Eating at home, saving money dominate 2012 trends
BakingBusiness.com, Dec. 7, 2011
by Staff

OMAHA — Phil Lempert, commonly known as the Supermarket Guru, and ConAgra Foods have developed a list of trend predictions for the coming year. The trends emphasize a continued desire to save money leading to more eating at home as well as relying on technology to shop for bargains.

The trends include:

1) Food prices will keep rising. This will lead consumers to use printable grocery coupons, frequent shopper cards and shopping lists. In addition, there will be increased shopping at non-traditional food stores and trading down to less expensive options.

2) Never eat or shop alone. The use of food blogs has set a foundation for group food experiences. In addition, food trucks often tweet their locations, leading to flash crowds. These experiences are not necessarily about food but about connection, conversation and a sense of community.

3) Baby boomers keep right on trucking. This crowd of 76 million people will be the largest food influencers and purchasers and will control 53% of the total $706 billion spent on groceries by 2015. Manufacturers and supermarkets will continue to target this crowd.

4) Increased emphasis on “farm to fork” journey. Shoppers will continue to ask questions about where their food comes from, and there will be an added emphasis on the role of the farmer.

5) The end of the checkout lane. Shoppers are enjoying self-checkouts, comparing prices at nearby retailers, cell phone scanners, in-store interactive media devices, QR codes, RFID and mobile coupons.

6) Ethnic food revolution. Food trucks are boosting interest in foods from around the world.

7) The new role of the male shopper. Men want to be engaged parents and successful professionals, and 41% of men are now doing food preparation compared with half that amount in 2003.

8) Eating at home equals extreme home cooking. There will be another slowdown in food service as there is more eating at home, and the everyday cook will take pride in making the most food for the least money.

9) How sweet it isn’t. Reduced sugar will be one of the biggest health claims in the coming year.

10) Listen for the sound of food. Consumers will judge the readiness of some foods, such as popcorn and grilled burgers, by the sounds they make.

“2011 brought us higher food prices at unprecedented levels, in part because of crops and livestock being destroyed by global weather catastrophes,” Mr. Lempert said. “We will continue to see higher prices, but we will also see all the different ways Americans love their food - in supermarkets, on television, at restaurants and now even on their mobile phones. We are on the verge of what may be one of the most exciting and game-changing years in the food world.”