Kale. Chances are you’ve had it–either juiced into green smoothies, massaged into salads or baked into crispy little chips. If not, you and Popeye are missing out. But more importantly, where was this dark, leafy green five years ago? Certainly not on any supermarket shelves I shopped at.
Keeping up on food and nutrition trends is one of my favorite parts about being a Registered Dietitian. I love tasting all of the latest food fads–everything from kale chips to cronuts–and enjoy demystifying those diets that promise you weight loss and all the cupcakes you can eat. We also know what you’re eating–or not eating, how you’re trying to lose weight and where you’re getting your nutrition facts from. You can see why this has made us the go-to food & nutrition resource for consumers, brands and the media.
A recent poll of 500 Registered Dietitians, conducted by Today’s Dietitian and Pollock Communications, unveiled a forecast for the top food and nutrition trends of 2014. Here’s a recap of what’s to come this year:
1. Ancient grains are “in” again. They’re back and nutritionally superior than many modern-day, refined grains. Some to check out this year include quinoa, wheat berries, and millet.
2. The kale, coconut oil and chia craze continues. Kale and chia seeds are unarguably two of the hottest superfoods as of late and coconut oil–rich in plant-based saturated fat–will remain wildly popular among dietary fat fanatics.
3. Belief in the “wheat belly”. Regardless of the conflicting evidence to support wheat-free and gluten-free diets for weight loss, Paleo and gluten-free diets will remain the most popular among those looking to control their weight.
4. Health is a hot topic. When it comes to the grocery store, almost every dietitian surveyed said “health” is important to shoppers. Coincidence that the Supermarket Dietitian is the fastest growing job in grocery stores these days? I think not!
5. We’re using MyPlate to fill your plate. Thank goodness the Food Pyramid finally crumbled because quite honestly it was confusing even for us dietitians. This year we’re all about using the USDA’s MyPlate to help teach you how to fill your plate with more nutritious foods.
6. You are celebrity doctor, trainer and chef-obsessed. Television doctors, trainers and chefs will continue to stir up food and dieting dialogue in 2014.
7. You do as you see on TV. Consumers are comparing their habits to recommendations from TV personalities and health-centered television shows. Friends and family are also popular references of comparison.
8. Health bloggers are hot. Consumers are more frequently turning to healthy lifestyle bloggers for a daily dose of workout inspiration, nutrition knowledge and delicious, healthy recipes.
9. Local & sustainable foods are favorable. These were the two most trendy terms among consumers shopping for groceries.
10. Personal opinion often overrides research. An overwhelming amount of your nutrition knowledge is based on personal opinion and falsities rather than scientific research–and there’s likely only going to be an increase of misinformation in 2014.
11. Being more comfortable the weigh you are. The number of consumers who are comfortable with being an unhealthy weight seems to be on the rise this year.
12. Consumer interest lies in nutrition & weight loss. Though it may seem contradictory to #10, you’re highly interested in nutrition and diet information.
13. The low-fat trend is finally fading. Consumers are adding more fat back to their diets since recent studies have shown that “low fat” doesn’t necessarily lead to less body fat. Thank goodness because I love my olive oil, avocados and a strip or two of bacon every so often.
14. Fruits and veggies first. Eating more servings of fruits and veggies was ranked the most important diet tweak to improve overall health this year. I’d be surprised if this were any different than last year, but I certainly agree!
Interesting report, isn’t it? As consumers, what food & nutrition trends do you foresee for 2014?