Consumers’ demand for freshness is driving trends in restaurants and in aisles throughout grocery stores (not just produce and meat sections), according to a new “Freshness: Culinary Trend Mapping Report” from market research publisher Packaged Facts and strategic food and beverage agency CCD Innovation.
Consumers consider freshness a marker of artisan quality, good nutrition and full flavor, and look for it “in every corner of the food world,” notes CCD Innovation CEO Kimberly Egan.
The report summarizes key freshness trends, with stage 1 denoting a trend that is just gaining traction among creative chefs and adventurous diners, and stage 5 denoting a trend that has gone mainstream and is now on grocery shelves (and perhaps QSR menus):
* Ceviche (stage 1): Ceviche — raw fish marinated in citrus juices — is a cuisine staple in Peru and many Latin American countries. American chefs are adding unexpected herbs and vegetables to make it a fresh experience.
*Wine on tap (stage 1): Wine drinkers have enthusiastically embraced wine on tap, encouraging a growing number of winemakers and restaurants to respond.
* CSA programs (stage 2): Community Supported Agriculture programs — in which consumers typically sign up as members or subscribers to buy fresh food directly from farmers on a regular basis — are now expanding into new sectors of the food industry.
*Fresh fruit in entrée salads (stage 3): The “bistro salad” got glamorous in the late 20th century, and the trend has accelerated in this century. The range of foods being featured in salads, especially fruits, has grown exponentially.
*Natural grocery prepared foods (stage 4): The prepared foods trends and choices made by natural grocery stores are setting a new standard for mainstream retailers to continue providing fresh, healthful, on-trend eating options for diners at all hours of the day.
* Milk (stage 5): Fresh staple regular milk is now being joined by a growing number of milk varieties, including flavored milks, raw milk and goat milk.