2015 Specialty Food Predictions

Students attending culinary arts school online may notice the yearly industry trends. These range from macaroons and Nutella one year to kale and chia seeds the next. The Specialty Food Association helps entrepreneurs and artisans to adapt to the marketplace and hosts specialty food shows twice a year. They have created a list of predictions for the culinary industry in the coming year. Here are a few of those predictions:

Alternative proteins
The SFA predicts that alternative proteins that are more sustainable for the planet and easier to access for developing countries will make a big move into the commercial markets. Protein replacements like cricket flour and plant-based egg products will become more accepted and popular as consumers become more health and eco-conscious. Establishments like Bitty Foods, a bakery that makes high-protein foods out of cricket flour, have started selling their nutritious enriched baked goods to consumers online. Another company, Exo, is using cricket flour as “sustainable fuel” in its energy bars. With flavors like cacao nut, blueberry vanilla and peanut butter and jelly, the idea just might catch on. Many of these products contain no grains, gluten, soy or dairy and will appeal to those with food allergies or limited diets.

People will continue looking to get their sugar kick from anything that’s not processed. From brands used by baby boomers, like Sweet’N Low, to today’s brands like Stevia, people are changing the way they consume sugars. They are looking for lower-calorie versions that are considered more natural, like from honey and maple syrup or agave nectar. Some are even using monk fruit, a round green fruit about the size of an apple that contains anti-oxidants and vitamins and is naturally calorie-free. Several big-name brands like Chobani, Bolthouse Farms, Dole and Emergen-C are already using this fruit to sweeten their products, and many other companies are making the switch from processed sugars to ones found in nature.

Big happenings with packaging
The FDA has been overhauling food labeling for several years. Lately, businesses have been taking it upon themselves to change their packaging to better reflect the health benefits of their products. Product packaging has been changed to highlight the ingredient origins and claim the product is “natural” and “organic” or other more sustainable terms. The regulation of these labels as well as their usage will continue to change and grow in 2015, according to the SFA.

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