America's fascination with self-improvement shows no signs of waning, and there's no shortage of new diet trends designed to help us reach our goals. Experts say the road to better health is paved with many new trends and a few old ones about to see a resurgence.
Here are the Top 11 food and nutrition trends.
1. Fresh Foods Made Extravagant
Colorful produce is receiving more play at supermarkets and farmers' markets. The reason is simple: Colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables sell well and provide consumers with a feeling they're eating healthier. Experts anticipate consumers will choose more fresh fruits and vegetables, packaged salad mixes, and such pre-cut produce as apple slices and chopped onions. These time-saving offerings may cost more than unprepared produce but will save big on calories.
2. Salt Solutions
Get ready for a salt shakedown. Thanks to consumer concerns, manufacturers are beginning to reduce the sodium in prepared foods. Health experts and government organizations have urged Americans for some time to cut salt intake. While the prepared foods may initially have a low sodium count, experts believe consumers will find the results too bland and add salt after preparation. Manufacturers need to figure out how to re-jigger their recipes to return flavor via healthy mixtures of herbs and spices.
Green living has become a part of the American lifestyle. From recycling to composting, eco-think has become ingrained. Buying locally grown food is a part of this movement, but when it comes to price, consumers don't see them as cost effective. As with organic foods, however, the more people purchasing locally grown foods the more prices will decrease.
4. Standardized Nutrition Labeling
The general public wants to know what's in the food they eat but present nutrition labels can be confusing and not well standardized. In addition, supermarkets distort some of the nutritional benefits of their food products. Nutrition evangelists are speaking up of late, demanding standardization of the labeling symbols and spreading the word about the true value of foods labeled as "healthy." First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a campaign against childhood obesity that includes education and and a call of consistent, regulated labeling.
5. Exotic Tastes
Some food experts say we'll be looking to exotic spices and side dishes to perk up our diets. Interest in culinary adventure, changing palates and the availability of diverse ingredients.
6. Quality Calories
As our waistlines continue to expand, quality calories will come into sharper focus as many consumers age, become more health conscious and raise families. Although 100-calorie packages are a great convenience, many consumers are starting to move towards produce or nuts for nutrients without preservatives. As this trends grows, consumers will begin to expect foods with a nutritional punch. Manufacturers will have to pep up cereals or entrees with more nutrients from natural foods and spices. The revised USDA Food Pyramid makes it easier for consumers to create healthy diets.
7. Herbal Essences
Different and exotic herbs and spices are beginning to replace sodium. Manufacturers will use ginseng, guarana and taurine to pep up bland products and give consumers the edge they need to keep up in our fast-paced world. Too many herbs, vitamins and minerals, however, can be a bad thing. Americans may begin to experience health problems related to these extras loaded into energy drinks and prepared foods. Too much of any good thing can cause a health problem.
8. Food Cocooning
The floundering economy has brought out a desire for the comforts of home and hearth. Americans are returning to the traditional family dinners and dinner parties. Research confirms families who eat meals together benefit emotionally as well as nutritionally. For example, children who eat meals with their families do better in school and are also less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
9. Recession-proof Eating
Unable to afford eating out, even at fast-food restaurants, consumers are eating more meals at-home, seeking value and comfort.
10. Boomer Nutrition
Communities, employers and organizations have begun to offer nutrition classes to stem the costs of health care. While these classes are helpful for all ages, the aging Baby Boom generation will particularly benefit as they seek to maintain their youthful looks and enery.
11. Allergy Proofing
More consumers have become sensitive or allergic to peanuts, lactose, wheat and other ingredients. In response to this spike, manufacturers have created allergy-friendly foods that omit the top eight allergy-inducing food products.
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