T op food trends to look for in the new year...

2016 Food Trends 

With consumers calling for health-conscious and greater flavor varieties, food and beverage companies are gearing up to deliver! Here are some of the top food trends you can look for in the new year.
  • Year of the pulse.The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses, and pulses are popping up everywhere. Beans, dry peas, lentil and chickpeas are baked into chips and pasta, flavored and packaged into ready-to-eat cartons or served in soups and salads. Consumers will see varieties of hummus made with different beans, such as edamame, white beans or red lentils.
  • Grab-and-go salad kits. Prewashed and packaged salad mixes are nothing new, but individual salad kits will gain popularity in the new year. Single serve salad kits, geared toward the rising number of consumers who live in a one-or-two person household, also speak to the consumer desire for convenience, portability, and a smaller environmental footprint.
  • A fresh take on frozen meals. Gone are the days of the traditional TV dinner. Today, many companies are trying to put a new spin on an old favorite by offering unique, globally inspired entrees and flavor combinations, or innovative ways of cooking, such as paper pouches for steam cooking in the microwave.
  • Sprouted grains go mainstream. Sprouted grains, which started as a natural foods niche and have been steadily gaining popularity in recent years, and will continue to do so. Touted for their higher proportion of nutrients as compared to unsprouted grains, the health-conscious consumer is embracing them in cereals, snack bars, breads, rice, and risotto mixes.
  • Packaging tells a story. Companies, both big and small, will continue to use packaging to tell their story and call out attributes that are popular with consumers. Whether a commitment to sustainability, transparency with ingredients and sourcing, or nutritional benefits, packaging must support the brand and fulfill shoppers' needs. In line with the increasing transparency many companies are embracing, we will see more front-of-pack call-outs as well.

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