Innova trends convenient foods
Foods with fewer artificial additives are growing in popularity.

ARNHEM, THE NETHERLANDS – Innova Market Insights said the “clean eating” trend ranks as an “overarching theme” in its top 10 trends list for 2016. The “clean eating” trend has inspired a back-to-basics approach in product development, according to the market research company.

“Clean and clear labeling and ‘free-from’ foods have all gained traction and moved on to the next level during 2015 while other emerging trends for 2016 include the rise of the part-time vegetarian (‘flexitarian’) consumer, interest in a return to food processing the natural or old-fashioned way, the search for permissible indulgence and the re-establishment of links to ‘real’ food,” said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova.

Innova ranked “Organic growth for clear label” as the No. 1 trend for 2016. “Clear label” refers to greater transparency and a focus on simpler products with fewer artificial additives. New global products tracked with “organic” claims rose from 6.3% in the first half of 2013 to 9.5% in the first half of 2015, according to Innova.

“Free from for all” was listed as the No. 2 trend. Many consumers do not actually need products free from gluten, wheat and dairy, but they still are demanding them, according to Innova. Industry has little choice but to respond.

The “’Flexitarian’ effect” ranked No. 3 on the list. Part-time vegetarians have reduced their meat consumption because of health, sustainability and animal welfare concerns. The trend includes the technological development and promotion of better-tasting products that resemble meat as well as alternative protein sources and animal-friendly processes.

“Processing the natural Way” came in at No. 4. Western consumers increasingly are aware of the health benefits of fermented foods. Newer technologies such as high-pressure processing may be seen as an alternative to using preservatives.

“Green light for vegetables” rounded out the top five. Hidden vegetable products may lead children to eat more vegetables. Adults may increase their vegetable intake through fusion smoothies and pastas with a higher amount of vegetables.

Also among the top 10 trends were “Creating a ‘real’ link” at No. 6, “Small players, big ideas” at No. 7, “Beyond the athlete” at No. 8, “The indulgence alibi” at No. 9 and “Tastes for new experiences” at No. 10. Innova did not provide detail on trends No. 6 through No. 10, but a Nov. 24 webinar will give an overview of all 10 trends.