8 Nutrition Trends to Watch In 2016

by Janet Little

Photo credit: Robin Jolin

1. Ancient Sprouted Grains

People continue to seek authentic culinary experiences while trying to maximize their nutritional opportunities. Ancient sprouted grains are the perfect hybrid of these two trends. According to SPINS, a leading information provider for the Natural and Specialty Products Industry, sales of ancient grains such as Kamut, spelt and amaranth have been growing at a rate of over 100 percent annually1. Additionally, the increasing number of people with gluten-sensitivities has led to an increased overall awareness of the homogenization of our diets as it pertains to grains. People are learning that there is a lot more out there than just wheat, and sprouted grains offer a strong boost of nutrition. In fact, packaged grains labeled gluten-free have shown a 29 percent increase in growth2.

2. Plant-based proteins 

With the attention being paid to the health and environmental consequences of eating meat, people are seeking ways to fulfill their protein requirements through plants. Sales growth of vegan products has grown by 10 percent at multi-outlet grocery retailers3. New combination-nut butters and protein-boosted nut milks along with products containing alternative ingredients such as pea protein and chia will continue to rise in popularity.

3. The Anti-Artificial Movement 

Watch for companies to continue to “naturalize” their products as customers increasingly reject flake flavors and colors. Even major food manufacturers with heritage brands are getting on board and re-engineering their recipes. People also will seek “simplicity” in foods looking for products without a long list of ingredients.

4. Natural Alternative Sweeteners 

As obesity rates have soared to over a third of adult Americans and diabetes affects 9.3 percent of the U.S. population, interest in alternative sugars is rising. Low-glycemic sweetener coconut palm sugar has shown a 78 percent increase in sales growth while still-hot zero-calorie stevia has grown 32 percent. Sugar-alcohols maltitol and xylitol have also shown growth at 33 percent and 23 persent respectively4.

5. Natural Baby Food 

Baby food grows up! Consumers are increasingly rejecting anything artificial for themselves as well as their children and are choosing organic baby food both for health and environmental reasons. And the newest trends in baby food mimic those of adult food, with more sophisticated flavors, superfoods and protein.

6. Natural Stress Relievers 

After years of over-caffeinating with coffee and energy drinks we are starting to see a growing need for products that relax us. “Calming” functional products such as beverages or supplements will see a rise in popularity.

7. Better for You Desserts 

There is an increasing awareness of the effect that high fructose corn syrup and sugar have on the body, which is leading to a trend of desserts with a higher nutritional profile. Companies such as Artic Zero and Miss Jones Baking Co. are capitalizing on this trend with dessert options that are better for you and devoid of artificial ingredients.

8. Millennials as Cooks

Now that millennials are coming into their own they are becoming more accomplished in the kitchen and looking for education and products to support their culinary endeavors. Spice blends and easy baking kits give millennials the convenience they seek while still feeling as if you are creating a meal from scratch.

1SPINSscan Natural, 52 Weeks Ending 7/12/2015

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