Diet trends forecast: Kale out, clean eating in

by Monica Watrous
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Avocados and seeds
Trending superfoods for the coming year include seeds, avocados and ancient grains.

NEW YORK — Health-conscious consumers will opt for seafood and seeds over beef and bacon in the New Year, according to a diet and nutrition trends forecast from Today’s Dietitian and Pollock Communications. The report, which is based on a survey of 450 registered dietitian nutritionists, also suggests more shoppers may seek such claims as “G.M.O.-free,” “antibiotic-free” and “additive-free” in 2016. Gluten-free and Paleo diets will remain popular, but clean eating is expected to eclipse these trends, according to the report.

Mary Honicker
Mara Honicker, publisher of Today's Dietitian

“When it comes to forecasting nutrition trends, there are no better experts than registered dietitian nutritionists,” said Mara Honicker, publisher of Today's Dietitian. “They are at the forefront of everyday eating habits and purchasing decisions of people from all regional and economic environments. With almost two decades of working on behalf of dietitians, we know they have their finger on the pulse.”

Trending superfoods for the coming year include seeds, avocados and ancient grains, according to more than half of registered dietitians surveyed. Kale has lost its luster, and green tea is gaining steam.

Cup of green tea
Kale has lost its luster, and green tea is gaining steam.

Technology is another top trend in terms of health and wellness. Seventy-one per cent of registered dietitians predict more consumers will track food intake or activity with mobile apps or wearable devices. Survey participants also cited blogs, social media and television as popular sources of nutrition information for consumers; however, two-thirds of dietitians fear consumers may glean harmful or inaccurate information from these sources.

Regardless of diet trends, taste and convenience remain the primary drivers of purchasing decisions, according to 93% and 97% of respondents, respectively.

Jenna Bell
Jenna Bell, Ph.D., RDN, senior v.p. and director of food and wellness for Pollock Communications

“Even when you’re making healthy choices, RDNs know that taste and convenience are deal breakers if not satisfied,” said Jenna Bell, Ph.D., RDN, senior vice-president and director of food and wellness for Pollock Communications.

Dr. Bell also noted foods perceived as healthier by consumers may not necessarily be better choices.

“While consumers may look for G.M.O.-free or other ‘free-from’ claims on the label, it doesn’t mean that it has always led to healthier, more nutritious options,” she said “Make decisions based on the quality of the whole food and the variety and quality of your overall diet.”
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