Food Trends Influence Consumer Purchasing Patterns

June 26, 2014

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Grocery shopping isn’t what it used to be when it comes to what consumers place in their carts and the reasons behind their selections. The latest nutrition and shopping trends directly influence consumers’ food choices and purchasing patterns and it’s up to dietitians to keep up. Dietitians who keep their finger on the pulse of consumer food shopping trends are in a position to guide companies and brands in a direction to remain popular. Leading companies depend on information and insights from industry experts to understand what consumers are eating and drinking. By looking at consumer behaviors, attitudes, and motivators, dietitians can monitor trends revolving around diet patterns, nutrition perceptions, food safety concerns and brand awareness.

With recent increased attention on food and nutrition, companies are seeking advice from dietitians more than ever to differentiate fact from fiction and determine the best messaging for their products and brands. So what exactly are some of the diet, nutrition and food trends that are making headlines and influencing food-purchasing decisions in 2014? A new trend report from Today’s Dietitian surveyed over 500 registered dietitians to find out what consumers are likely to be eating and avoiding in 2014 and confirmed that many food and nutrition trends previously only seen among core natural consumers are moving into the mainstream limelight. According to the report, here are a few of the popular trends expected to emerge this year:

  1. Consumers have an insatiable appetite for nutrition and diet information.  According to 66% of the respondents, consumers’ interest in nutrition and weight loss will only grow in 2014.
  2. The (mis)information age.  Dietitians report that most (67%) of nutrition information is based on personal beliefs and half-truths rather than published peer-reviewed research.  And, 75% say that there will be a preponderance of misinformation to digest in 2014.
  3. Bloggers blog about nutrition and health.  Whether it’s a lifestyle, mommy or credentialed dietitian blogger, consumers are booting up their devices for diet advice.  Dietitians report that the topic of nutrition and health is booming on blogs and websites.
  4. More eco-conscious eats.  According to dietitians, consumers are looking for more eco-labels in 2014.  About 38% say that local is where it’s at and 31% tell us that their clients look for sustainable foods when shopping.
  5. “Low fat” falls flat.  While low carb remains strong, low fat gets weaker.  Dietitians predict that the low fat diet will be the least talked about plan for 2014.
  6. Anti-wheat sentiment.  According to our experts, consumers will continue to lean on wheat-deprived diet plans like the Paleo diet, gluten-free or “wheat belly” in 2014.
  7. “Health” is important in the grocery store.  When it comes to shopping for food, 95% of dietitians say that “health” is important to shoppers.  And supermarkets know this more than anyone – the Supermarket Dietitian is the fastest growing job classification in grocery stores nationwide.
  8. The nutrition pros promote MyPlate.  Looking for a great educational tool for creating a healthy diet?  Seventy-five percent of dietitians turn to MyPlate to help people eat right.

Additionally, the surge of social networking has a definite impact on consumer food choices. Food companies, retailers, and nutrition experts are using resources like blogs, recipe networks, apps and social media platforms to communicate nutrition messages to the public. More and more dietitians are relying on consumer influencers and social media to weigh in on nutrition trends and encourage the public to make healthier food choices.