “anti-energy” bars, snack foods and even spawn a resurgence of calming after dinner drinks that you can enjoy at home.
TREND: LESS IS MORE
The food industry has woken up and discovered that by using “real foods” as ingredients as well as a shortened list. Not only are their foods healthier, but also consumers are buying them up. Brands that are proving the trend include: Haagen-Dazs 5, Healthy Choice All Naturals, Peter Pan Peanut Butter (the only major peanut butter brand with no high fructose corn syrup) and Campbell’s select Harvest.
2010 will be challenging as weather conditions impact the cost of raw materials and are likely to increase commodity and retail prices. The new smaller store footprint continues to expand geographically as well and within the established retail banners. Healthcare reform may well open opportunities for food retailers to establish themselves as key resources for consumers as well as fueling new food categories with a bullet-proof nutrition based science behind them.
The year ahead promises change. The question is “are we prepared?”
Advertising To Kids Under Scrutiny
Marketing and advertising by food marketers has often been scrutinized by government regulators and others. Just last week for example, Kellogg's stopped printing claims on some of its breakfast cereals that they promote immunity after receiving a letter from San Francisco's City Attorney stating that the “claims may mislead parents into believing that serving this sugary cereal will actually boost their child's immunity," as reported in The Food Institute’s daily e-mail update, Today In Food.
Concern well placed, as currently one in four Americans is under 18 years old — here in the U.S. that adds up to a population of 75 million. Looking ahead, The Food Institute found that the government projects this population will grow 17% over the next 20 years, or 88 million strong by 2030. And all of those children have parents, who may well be securitizing how food products are marketed to their offspring.
How much advertising are we talking about? According to The Federal Trade Commission, 44 major companies spent over $1.6 billion to promote food and beverages to children and adolescents in the U.S. in 2006. Of that, $870 million on food marketing directed to children under 12 and more than $1 billion on marketing to adolescents.
Yale University’s Rudd Center released a study last month and found that the average preschooler sees 642 cereal ads per year. This month, the FTC will be held a forum on the impact of food advertising on children, and the statutory and constitutional issues surrounding governmental regulation of food marketing.
The Food Institute held a webinar entitled Advertising to Children: Successfully Meeting the Challenges, on November 17th. Moderated by Professor James Tillotson of Tufts’s, the focus addressed what the FTC is looking for while regulating marketers. Featured speakers were Elaine Kolish and Wayne J. Keeley, Council of Better Business Bureaus and John Feldman of Reed Smith’s Washington, DC office. You will not want to miss this critical discussion which will lay the foundation for understanding the coming regulations.