Among food industry insiders, health is a major hot topic. But how can retailers, CPG brands and restaurateurs know for sure that the health and wellness trend actually extends into consumer preferences? Online search data is one indicator that can shed some light on the topic.
According to a recent report from Google, health and wellness is a trend that definitely extends to consumer preferences, with functional foods, personalized and customized food choices and single-serve snacks ranking among the top food trends of the year, based on search data. And Google’s report is not the only indication that health is a legitimate and important trend in the food industry. SmartBrief’s coverage of the food retail, CPG and foodservice industries reflect the trend too. With Google’s findings that function, personalization and individual servings leading consumers’ search for healthy foods, we took a look at how the findings relate to our coverage in recent weeks:
According to Google’s data, consumer interest in foods that are considered functional is rising very quickly, compared with other categories, with turmeric leading the year’s search terms in relation to functional foods. Other foods making an appearance among the top functional search terms include kefir, coconut milk and lactose free milk and cheese. The report revealed that consumers are familiar with the benefits of many functional foods, but they are looking for guidance when it comes to learning about preparing the foods.
“The digital behaviors tied to functional foods present opportunities for brands to educate consumers on the benefits associated with each ingredient, as well as provide methods, tips, and recipe content for consumption,” the report said.
Check out some of SmartBrief’s recent coverage related to this trend:
- Tropicana to debut probiotic juice line
- Food and beverage brands reposition to meet functional needs
- Carbonation could feature more prominently in functional beverages
- Health benefits position naturally functional beverages for growth
- Probiotics create opportunities, challenges for beverage makers
Personalized and customizable foods
Consumers are not only looking for healthy, functional foods. They are looking for healthy, functional foods that meet their personal needs, from flavor preferences to dietary preferences, Google’s report found. It revealed that some of the most popular search terms associated with snacking include vegan, paleo, no egg and gluten free. Through their searches, consumers are seeking information on ingredients and how they can use them to get the most out of their diet and feel the best they can.
“Consumers are more complex when it comes to food choices, and snacking has become more personal. Brands will need to offer more than just customization based on flavors, but dietary restrictions, as well,” the report said.
SmartBrief found consistent information in the latest food and beverage news:
- Report: Millennials crave customizable meals
- Raley’s program to help shoppers take small steps toward health
- Smashburger caters to local tastes with specialty burgers
- Gen Y drives new trends in customizable pizza
Bite-sized and single-serve snacks
When it comes to snacking, Google’s report found that functional and personalized are not the only criteria consumers are searching for. According to the report, consumers are also looking for bite-sized and single-serve snacks. Consumers are turning to snacks that are already broken up into single servings to control their portion sizes and because they are convenient.
“Consumers are craving quick snacks that are easy to prepare at home. They’re turning to their favorite influencers to get recipes and tips on fun snacking,” the report said.
Read SmartBrief’s coverage to see more about this trend:
- TreeHouse Foods: Private-label, single-serve drinks see meteoric rise
- Millennial shoppers drive demand for single-use products
- Organic Valley to add single-serving grassmilk yogurt cups
- Velveeta debuts mini cheese blocks
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