Since I started livingmaxwell a few years ago, doing this post has always been a favorite of mine.
One challenge is that some of the items that I have written about in the past – pressed juice, high pressure pasteurization technology, and GMO activism – will be a growing trend every single year. So, what I try to do is not to repeat myself but find emerging trends that are at their early stages.
For 2013, here are my Top 5 Organic Food Trends.
As most people know, gluten-free is an enormous market but finding gluten-free organic oats at a reasonable cost is a real challenge. While there are some companies using gluten-free oats, a majority of them do not because the price is simply too high.
My prediction is that (1) the supply of this ingredient increases, thereby dropping the cost, or (2) more companies will start incorporating gluten-free oats into their products, even if it means bumping up the end-price to consumers.
Similar to food sprayed with pesticides, educated and health-conscious eaters do not want gluten and will pay more to avoid it.
INLFUX OF EUROPEAN PRODUCTS
In the past, if a company wanted to sell an organic product in both the U.S. and the European Union (EU), this required two sets of organic certification paperwork, one here and one in Europe. As a result, not a lot of people went down this road.
Last year, however, the U.S. and the EU signed a historic organic food free-trade agreement and now only one set of paperwork is required. While there are a few differences with organic requirements for livestock and wine products, anything that is certified organic in one trade zone can be sold as certified organic in the other.
2013 is the year when American consumers will have a lot more choice when it comes to European organic food products.
Even though the alternative sweetener coconut palm sugar (one of my top organic food trends of 2011) will continue its rapid growth, I firmly believe that there is a small movement taking hold that doesn’t want any added sugar in its food.
Company founders and executives have been hearing these complaints since so many products are sweetened or over-sweetened. As such, companies will do one of two things.
They’ll start to offer sugar-free versions of products that have traditionally contained some type of added sweetener (palm sugar, agave, brown rice syrup, honey, stevia, cane juice, etc.) or they’ll use fruit (dates, berries, etc.) to naturally sweeten the product.
There is a growing acceptance that many of the health problems that we suffer from today is because we don’t have enough of the beneficial bacteria in our bodies. This is especially the case with children, and some doctors believe that probiotics significantly help people deal with digestive issues, autism, food allergies, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, depression, and many other ailments.
As such, probiotic drinks will become much more mainstream and the market for them will really take off.
TRANSPARENCY IN THE RAW FOOD WORLD
For organic food, there are strict government rules, regulations, and enforcement. If you fraudulently mislabel something as organic, you’ll go to jail.
In the raw food world, a niche segment of the organic food industry, there is a widely accepted assumption that anything that is not heated above 118 degrees is considered “raw”.
Is this number set in stone and accepted by absolutely everyone? No.
Is there any government regulation or enforcement about raw food and this 118 degree threshold? No.
So, this begs the following question. How do we know if something is truly raw when it is labeled as such on the packaging?
The answer is that we don’t know. Therefore, we must rely on the ethics of the company selling the product.
While many raw food businesses are honest and forthright about this, there is talk in the marketplace that some product companies are not being truthful and are playing very, very loose with the term “raw”.
Since the government is unlikely to intervene in this area, I expect there to be customer backlash this year about raw food production methods and claims. Customers will demand transparency and will no longer take the “raw” label at face value.