OMAHA — Looking ahead to 2010, Phil Lempert, a food marketing expert (also known as: The supermarket guru) says new food products will reflect the value-based mindset of today’s consumers while also addressing issues such as label information and convenience.

"Americans are taking a hard look at every aspect of their food, from where it comes from to what's on the ingredient label," Mr. Lempert said. "Major brands are responding in positive ways to ensure they meet these consumer demands in 2010."

Mr. Lempert predicts the following seven trends for 2010:

  • Food brands will continue to use "real foods" on ingredient labels while also shortening the label's length -- less is more in the eye of the shopper.
  • In the wake of the recession, many Americans switched to private-label or store brands because they offer better prices. In 2010, major food brands will develop co-branded, private-label foods with retailers that will feature brands' key ingredients. This will fuel industry innovation while putting major food companies back in grocery carts.
  • In 2009, the economy sent millions of Americans back into the kitchen to prepare meals for their families. Americans have shifted away from the art and glamour of meal preparation and are now focused on preparing easy, great-tasting meals to nourish their families. The purer the ingredients and the less complex the ingredient label, the better.
  • People want to know where their food is coming from, especially in the meat case where the labels can often list multiple countries of origin. Expect a renewed interest in local butchers, long viewed as a figment of the past, who almost always sell American-raised meat. Not only that, but at the butcher's counter, shoppers can select the cuts of meat they prefer and have them ground or sliced on demand.
  • Expect more shoppers to depend less on advertising and more on social networking and word-of-mouth to help them make decisions on what foods to buy.
  • More brands will focus on positioning their products as "relaxation" foods rather than "comfort," with the message of helping people relax and unwind.
  • Brands will likely listen to and work to answer the collective call for healthful, quality foods at low costs.