It’s time to redefine healthful foods, starting with the positive-sounding word “healthful.” This notion of promoting good health also focuses on the presence of beneficial nutrients and the use of inherently nutritious foods, instead of just the absence of certain ingredients that may negatively affect health when over-consumed. The New Healthful is also about the growth on new distribution outlets, new places where healthful foods can be found. As these increase, the existence of healthful food and beverage options alongside more indulgent ones will become an everyday occurrence.
This reports looks at foods that take the “healthful” label to new levels, foods made with purer, wholesome raw ingredients as well as those sourced from plants; foods that are lighter on the earth and created with sustainability in mind. Many are found in natural food and vegetarian restaurants, too. So, how can restaurant chains and manufacturers tackle this new sort of healthful?
Stage 1: Extraordinary Tap Water
Changes are brewing when it comes to offering more healthful, flavorful beverages. The convergence of several trends suggests that we are entering a new era of customized and personalized, healthful beverages created with superior tap water as the main ingredient. The Extraordinary Tap Water trend is fueled by the decline in calorific carbonated soft drink consumption on the one hand, and on the other growing interest in local, artisan crafted beverages, the desire to experience new flavors, and the avoidance of empty calories from added sweeteners.
Stage 1: Heirloom Whole-Grain Bread
Just as the artisan bread movement changed the dynamics for commercial bread, a new whole-grain bread focus could very well be the next influential wave. A growing number of independent bakers are interested in promoting locally sourced, heirloom grains and creating recipes to showcase these grains’ distinctive flavors and textures, all while providing the highly prized health benefits of whole grains. A natural extension of the local food movement, this commitment to using a wide variety of heritage grains is also a bid to bring grain’s inherent nutrition back into play.
Stage 2: Beans & Greens for Breakfast
Vegetable matter at breakfast isn’t unheard of, but we are seeing a new, keen interest in breakfasts enriched with vegetables and legumes on morning menus from vegetarian and health-focused restaurants, as well as in recipes and photos from bloggers and Pinterest users. Consumers realize that sugary, starchy breakfast foods won’t get them very far and are seeking out more filling options. This goes beyond the a token spinach leaf or two in a mainstream breakfast wrap--to copious amounts of roasted vegetables, beans and quinoa adding protein, and a new twist on a healthful breakfast, the breakfast salad.
Stage 2: Healthful Vending
Most of us don’t have high expectations when it comes to food from vending machines, but vending is seeing increased and exciting innovation. Companies geared to providing healthful food alternatives via vending machines are finding plenty of outlets to access hungry people with replenishing food – school, work, gyms, sports arenas, airports, hotels. It’s certainly easy to swap out natural food snacks for the mainstream ones that dominate the vending channel, but the real news is the growth of more nutritious products developed specifically for vending use. Oatmeal kits, grab-and-go tuna, fresh-cut fruit and vegetables with dips, and organic bowl salads are just the beginning of what could be a significant new market for development.
Stage 3: Vegan on the Menu
Since 2010, there has been a perfect storm of reasons for easing up on meat and dairy products and turning to plant proteins, fruits and vegetables: growing health worries among aging Boomers, growing consciousness of animal cruelty issues in today’s meat-producing industry, mounting alarm about sustainability, and a down economy where meat prices continue to rise. Hearing how veganism can do much good for preventing heart disease and diabetes, lowering cholesterol and shrinking waistlines, many people are giving the diet a try. As these new vegans join the longer-term faithful, the demand for more vegan choices on menus gets louder. And not just in specialty cafés with a focus on healthful fare, but in mainstream chains across America. We are delighted to report that many vegan menu options currently exist on chain menus; however, there is plenty of room for more vegan-centric choices in both foodservice and retail.
Stage 4: Chef-Inspired Healthful Kid Fare
Lucky for kids and parents, the latest approaches for tackling America’s childhood obesity epidemic revolve around chef-prepared and culinary-inspired meals that taste great and get kids truly engaged in eating more healthful foods. The efforts of a growing number of chefs are illuminating strategies that are beginning to make real, positive changes in how our kids eat.
Stage 5: Veggie Burger Renaissance
Americans sure do love their burgers. Just consider the tremendous “better burger” trend of the last several years. Yet we also know that more consumers are dining meatless and eschewing animal products altogether, many for health reasons. Contradiction? Not necessarily, for along with all those better burgers has come a renaissance of the veggie burger, giving every audience an opportunity to enjoy a good tasting, plant-based meal in that familiar and beloved burger form.
The Culinary Trend Mapping Report is an indispensable tool for those whose job it is to stay abreast of what's hot—and what will be—in the food world. The reports leverage the Center for Culinary Development’s signature Trend Mapping technique, a validated method for identifying which culinary trends are gaining traction and which are simply flashes in the pan.
Each 65+ page journal is packed with trends, data, strategies and insights on the food industry that simply aren't available anywhere else. To further enrich our already industry leading analysis, our reports now include new charts, listings, and other features based on results culled from Datassential MenuTrends, a database that tracks 7,000 distinct U.S. restaurants and over one million menu items.
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