OMAHA – Smaller, more frequent eating patterns will be a big trend in 2013, said Phil Lempert, also known as the Supermarket Guru.
Lempert said smaller bites and more frequent eating patterns will be a trend to help reduce overall portion size and increase variety. Restaurants will add more small plates and appetizers to the menu, and food companies will offer snacks with pre-portioned options, he noted.
Other trends to affect the food industry in 2013 will include the role of men in the supermarket and kitchen. Lempert said supermarkets will increase their focus on men as they have become more active in shopping, meal planning and cooking. Some supermarkets are even experimenting with “man aisles” of male-oriented foods and products.
Frozen food also will be big in 2013 as fewer meals are being made from scratch and there is an increased emphasis on nutrition in frozen foods.
Food companies are going to be catering toward millennial consumers with affordable foods that are flavorful and ethnically diverse as this group will represent 19 percent of the population by 2020.
Smart phones and technology are having a role in the food industry with programs to network with kitchen appliances and allow consumers to check how much food they have left in the refrigerator and turn on the oven from another room. Other possibilities include applications to check to see if foods have been kept at the correct temperature.
Breakfast will continue as the most important meal of the day, although there is debate on what foods are best to eat for breakfast.
Consumers remain interested in where their food comes from and what it contains, so supermarkets will take a larger role in requiring proof and transparency in claims, Lempert said. Supermarket dieticians will have a major role in consumer education.
Due to the rising costs of beef and chicken, there will be a shift to other proteins, including eggs, nut butters, tofu and beans.
Consumers are becoming more concerned with wasted food and likely will check expiration dates, opt for portion-controlled freshly frozen foods and recipes to use leftover food.
Baby boomers also will make purchasing decisions based on concerns about diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.