KANSAS CITY — A review of the year’s most read stories on Food Business News suggests readers wanted to learn more about retail and food service trends. Gluten-free, for example, remained a buzzword on menus and in new product launches from packaged food companies.

Readers showed particular interest in exclusive coverage of industry trade shows, including the National Restaurant Association’s annual show, the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting and Food Expo, and Sweets & Snacks Expo. Food trends highlighted at these events may offer an outlook of innovation in the New Year.

Here were the top 10 stories on Food Business News in 2014.

 

Indra Nooyi, chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo, highlighted five trends influencing business strategy at the company.

10. PepsiCo’s ‘new normal’

The company’s top executive in May highlighted five trends shaping the marketplace, including growth in emerging markets, an accelerated shift toward healthy eating, and disruptive advancements in digital technology. Read the full story.

 

Is gelato the next frozen yogurt?

9. The N.R.A. Show’s top 5 food trends

Greek cuisine, gluten-free and gelato were among top trends spotted at the National Restaurant Association’s annual show in May. Read the full story.

 

Whole Foods has added more affordable options, including conventional produce, in the face of rising competition.

8. Value shaping Whole Foods’ strategy

With more competition in the natural and organic space, Whole Foods Market has lowered prices and added more affordable options, including conventional produce. While such pricing actions weighed on earnings in the short term, the retailer’s value strategy is expected to benefit both customers and shareholders over time. Read the full story.

 

Price First, Wal-Mart's new private label line, includes peanut butter, pasta and snacks at opening price points.

7. Wal-Mart planning new private label launch

In August, executives of Wal-Mart Stores revealed plans to launch Price First, a new opening price point private label line including peanut butter, pasta, snacks, baking mixes and condiments offered at significantly lower prices than branded products. Read the full story.

 

Almond milk and other dairy alternatives are poised for more growth.

6. Slideshow: Ten food trends unveiled at I.F.T. 2014

Fears over food safety and food shortages were identified among top drivers in new product development. Innova Market Insights unveiled 10 industry trends during the Institute of Food Technologists’ Annual Meeting and Food Expo held June 21-24 in New Orleans. Read the full story.

 

Gluten-free products were among 150 new items launched by General Mills during the year.

5. High-protein, gluten-free products to debut from General Mills 

Among more than 150 new products introduced during the year from General Mills tap into consumer trends of gluten-free, protein, bold flavors, whole grains and indulgence. Launches included Cheerios Protein cereal and Gluten Free Chex Oatmeal. Read the full story.

 

Kroger said sales of its Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic products have soared.

4. Kroger’s Simple Truth simply astonishing

The Kroger Co.’s Simple Truth line of products has proven to be a success story. Executives of the retail chain said in March that sales have grown at an “astonishing pace.” Read the full story.

 

The introduction of Keurig 2.0 sparked a lawsuit from private label competitor TreeHouse Foods.

3. TreeHouse sues Green Mountain over Keurig 2.0

TreeHouse Foods in a Feb. 11 suit accused Keurig Green Mountain of anticompetitive acts to unlawfully monopolize the cups used in single-serve brewers. The complaint came in advance of the fall introduction of Keurig 2.0, a brewing system developed to reject portion packs produced by unlicensed manufacturers. Read the full story.

 

Whimsical flavors were on display at the Sweets & Snacks Expo in May.

2. Slideshow: New products unveiled at Sweets & Snacks Expo

Quinoa, cotton candy and everything in between popped up in new products showcased at the Sweets & Snacks Expo held May 20-22 in Chicago. Product developers are indulging demand for better-for-you, convenient options, but decadence and whimsy also are feeding innovation. Read the full story.

 

Miniature desserts are a top trend on dessert menus.

1. Dessert trends 2014: Sweet, single and ready to please

Out-of-home dessert consumption is on the rise as consumers expand their definition to include more nontraditional items and day parts. Miniature treats that may be customized to meet an individual’s flavor preferences and finger-food sweets for sharing are among top trends. Read the full story.