Five Hot Food Trends for 2012

The most familiar refrain that we hear from our clients in the food business is “What food labels do you offer that are new?” No matter the economy, people continue to eat, and astute food entrepreneurs have shown creativity to maintain, if not grow their product offerings as we get to see all kinds of new ideas in the development stage. In fact, the recession has sparked a renaissance of industry creativity. So, what do we expect to be among the top 5 hot food trends for 2012 for food retailers?*

1. Artisan baked products: Increasing in popularity, artisan originally referred to handcrafted foods but is now becoming mainstream, with major chains touting locally baked fresh artisan breads, like rye with poppy seeds and fluffy pastry, like french butter croissants as a selling point. Smart consumers are asking for new twists on old formats, like wraps, scones and sandwiches and astute retailers know an opportunity when they see one.

2. So cool but so hot: Ice cream shows no signs of slowing down, and now with new ideas, like “snow ice”, a dessert with the flavour and creaminess of ice cream and a light, airy texture that may be big for 2012, the future looks promising. Savvy consumers are asking for new twists on old formats for ice cream as well, like using exotic ingredients to make wasabi ice cream.

3. Appetizers for those with a small appetite: Whether you call them tapas or appetizers, smaller-sized portions keep going strong for several reasons. They’re less expensive for the cost-conscious and are made for sharing, which appeals when eating is seen as a social experience. Retailers like them, too, because “Home Meal Replacement” (fully or partially prepared) appetizers allow them to experiment with new recipes and ingredients without committing to a full-scale portion.

4. Mainly Mediterranean: More consumers are asking for Mediterranean products, like French, Greek and Spanish items made locally. A growing interest in eating vegetarian and ethnic foods are among the factors in Mediterranean food’s popularity, so break out the Ciabatta Miche Loaf already.

5. Healthy Foods: Trends like Diabetic, gluten-free foods and products catering to those with food allergies will continue to grow as the population ages. Watch for cakelets and salad selections in portion sizes, and low-sodium products to grow in popularity.

- Brian Weller, President of Precision Label and Tag Inc.

Brian Weller is the President of Precision Label and Tag. To learn more about his business and their services, visit their website here: http://www.precisionlabel.ca/