OMAHA, Neb. – Phil Lempert, aka the Supermarket Guru, who works closely with ConAgra Foods and its retailers to analyze and forecast trends in the food industry, is predicting six trends Americans can expect to see in 2011.

Lempert’s predictions include:

  • Value and convenience continue to top shoppers' lists. In 2011, consumers will utilize mobile food applications at every point in the grocery store. Instant messages boasting specials will target shoppers' likes and dislikes and offer savings. In the aisles, a scan of an item's bar code will provide detailed information to inform purchasing decisions, and at the checkout, mobile devices will "talk" to the self-checkout and download coupons, frequent shopper bonuses and deduct the total bill from the shopper's checking account. Also, the next generation of restaurant apps will allow visitors to pre-order from the menu.
  • This year’s efforts to slim labels will continue as brands' ingredient statements shrink in length and feature simplified language.
  • Driven by research emphasizing vitamin D deficiencies in Americans, expect naturally occurring vitamin D to be touted everywhere, stressing convenient sources of the important nutrient. This will be especially prevalent in the dairy aisle.
  • As consumers and retailers begin to understand that it is impossible to have all food produced within 100 miles of where they live, look for regional to emerge based on the tastes and culture of the areas where they're sold.
  • As the Gulf repairs itself, anticipate a spiritual and economic rally to support New Orleans and the region's seafood. Retailers will create major themed promotional events that extend well beyond Mardi Gras to position the Gulf Region as the new epicenter for food.
  • As the impact of the economy, rise of store brands and cost of R&D converge on bottom lines, brands will solicit meaningful customer input in an effort to offer great value while controlling new product failure rates. Companies will sample truly innovative products in stores before they hit the shelves as brands prepare to battle it out for shopper dollars.