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FOOD FORECASTS FOR 1993 -- AND THE YEARS BEYOND

 WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Wildly colored food products and a new meaning for "greengrocer" will be among the top food trends in 1993, according to those who study the future. Beyond 1993, look for food grown in "factofarms" rather than fields and for containers that will heat or cool as well as store their contents.
 The National Food Processors Association (NFPA) has assembled a list of food forecasts for both 1993 and the years beyond. These forecasts are made by scientists, public policy analysts, marketing experts, and others who study the future of the food industry.
 Top food trends will include:
 -- A growing number of brightly colored foods will come onto the market -- everything from blue Jell-o to green Hawaiian Punch. Food manufacturers will produce foods that taste like traditional food products but that look radically different. Who'll eat them? Mainly kids. Christie Hoyer, a sensory evaluator and market researcher with NFPA's food research laboratory in Dublin, Calif., thinks most adults still will prefer natural-looking food.
 -- A "war" could develop between science and public policy as scientific and medical advances render existing food safety laws obsolete. Absolute bans on pesticide residues, for example, become impossible to enforce as scientists develop the ability to detect infinitesimally small traces of these substances on foods. The food industry argues new laws are needed that will permit regulators to allow the use of beneficial farm chemicals that, in these tiny amounts, pose no health risk to humans -- but activist groups are likely to continue to pressure legislators to pass or reaffirm absolute bans on such residues.
 -- Irradiated foods will become more available and commonplace around the world. Some food producers will treat fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, and other foods with radiant energy to retard spoilage or destroy bacterial contamination.
 "Considering that 25 to 30 percent of the world's food supply is lost to spoilage or pests, it may not be surprising that 35 countries currently use irradiation to safeguard certain categories," says Pam Montgomery, a food scientist at the Noble Idea Center. Irradiated foods already are on the market in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Israel and Japan. No irradiated foods are currently on the market in the United States.
 -- "Greengrocers" will take on a new meaning as a growing number of consumers choose food products based on the environmental attributes of their packaging. National, uniform "green marketing" guidelines for the use of environmental claims in advertising and other marketing efforts were approved this summer by the Federal Trade Commission. Information about downsizing of packaging, use of recycled materials, and other food packaging innovations that maintain food safety while helping reduce solid waste will be provided to consumers on food containers and in food advertising. Subsequently, more and more consumers will make choices on the food products they buy based in part on whether the packaging is recycled, recyclable, biodegradable, or reusable.
 The New York Times quoted Lisa Collaton, a policy analyst for the Environmental Action Foundation, saying, "Use of environmental marketing terms is not a right, it is a reward for those who take that extra step to make environmentally beneficial products."
 LOOKING FURTHER AHEAD
 Further into the future, many fruits and vegetables may come from "factofarms" rather than the field. Food science will likely develop the ability to grow -- in a laboratory or factory-like setting -- only the part of the plant desired, such as the juice sac of the orange, according to science writer Walter Truitt Anderson, author of "To Govern Evolution." These factofarms would be energy- and resource-efficient, requiring far less water, topsoil, and pesticides than traditional agriculture. Moreover, factofarms could allow drought-stricken or land-poor nations to produce a dependable supply of food.
 Food packaging also will become more and more high-tech in the future. For example, some food packages will contain short-term heating or cooling elements that, when activated, will bring the package's contents to serving temperature within minutes. The package would then become the serving bowl -- after which it would be recycled. "Advances in packaging design and function will be limited only by the imagination -- and environmental concerns," says futurist Marvin Cetron, president of Forecasting International, Ltd. "The demand for multi-functional food packaging will continue to grow in the future."
 NFPA is the scientific voice of the food industry, concentrating exclusively on food issues. NFPA's three research laboratories serve the association's 500 member companies, who produce the nation's processed-packaged fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, juices and drinks, and specialty products.
 THE TOP FOOD FORECASTS FOR 1993
 Top food trends in 1993 will include:
 -- A rapidly growing number of unusually colored foods will
 come onto the market.
 -- A "war" could develop between science and public policy
 as existing food safety laws become obsolete.
 -- Irradiated foods -- from meats and poultry to fruit and
 vegetables -- will become more available and commonplace
 around the world.
 -- Consumers increasingly will choose food products based on
 the recyclability or reusability of their packaging.
 -0- 12/14/92
 /CONTACT: Timothy Willard of the National Food Processors Association, 202-637-8060/


CO: National Food Processors Association ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

DC -- DC016 -- 6830 12/14/92 15:19 EST
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Date:Dec 16, 1992
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