SEATTLE, Jan. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Looking for the hottest new happy hour in town? Check aisle 4. Experts say many supermarkets may soon offer happy hours and beers on tap. This comes from the annual list of top U.S. food trends and predictions compiled by MSLGROUP's specialized North America food PR and marketing team.
MSLGROUP's food and beverage experts monitor trends and industry research, and counsel America's food industry from farm to fork. For 2013, the team correctly predicted the expansion of single-cup and ready-to-drink coffee innovations, an exploding interest in high-protein foods, and consumer demand for transparent food labeling.
"Many of this year's top food trends have to do with new ways in which companies will engage shoppers, both online and offline," said Steve Bryant, Director, North America Food & Beverage, MSLGROUP. "Of course, we expect continued growth in mobile communications. But retailers are also seeking to modernize offline engagement, staffing registered dietitians to help shoppers make healthy purchases and expanding in-store food service offerings, like cafes and food courts."
As for this year's ingredient and flavor trends, Joy Blakeslee, the registered dietitian who directs the MSLGROUP's North America Culinary & Nutrition Center, says they'll be driven by health-conscious consumers. "Shoppers are really interested in things like portion control and satiety. As a result, we expect to see more protein-rich and savory fare this year, including the rise of Middle Eastern cuisine, beans and other legumes," said Blakeslee.
1) Middle Eastern Fare Adds Spice. Traditional Middle Eastern dishes will see a boost in popularity, while Middle Eastern spices, such as sumac, za'atar and marash, will be used to expand the flavor profile of other ethnic foods, including Mediterranean cuisine.
2) Wood-Fired Cooking Turns up the Heat. Mankind has cooked over open flames for millennia, but this organic, back-to-nature method is set to catch fire. The trend began with pizzerias but will expand as on-trend restaurants build kitchens with wood-fired ovens front and center.
3) Bean Bonanza! Rich in protein and naturally gluten-free, beans have worked their way out of the can and into an array of new products, including chips, crackers, dips and snacks. As Americans embrace meat alternatives and trends like "Meatless Monday," expect to see more beans and other legumes, including edamame, white beans, black beans, red lentils and yellow lentils.
4) Dessert's Not-So-Sweet Side. Opposites will attract as we see the emergence of sweet and savory desserts, featuring intense flavors and even a dash of spice.
5) "Wine-y" Millennials? Consumers ages 21-34 drink more wine than any other demographic. They'll make up 40 percent of the population over the next few years, so the popularity of wine is expected to rise for years to come. Cheers to that!
6) Coming to a Store Near You: The Supermarket Dietitian. Consumers may speak to their doctor twice a year, but they visit their supermarket once or twice a week. Many stores will begin staffing in-store dietitians to help shoppers make healthy purchases or cater to specific dietary needs.
7) Food Companies Encourage Portion Control. It may seem unlikely: food companies wanting consumers to eat less. However, food manufacturers will make portion control a top priority, offering smaller versions of favorite foods and encouraging consumers to follow dietary guidelines.
8) "Happy Hour in Aisle 4." Grocers will expand food service offerings, dedicating more retail space to cafes and food courts and even offering happy hours and beers on tap.
9) Foodies on the Fly. Companies will continue to cater to smartphone-wielding foodies, offering more bite-sized content, including recipes and cooking demos delivered via mobile devices. In addition to using smartphones to choose a restaurant, reserve a table and share the experience, more diners will analyze the nutrition of the meal and pay the check.
10)Shoppers Go Social For Deals. Savvy shoppers, especially young shoppers, will increasingly expect special offers and discounts delivered to their fingertips via social networks.
About MSLGROUP's Food & Beverage Team
A category leader, the Food & Beverage team of MSLGROUP is devoted to creating economic value for the nation's food and beverage industry. It operates in offices throughout North America, representing leading food and beverage brands, and manages a state-of-the-art Culinary & Nutrition Center in Seattle.
MSLGROUP is Publicis Groupe's strategic communications and engagement group, advisors in all aspects of communication strategy: from consumer PR to financial communications, from public affairs to reputation management, and from crisis communications to experiential marketing and events. With more than 3,500 people across 100 offices worldwide, MSLGROUP is also the largest PR network in fast-growing China and India. The group offers strategic planning and counsel, insight-guided thinking and big, compelling ideas – followed by thorough execution. Learn more about us at: www.mslgroup.com + http://blog.mslgroup.com + Twitter + YouTube.
About Publicis Groupe
Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is one of the world's leading communications groups. We offer the full range of services and skills: digital (DigitasLBi, Razorfish, Rosetta, VivaKi), creative services (BBH, Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi), public affairs, corporate communications and events (MSLGROUP), media strategy, planning and buying (Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia) and healthcare communications, with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG). Present in 108 countries, the Groupe employs 60,000 professionals. www.publicisgroupe.com | Twitter:@PublicisGroupe | Facebook: www.facebook.com/publicisgroupe | Linkedin : Publicis Groupe | http://www.youtube.com/user/PublicisGroupe |Viva la Difference!