Five ways food will be consumed in 2017

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How and where people source meals and the attributes and environment that consumers choose to spend their money on are ever-changing. According to The NPD Group, here are five overarching trends to watch in 2017:

  • The battle for share of stomach will intensify. For several years now, more than 80 percent of meals have been sourced from home; less than 20 percent have been sourced from foodservice, and dollars are evenly split between the two. Food manufacturers will benefit from a trend toward eating meals at home by capitalizing on consumers’ desires for fresh, authentic foods. Foodservice operators will increasingly leverage technology to conveniently get their food on the in-home table. At the intersection of this trend is the retailer, who will continue to blur the line between retail and foodservice.
  • Watch for the continued development of the “blended meal.” Consumers are dining at home more, and they value fresh and authentic foods, but convenience remains an important part of the equation. People don’t always source meals entirely at home or away. Look for various components of “homemade” meals to be sourced from items fully or partially prepared. Opportunity exists all along the preparation spectrum, from meal kits to restaurant delivery.
  • Companies will win by getting personal. Even in a mature, low-growth environment, there will be opportunities for double-digit growth, but more than ever the consumer is in charge. Access to information is empowering people to eat on their terms. Consumers will seek out foods with a variety of value-added attributes (fresh, natural, organic), positive benefits (energy, brain food, etc.) and social value (local, sustainable, transparent). Some of these opportunities may seem small by big company standards, but that is where the growth is.
  • The definition of meal occasions will evolve. People aren’t adding new eating occasions to their day, but the elements that comprise meal and between-meal occasions will continue to change. Foods that offer the flexibility to compose an eating occasion to fit specific needs at a given time will grow, whether packaged goods or foodservice offerings. Consumers will make choices on price point, portion control and portability — whatever allows them to craft a snack or full meal, spend a little or a lot, take a break or eat on the run.
  • Experience will make the difference. To stand out, food manufacturers, retailers and foodservice operators must go beyond sustenance. Consumers will seek out experiences, whether through exploring street food vendors, emerging ethnic flavorsor hands-on experiences, such as learning new food prep techniques. Connecting your product or brand to an experience people are eager to share with others can be an important differentiating factor in 2017.

Source:, 1/4/2017

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