Allergen-free, humane food among Things to Watch in 2013

Report released by JWT marketing group.

Dec. 20—JWT, a marketing communications brand, has released its Things To Watch in 2013 Food & Beverage Report. This is part of its eighth annual forecast of key trends that will drive or significantly impact consumer mindset and behavior in the year to come. The food and beverage Things to Watch include:

Allergen-free: With food allergies rising worldwide—a 2011 study found that as many as one in 12 American children may have a food allergy, twice as high as previous studies found—the report predicts seeing allergen-free items becoming as ubiquitous as gluten-free.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds, once part of the Aztec and Mayan diets, offer protein, antioxidants and fiber, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

Faux meat: Meat substitutes are gaining adherents among the masses as more people cut down on meat for budget, health or environmental reasons and as faux meat gets tastier and more convincing.

Food sharing: The report mentions the rise of peer-to-peer services, from car-sharing to accommodation-sharing, which leads to an increase in food-sharing. Food sharing encompasses both meal co-ops—services like Mealku in New York and Super Marmite in Paris that enable sharing of home-cooked dishes—and concepts like Feastly that bring disparate diners together in the homes of amateur chefs.

Humane food: Consumers will become more concerned about the humane treatment of the animals they eat, a trend that’s already under way.

Menu-free dining: As more restaurants try to be all things to all diners in this era of fussy eating—catering to a multitude of dietary restrictions and food allergies—some are going in the other direction, adopting a limited-options approach.

Reduced-guilt candy: Consumers can have their cake and eat it too with candy that dials down on the sinful stuff and amps up the beneficial ingredients, says the report.

Teff: Consumed for thousands of years in Ethiopia, this supergrain has been slowly gaining favor outside Africa, due in part to its exceptional nutritional quality. Teff is gluten-free, full of essential amino acids, high in protein, calcium and fiber, and low in fat.

Vegetable boxes: Watch for this trend, which has long been popular in the U.K., to pop up in more markets and become a new revenue stream for brands and retailers. These boxes, delivered to customers’ homes, are packed with locally grown and mostly organic produce and sometimes meat and dairy products.

Vertical farming: In a bid to reduce its dependence on imports, Singapore recently opened the first commercial-scale vertical farm. Its 120 aluminum towers, each 30 feet tall, produce more than 1,000 pounds of vegetables a day. Vertical farming is reputed to be more environmentally sound than traditional farming and also enables year-round agricultural production.

Yogurt shops: Yogurt has been spiking in popularity, especially in the U.S., as consumers seek healthier snacks and functional foods, and embrace Greek yogurt.  

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

Ideas and Innovation
business card

We get the new folks abridged business cards saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so and I work in nutrition department.” We thought it would give them more ownership of the program and elevate their status and position in the organization. It also gives our team more self-confidence and self-worth as an employee, which can be a challenge with foodservice workers.

Ideas and Innovation
tug hospital robot

Automation has opened up in recent years as foodservice operators across the country grapple with labor shortages. Robots deliver food trays to patients in hospitals, and they make sushi on college campuses. For some operators, they’re worthwhile to reduce strain on human employees and increase productivity.

Robots roamed the hallways when the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s new Mission Bay campus opened last year. Though these robots have nicknames like Wall-E and Tuggie McFresh, they’re not a novelty. They’re a solution to a problem that administrators...

FSD Resources