Shifts in consumption trends point to new foods, technologies

by Josh Sosland
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The long-lasting tug of war between food service and eating at home stands as one of the most important dynamics in the grain-based foods industry. While the steady share gains of away-from-home eating came to a halt with the 2008 recession, many signs suggest renewed growth by significant parts of the restaurant business.

Several important stories related to both sides of this equation may be found in the current issue of Milling & Baking News. Wall Street analysts, in the annual stock market outlook feature, said food sales volume trends in 2013 failed to achieve the anticipated rebound and suggested that the listlessness was likely to continue into the new year. The analysts emphasize the serious degree to which this development affects prospects for corporate earnings growth. Meanwhile, leading food service operators announced initiatives pointing to great optimism about prospects in several popular grain-based foods categories. Chipotle is experimenting with pizza while Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is gearing up for accelerated growth in the United States after a lengthy period in which international expansion was emphasized.

Well positioned grain-based foods companies should be able to capitalize on these shifts. Their very existence promises significant changes in both ingredient and production technologies while preserving a central place for flour- and other grain-based foods in the American diet.
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