Before joining OSU Extension, I worked as a product development scientist at a large food company. Looking back on those years, it has been an exciting work of endless learning experiences.
Even a decade later, when I push my grocery cart in front of one of the products I helped formulate, I think of the teamwork that made those products a reality. Because for every product launch I attended, there were at least a dozen other products that I worked on that never made it to the shelf.
An exciting time every year was bringing together all of the research and development nerds to learn about the latest trends in the food world, from restaurants to retail. Information is even more widely available now with the explosion of social media and consumer behavior analysis since then.
There are a wide variety of factors that influence the food purchases we make. For decades, the main influencing factors have been convenience, taste, health and price. Every food company tries to innovate in these spaces to grab your attention and hopefully your wallet. According to Kansas State University Extension, each year approximately 15,000 new food products are introduced to the market. I have seen failure rates for new products estimated to be between 70% and 98%.
With the start of a new year, I read the latest trends and forecasts of what we might see heading our way. Now, I’m not sure all of these trends will necessarily show up in Coshocton, but it can be fun to see which ones you spot.
A few critics predict that the vegetable will gain prominence this year, along with fermented foods and the emphasis on Asian cuisine. Specifically, a growing interest in Korean pop culture may mean that Korean flavors may be more present.
A few years ago it was Latin American flavors. Remember when mango looked exotic? It was introduced in foods like yogurt along with a flavor that is very familiar to us, peach. This is usually how new flavors are introduced – associated with something we know and love. So it will be interesting to see if some Korean flavors start showing up in more mainstream products paired with things we are familiar with, like maybe kimchi instead of sauerkraut on hot dogs.
Portion control can show up in restaurants as well as on menus with fewer overall choices. This is in part in response to an ever-unpredictable supply chain. Coffee and tea also appear in these trend forecasts. There may be a movement for tea to be used in non-traditional ways, such as in sauces, marinades, and desserts. And continuing to add things to coffees is another hot practice. This includes superfood lattes with blends like matcha, turmeric, and other âfunctionalâ ingredients.
Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian’s “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey listed the top 10 foods they consider superfoods in 2022. These include fermented foods, blueberries, seeds (including chia and hemp), exotic fruits, avocado, green tea, nuts, ancient grains, spinach, leafy greens and kale.
With all of this new talk about food and nutrition, keep one thing in mind. Year after year, the main nutritional recommendation of dietitians is to eat more servings of vegetables per day. Nutrition helps us survive and thrive. Make sure you focus on the basics first – eating those veggies, limiting foods with added sugars, drinking plenty of water – before you invest your money and calories in the fad new foods that are popular with us. wait.
Today I leave you with this quote from Doug Larson, “Life expectancy would increase by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” “
Emily Marrison is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and can be reached at 740-622-2265.