Top Ten Food Trend Predictions for 2014

November 21, 2013

This year we conducted a survey with the Consumer Panel on behalf of ConAgra Foods to surface, identify and shine a light on the latest trends and jointly share these with food retailers and further explain the impact and opportunities. Here are our top ten predictions.

Last year we predicted how weather conditions around the globe would affect crop yields and impact food production and prices; little did we know just how big that impact would be. 2012 brought us the worst drought in 50 years, and created havoc on over 60% of all farmland here in the United States. There is little doubt that, just as the USDA has predicted, food prices will continue to rise for many years to come. The average American spends less than nine percent of their income on food, which is the lowest percentage of citizens of any other country, and less than Americans spent back in 1982 (13 percent) Yet even modest food price increases will affect both retailers and consumers in the coming year.

Snackable mini-meals and frozen foods take center stage in supermarket aisles this year while the “IndieWoman,” Millennials and dads get more comfortable and powerful in the kitchen.  For 2014, we predict the most dramatic of food changes. 

Since 2008 we have worked closely with ConAgra Foods to develop and publicize our Top Trend Forecast. This year we also conducted a survey with the Consumer Panel on behalf of ConAgra Foods to surface, identify and shine a light on the latest trends and jointly share these with food retailers and further explain the impact and opportunities.

For a more in-depth look at each trend check out The Lempert Report Videos starting tomorrow November 22 – each episode is a single trend.

Our Top Ten Predictions:

1. The Emergence of the “IndieWoman”: Almost 31 million strong, the “IndieWoman” is 27 and older, lives alone and has no children and spends $50 billion on food and beverages each year. They have no time, so look for more brands to offer more semi-homemade meals that use fresh, high-quality ingredients.

2. Better for You Snacking: The NPD Group found that as snacking increased, so did an individuals' overall diet quality. Healthy options are on the rise. Look for supermarkets to replace high-sugar, high-fat snacks at the checkout with healthier on-the-go offerings.

3. Brands Reach Consumers Locally Through Cause Initiatives: In 2014, brands will find greater purpose in serving the larger community.  The ConAgra Foods survey found that 62 percent of consumers appreciate and want to support companies that donate to important social causes.

4. Click to Cook: People rely more on their mobile phones when grocery shopping. Next:  the ability to select a recipe, order ingredients and check-out directly from mobile devices or in-car touch screens and drive-through windows for quick order pickup.  

5. Supermarkets--The New Culinary Schools: Grocery stores create “community cooking centers” where shoppers can collaborate and learn from each other, just as they have been doing in social media – now it’s better, and in person!

6. The Retailer Becomes the Brand: The ConAgra Foods survey found that 53 percent of consumers shop at a particular retailer because it has good store brand products. No longer will private brands just emulate national brand products, but consumers will see more private label brands creating new unique products.   

7. Rise and Shine--The New Way to Start Your Day: Breakfast remains one of the most important meals of the day. In 2014, consumers will look to add more protein to their first meal, to live a healthy lifestyle without compromising taste and indulgence. Look for more protein-rich and convenient breakfast options.

8. Packaging Evolves to Share More with Consumers: Consumers want more information, but the area of the package is limiting. Using a mobile device, shoppers will learn more about an ingredient or health claim by simply focusing the device on the label to tell where the ingredients come from, who prepared the food, the company’s history and even offer other customer reviews and ratings.

9. Millenials Make the Supermarket Social: 57 percent of Pinterest, is made of food related content with one-third saying they have purchased food or cooking items after seeing them on site, according to a survey by PriceGrabber. Next up: “click to buy” for consumers looking to purchase ingredients for a recipe on Pinterest and have them delivered to their homes.

10. International Restaurant Flavors At Home: From school cafeterias, to the dining room table, global flavors are sprouting up everywhere. Kids become exposed to global cuisine flavors much younger so, international flavors will be more accepted by these, and their palates will be more sophisticated. Kids influence nearly 80 percent of purchase decisions by families, so look for all shoppers to be eating more international inspired foods.

Be sure to watch all 10 of The Lempert Report trend videos for a more in-depth discussion on each trend.