Food and beverage trends and predictions for 2013 – AFN’s Big Picture

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 19th December 2012

For many forecasters of 2013 predictions, there is a predicted focus on vegetables and healthier meals, in line with on-going global concerns regarding obesity.

Some groups have predicted that restaurants and chefs will take on the responsibility of providing healthier options, but others have predicted that consumers will be seeking out their own healthier alternatives, or what they perceive to be more “natural” (which they also associate with “healthiness”).

Aside from “health” focused meals, forecasters like the Australian-based public relations group Weber Shandwick believe that Australian consumers can expect a rise in the number of artisan products in our supermarkets, such as products sold through Woolworths’ and Coles’ pizzerias and sushi-chefs. They also predict restaurant menus will emphasize relaxation and will see children’s menu items tweaked to be similar to those as for adults (but smaller-portioned), and food trucks will continue to proliferate around Australian streets.

The American supermarket consultant  Phil Lempert’s list of supermarket trends included marketing of smaller portions, more mobile apps, more products with non-food protein, healthier food messages  and messages to discourage waste.

Also in America, consumer research company Technomic has predicted the rise of “flexitarian” meals as more vegetables joined the main course. Food trucks and street carts are also expected to form a growing part of the “snacking craze” affecting Americans. Technomic believes 2013 meals will also focus on ancient grains such as quinoa, retro deli foods, and there will be good sales of share-able comfort foods in restaurants.

In the alcoholic beverage area, Technomic predicted rising popularity for sweet wines, flavor innovations in the increasingly-popular cider market, and new boutique beers being served in high-end restaurants.

US consumer research company Sterling-Rice Group, in its own top ten food trends for 2013, sees vegetables growing in importance and  popularity on menus, and that popcorn will experience major growth as a snack in 2013.

Meanwhile, the US  National Restaurant Association’s  What’s Hot in 2013 report compiled from a survey of 1,800 US chefs, sees an emphasis on local – such as locally sourced meats, seafood and produce in both restaurants and American homes. The National Restaurant Association also predicts that 2013 menus will reflect a focus on environmental sustainability, children’s nutrition, and new cuts of meat.

Global research company Innova Market Insights has other predictions to affect US shoppers in 2013 and reiterates an increasing awareness of health claims but the need to respond to skeptical consumers who have doubts about some such claims.