SPM Communications, a leading U.S. food public relations and social media marketing agency, hosted brand leaders and media for a presentation in February with award-winning registered dietitian to discuss 2019's top emerging food trends and the changing dietary landscape.
Plotkin, who has served as an expert source for The Dallas Morning News, Today's Dietitian, HuffPost, CBS, Food Network, Fox News and more, is a nutrition and culinary communications consultant. She is a past chair of the Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is a former advisory committee member for the Art Institute of Dallas' Culinary Arts program.
She says the overarching trend toward mindfulness throughout the U.S. culture – in schools, workplaces, homes and places of worship – is a strong driver of 2019 food trends as people seek to balance how they nourish themselves with their values, beliefs and preferences when shopping, dining out, cooking and eating. Plotkin says the following are among the top 2019 food trends:
- Social and Environmental Transparency and Sustainability: Consumers want to know everything possible about a food or beverage prior to purchase, using technology to look at everything from ethically sourced ingredients and humane animal treatment to clean labels, fair wages for employees and environmental impact before making a purchase.
- Food Waste: Brand reputations are riding on companies' food waste stance, because consumers are starting to consider the issue when choosing a restaurant. The Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School estimates that recovering just 30 percent of wasted food could feed all food-insecure Americans and reduce 1.5 million tons of food waste annually from landfills, while producing more than $4.5 billion each year in economic value.
- CBD: Look for CBD-infused items in every category on the menu, from salad dressings and sauces to baked goods and ice creams. While CBD doesn't contain THC, the mind-altering chemical in marijuana, local governments are exploring the legality of these products, which may affect their availability in some areas for the time being.
- Rise of Bread: Bread is losing its villain status this year thanks to wider availability of non-wheat flours such as amaranth, millet, teff, chickpea, almond and many more. A rise in baking shows and celebrities who bake is also driving this trend.
- Gut Health: With mounting evidence to support the brain-gut connection, look for the rise of prebiotic-friendly foods, including Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, raw garlic and chicory root, in the form of bars, cereals and pouches that can be added to any food.
"These trends are in line with the health and wellness concerns of consumers today, from the very young to the aging population," said Plotkin. "Across the board, people are looking to their favorite brands to help them achieve their healthiest lives."
Other 2019 food trends Plotkin addressed include dietary confusion caused by multiple dietary theories and regimens, such as keto, paleo or Whole 30, often fueled by celebrities who share their eating plans daily on social media. She also discussed the resurgence of grazing boards and tables in both home entertaining and in restaurants.
"We have deep roots in food, restaurant and wellness brands and see it as our job stay ahead of the changing landscape," said SPM founder and President Suzanne Miller. "Robin is a longtime agency partner, and hers is the first of many food trend events to come at SPM."
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