Top 10 Functional Food Trends for 2004
'Functional' Replaces 'Tasty' as New Food Buzzword
April 14, 2004 -- Americans want healthier food. And the food industry is
rushing to fulfill this new desire.
The new buzzword is "functional foods." You'll be seeing fewer
labels promising "more taste" and more promising "low-carb,"
"all-natural," "less sugar," and even "alive."
A. Elizabeth Sloan, president of Sloan Trends & Solutions Inc., details
10 new trends that are changing the look -- and contents -- of grocery shelves.
Sloan's report appears in the April issue of Food Technology.
- Better eating. Americans want less bad stuff and more good stuff in
their food. Look for more foods that reduce heart-damaging trans fats, and more
foods fortified with vitamins and minerals.
- Carbs begone. High-protein and low-carb foods are selling like
hotcakes used to. It is not just dieters. Two-thirds of people not on a
diet want fewer sugars, carbs, and fats in their food.
- Child health. Half of U.S. households would trade convenience for
health benefits when it comes to feeding their kids. Also, kids themselves seem
to be going for healthier snacks, such as yogurt.
- Healing power. Heart-healthy foods appeal to two-thirds of shoppers.
And 40% of consumers say they're changing their diets to reduce
- Must-have ingredients. From fish oils to cholesterol-lowering plant
sterols, Americans want healthy ingredients in their foods. Look for more
products claiming health-enhancing properties.
- Better beverages. Experts predict Americans will buy more bottled
water than coffee or beer. Artificial flavors are losing ground to drinks with
"all natural" claims. Antioxidant tea products are all the rage. And at
least one brand of coffee is adding herbs and minerals to its beans.
- High-Power. Energy drinks are the fastest growing supermarket
category -- with sports drinks right behind.
- Restaurants to the rescue. Want to downsize that? Responding to a
drop in sales of take-out food and less eating out, restaurants are offering
healthier alternatives. Menus now offer low-carb and low-fat alternatives,
smaller portions, and fruit and milk instead of cookies and soda.
- Natural gourmet. One-third of consumers want to be able to choose
organic foods. And 30% of consumers want to have a meatless meal at least some
of the time.
- Small world. It's not just America. Our 130 million overweight
citizens have a lot of company: 170 million more overweight people around the
world. The global weight-loss market is a staggering $240 billion.
If this looks like the 80s all over again, Sloan warns marketers that the
new health trend is the strongest yet.
"America's approach to health is different this time," she writes.
"[It's] more aggressive, more sophisticated, and most assuredly here to