7 Trends in Clean: Beyond Diets -- Consumers & Eating Plans

September 4, 2017
Ingredients Trends Health
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Move over diet. “Lifestyle change” is where it’s at. Considered by many to be a dirty word, the term “diet” is headed for the archives, like “floppy disk” or “icebox” Consumers are increasingly focused on making lifestyle choices that they believe can positively affect their long-term health when it comes to eating. This sub-topic is connected to what we have identified as overall clean trend of “Seek and Avoid is the New M.O.”

Although the word “diet” is decreasing in popularity, traditional weight loss plans like Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig still attract consumers, and lifestyle diets like Paleo and Vegan clearly have found followers. From food swaps to healthy indulgence, let’s explore eating plans affecting the consumer eating landscape, and how your products can stay on track.

Consumers’ Attitudes About Weight Management/Healthy Eating

Before we can dig into the plans, let’s take a minute to review some consumer “diet” stats and trends.

• 66% of consumers currently have some form of weight loss goal (lose, maintain, or gain weight)

• 58% of dieters are seeking long term solutions while 18% opt for the get-slim-quick route.

• Baby Boomers should be a key target market for innovation, since they represent 23% of the population and nearly 70% can be considered overweight.

• 83% of consumers believe healthy food can taste great, (especially women with 88% of women believing this.)

Eating Plans Attracting Consumers

Today’s attractive eating plans must feel fresh, attainable and should be conduits to long-term successful weight management. Some are centered around avoidance of certain ingredient categories while others take a balanced approach incorporating everything but not all the time. And others rely on swapping out food groups or ingredients for more nutritionally sound ones. Check out the food plans that consumers like enough to make it their lifestyle, not their diet.

Lifestyle Commitments

Paleo – Long called the Caveman Diet, the Paleo diet is centered largely around protein, fish, whole fruits and vegetables and eliminating dairy, refined sugar, cereal grains, potatoes and processed foods. In 2011, there were only three new products with a Paleo claim—five years later, there were 175 new products, and already 102 in the first half of 2017.

Vegan/ Vegetarian - Certainly not a new way of life since its popularization in the 1970s, vegetarianism has increased in acceptability. It is estimated that there are as many as 16 million vegetarians and approximately 22 million who follow a vegetarian-inclined diet in the United States. The number of American vegans is approximately 1 million consumers so while the market is small for innovation purposes, it certainly is on the upswing. The number of restaurants offering separate vegetarian menus has also increased 53% in the last three years. It is even suggested that a vegetarian way of life could cut consumer’s chance of becoming obese in half.

Flexitarian – Predicted as one of the biggest food trends of 2017 by Whole Foods, Flexitarian is, well…flexible. Flexitarians eat meat when it suits them and the 25% of American consumers who ate less meat in 2016 signifies that this is a lifestyle that might be here to stay. In the U.S., meat consumption is down as consumers accept more plant-based and meat alternatives like ancient grains.

Food Swaps

There are a growing number of consumers relying on the idea of swapping perceived negative ingredients for healthier, more nutritious ones.

Forty-four percent of consumers admit to cooking more than they were in the previous year and choosing to use less red meat and incorporate more vegetables.12 Eating more fruit (52%), fish (39%), fiber (37%), pulses (32%) and protein (27%) appeals to consumers.
Veggies In / Carbs Out

Manufacturers like Green Giant are getting in on the action, developing a line of riced vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli giving consumers easy convenience to create healthy variations of fried rice, mashed “potatoes” or tater tots. These swap creations appeal especially to Millennial men who want to add more vegetables to their diets but don’t want to forgo the way they are used to eating. Coming up with your own “swap” driven applications will help to broaden your appeal to the health-conscious consumer.
Plant-based In / Dairy Out

More than ever, consumers are seeking to reduce or eliminate the dairy in their diets and the industry has paid attention. The tasty plant-based alternatives recently launched might be the reason that going dairy-free is not so painful, especially given the appealing flavors that surround them. Winning the dairy-free hearts of consumers is Califia Farms, a market leader in plant-based milks, coffee creamers, and coffees and new products seem to come out every month. Two to look out for: the new Ginger Turmeric Spice Blend Almond milk and the Toasted Oats and Almond Nutmilk, chock full of drinkable oats.

Big on Moderation

There is no question that consumers want to have their cake and eat it too—literally. The idea of “everything in moderation” is certainly not new but portion control can be the problem for many consumers. A few diet programs are making it more simple for consumers to understand how much they should be eating to achieve the objectives they want.

Beachbody – Recognizing that consumers need a hand knowing what a healthy portion size looks like, fitness company, Beachbody, has taken the guesswork out. The plan depends on consumers filling a certain number of colorful plastic containers, portion measured for each food group. The consumer decides what goes in them based on a personal portion calculator and list of approved foods.

If It Fits Your Macros - IIFYM (or the “macros” diet as it’s sometimes called) is the ultimate in flexibility and freedom. Consumers, health-conscious or otherwise, struggle with diet plans that dictate strict meal plans, food lists and portions sizes. The IIFYM gives consumers a daily caloric goal and they can choose the foods they want to eat based on a simple ratio: 40% carb /40% protein /20% fat.

Product Introductions of Note

Here’s a peek at some new product introductions that are taking a cue from popular eating plans (and offering convenient ways to stick to them.)

• Fat Snax: Ginger Turmeric Cookie that is friendly for Keto and Paleo lifestyles

• Green Giant Veggie Tots offers one full serving of cauliflower in each serving.

• Oprah’s new food line, That’s Good, features comfort foods with nutritious ingredients such as white beans, butternut squash and cauliflower

• Ancient Nutrition Vanilla Bone Broth Protein is paleo friendly, made from real bone broth and contains 20g of protein per serving

• Califia Farms Ginger Turmeric Spice Blend Almond Milk is free from soy, gluten, dairy, carrageenan and GMOs.

How are You Innovating for Consumers’ Evolving Lifestyle Food Choices?

More and more, consumers’ food choices reflect eating patterns that are centered on a balanced lifestyle for long-term health. Whether incorporating more nutritious foods, eliminating certain food groups, or making healthy swaps, consumers are hungry for products that help them accomplish their goals.

You want to help your consumer get and stay healthy, and we want to help you. FONA has the right flavor for your health focus, and we can help you overcome taste challenges inherent in nutritional ingredients. Whether you’re tasked with sugar reduction or increasing protein, let’s get you there. It’s time to talk to FONA.

Contact our Sales Service Department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or chat with us at www.fona.com/chat

Sources: Mintel, Mintel GNPD, TheRawfoodWorld.com, FoodInsiderJournal.com, Global Data: Top Trends in Prepared Foods, 2017.