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Top trends to watch for in 2012.

Simple & clean ingredient profiles--Expect to see a resurgence of a back-to-basics approach in what suppliers are putting in products. Fueled in part by the consumers' desire to know what is in the foods they eat and products they use, the less-is-more concept will be a hot trend this year. Categories such as cleaning products and HBC are expected to take off this year.

Gluten-free--As the number of those diagnosed with gluten intolerance and allergies continues to escalate, much attention will be paid to gluten-free this year. The evolving industry is expected to see less new companies entering the field and more of an emphasis paid to quality ingredients and higher nutritional profiles. While taste has dramatically improved, expect to see more inroads in previously lagging categories such as baked goods and cereal.

Non-GMO--Studies have shown that 93% of Americans agree that genetically engineered food should be labeled. As a result, a campaign is underway to petition the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop labeling for GE foods. As of early 2012, more than 500,000 consumers had signed on to this effort. As more attention is focused on this subject look for this to be a key topic among consumer blogs this year.

Local--New technology and business models are enabling the farm to actually get closer to the store. Companies such as BrightFarms, based in New York, whose rooftop hydroponic greenhouses designed for supermarkets are actually taking things to a new level and redefining the term "local." Observers predict additional creative ways suppliers will look to work with grocers to get more local products into stores. Some say local has the ability to surpass organic in terms of interest from mainstream shoppers.

Minimal packaging--Just like ingredient panels, when it comes to product packaging consumers continue to believe less is more. Research from the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), based in Harleysville, Pa., found consumers increasingly want minimal packaging in the products they purchase, look for products made with recyclable packaging and are environmentally friendly. According to NMI managing partner Steve French, marketers can attract new consumers by using less packaging and 'greener' packaging materials. "Consumers want to do their part to help the planet," says French. "Our research found renewable and plant-based materials are rated most environmentally-friendly among consumers." He cautions suppliers not to use environmentally friendly packaging at the expense of the product or its experience, noting there is a need for balance to be considered relevant.
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Publication:Grocery Headquarters
Date:Apr 1, 2012
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