Happy New Year! 2011 Food and Nutrition Trends

Hi everyone, great to see we all made it to 2011!

2010 was full of interesting developments in the food and nutrition space. The First Lady launched Let’s Move, to stop childhood obesity. The FDA and the FTC went with a new fervor after manufacturers’ misleading health claims. A renewed child nutrition bill was passed. Front of Pack Labeling was reviewed by the Institute of Medicine with some interesting conclusions. The FDA got more power to oversee food safety.

So what will 2011 bring?

1. Marion Nestle, Nutrition professor at NYU and one of our favorite bloggers, sees the following things happening:

* The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are due very soon (hey, does Uncle Sam know it’s 2011 already). Will the guidelines say anything about reducing our consumption of high fat, high sugar products? Or will the FDA wimp out and obfuscate with terminology such as “moderation”?

* The FDA is expected to release guidelines for front of package labeling of products. Will these guidelines reduce consumer confusion or exacerbate it? Here is something to think about: If only positive attributes are shown on a product, how will consumers ever get the whole picture?

* Companies will continue to find ways to “co-opt” critics:

Under the guise of corporate social responsibility, food companies have been making large donations to organizations that might otherwise criticize their products. The most recent example is the decision by Save the Children, formerly a staunch advocate of soda taxes, to drop that cause coincidentally at a time when its executives were negotiating funding from Coca-Cola.

Read more from Nestle’s blog, Food Politics.

2. The Food Channel has put together a list of top 10 trends including more men cooking, more emphasis on local food, people buying more often at farmer markets and specialty stores for meat, cheese and produce. Chefs in schools, on the heels of Jamie Oliver, will be improving our kids’ nutrition. Lastly, food apps. Whether they are restaurant guides, calorie counters, or product information, apps will make it easier for consumers to choose what food they want, in real time.

3.Food & Wine predicts vegetables will become sexier:

The stereotype of the vegetarian as wan and anemic is fading fast as a new generation of red-blooded men and women—from hard-driving chefs to football stars—push meat off (or to the side of) their plates.

Let’s hope this trend sticks!

4. Marketing research firm Mintel predicts the following for packaged foods:

* A quiet reduction in sodium, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup.

* the term “Natural” will come under fire and bring in the regulators. PepsiCo didn’t get the memo

* Blurring of product categories – beverages consumed as snacks, snacks as meals, meals as beverages.

More trends from Mintel here

Should be an interesting year. Lots for us to write about.

What are your predictions, wishes, or fears for the food year to come?

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  • http://ithinkitneedsmoreturbinado.blogspot.com/ s.l. menz

    You guys are the best newly discovered site for me, this year.

  • carol

    Good recap! Packaged (and restaurant) foods are getting healthier every year because consumers (and even the media and manufacturers) are getting more food-ucated. It has taken more than a decade, but we are finally seeing the “fruits.”

  • charlotte

    One can only hope the Food Channel sets site for what’s real in the realm of food. Almost nearly all of the shows focus on the celebrity chef and have nothing to do with food at all. Chefs like Jamie Oliver are given the boot because they don’t or won’t conform to satisfy the majority of sponsors or score big in ratings. If they really wanted to add some intelligence to the network, they’d showcase working farms and promote the quality, nutrient density and overall health benefits of what it truly means to eat REAL food, instead of Giada’s boobs conveniently popping out to the camera every chance they get whilst she bakes a cake from a box! The Food Channel is a joke, that’s why real chefs aren’t on it!

  • http://labelingmachines.org/ Zane

    I agree with what is written in a food channel, especially point 1. I also do not like canned food, because I can not see the food is healthy or not and there must be preserved. I only use canned food when winter.
    Once again, I agree if we have to use fresh food every day, usually I urge my wife to a local store or a ranch to buy meat and fresh vegetables.

  • http://www.UrbanOrganicGardener.com Mike Lieberman

    I think the movement towards local and whole foods will slowly continue. I think that the big brands will see this and try to capitalize on the movement. People will continue to take food back from the big corporations and bring it back into their neighborhoods and communities.