Growing up in the Midwest in a food-industry family, I've had the opportunity to befriend an unusual amount of people that work for large food companies in varying capacities. Many of the people that I've met post-college work for the headquarters of our customers and competitors.

Competitors aside, I find that most of these people willingly offer me information regarding sales, potential problems, new products and upcoming food trends. Their perspective and insider-view is invaluable to helping me understand our customers' needs and wants. More specifically, the awareness of future food trends can help our Company to anticipate what our customers will be producing in the years to come, and help us to tailor our product offerings to their future needs.

As such, I thought I'd share some of the food trends:
• Butter (Margarine is trending out)
• Sea Salt (Lower in sodium than Table Salt)
• Kefir (The success of our customer Lifeway Foods has largely driven this trend)
• Greek Yogurt Products (The success of the Chobani company in upstate New York has largely driven this trend)
• Healthy Fats (Oils, Fish, Nuts, Olives, Avocados, Soy, etc)
• Stevia (on-caloric sugar-substitute derived from a plant)
• Artisan Cheeses from small producers
• Artisanal Heirloom Meats from small producers
• Local "superfruits" (Cherries, Blueberries, etc)
• Dark, Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Mustard Greens, etc)
• Eggs (Cage-free, Organic, etc)

The same company that's monitoring the above food ingredients and product opportunities is also carefully considering what they believe to be the three most influential lifestyle dietary trends for 2012:
• Portion Control
• Food Allergies (especially Gluten)
• A return to the traditional "Family Dinner"

While reading the above lists, I'm sure most of you immediately thought of products/services that Nelson-Jameson sells/provides that are specific to some of these trends. And, that's exactly my point. By maintaining a general awareness of the direction in which our customers are heading, we can better understand our customers' unique perspectives and continue to maintain Nelson-Jameson's identity as a knowledgeable, comprehensive food-processing supplier through proactively anticipating customer needs.