Trends shape our business strategy. They dictate what we sell and to whom we sell it. Now that we’re a few months into 2014, here’s a look at the promising food industry trends that may drive our next year:

The Dream of the ‘90’s is Alive in…Wisconsin?

Source: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board Source: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

Fans of the satire “Portlandia” know that the “Dream of the 1990’s” is alive in present-day Portland. But it seems that a particular philosophy of the 1890’s could gain favor in Wisconsin given a recent trend in the dairy sector.

An 1895 Wisconsin law that banned the sale or use of margarine in the Dairy State was repealed in 1967, but dairy purists might want to lobby for its reinstatement citing consumers’ recent rejection of food products that are heavy in trans fats, such as margarines.

According to the American Butter Institute, butter consumption is at a 40-year high in the United States because shoppers are looking for healthier, more natural food choices.  Thus, they are moving away from highly processed foods with artificial ingredients. Butter as a health food---who’da thunk it?

Quinoa is Sooooo 2013

Source: ABC News Source: ABC News

Americans’ hunger for exotic grains shows no signs of being satiated. Now that most consumers are familiar with the tricky-to-pronounce “quinoa”, they want more whole grains and seeds to fuel their allergen-free or lower-carb cravings. Amaranth, chia, millet and sorghum are some of the gluten-free ancient grains gaining popularity with those wanting wheat-free alternatives.

For consumers counting their carbs, Middle Eastern freekeh and Italian farro are two fiber-filled, protein-packed wheat strains that are predicted to gain popularity in 2014.

It’s a Small World After All

globeAmerican consumers have become increasingly worldly, and so have their dinner plates. Latin and Asian foods continue to dominate the trends, but new countries within those regions are vying for attention. Malaysian, Korean and Filipino foods are expected to lead the Indo/Asian food trends with traditional dishes like Laksa, Kimchi and Halo Halo. Brazilian and Peruvian cuisines are predicted to lead the Latin food trends.

With Brazil hosting both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, interest in Brazilian culture is anticipated to rise. Foods like churrascaria and acai are already familiar to some consumers, but Brazil’s national dish of feijoada completa is expected to gain popularity. In regards to Peruvian foods, the increased use of huacatay (pronounced wah-ka-tay), an aromatic herb used in Andean cuisine, is predicted to find its way into more prepared foods.

The New Poster Boy for a Healthy Diet is…Fred Flintstone?

Grilled meat on barbecue grill --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisYabba dabba do…eat your protein. The immensely popular Paleo diet dictates that we should eat like our caveman ancestors to maintain optimal health. This means consuming foods like seeds, nuts, eggs, plants and meat.  LOTS of meat. This quest for high-protein edibles has sent sales of processed meats surging, with the category expected to hit $800 billion by 2018 according to Food Production Daily. Enjoying particular consumer growth are deli meats, sausages, ready-to-eat meat cuts and jerky.

Just, Like, Friend Me on Facebook

facebook-group-iconICYMI, the oft-maligned millennial generation will wield major spending power over the next 20 years---a predicted $200 billion worth---so food manufacturers and marketers better “friend” this overstimulated, oversharing population segment ASAP.

According to The Nielsen Company, millennials are very comfortable with tech and social media---so much so, that social media has become their primary source for consumer reviews, reports and product discoveries. So, if you haven’t thought about your company’s social media strategy, now is a good time to do so. The immense millennial spending potential isn’t anything at which to LOL.