As I do at the beginning of each January, I give my top 5 organic food trends for the new year, predicting what I think will be popular with consumers and in the marketplace.
These organic food trends are centered around the themes of food as medicine, convenience and authenticity, and some are poised for a very significant year.
Here are my Top 5 Organic Food Trends for 2017.
Have you ever gone into the store and said “I’d really like some of those nuts but don’t feel like spending $9 on that bag? I just want a handful of them right now.”
If so, you are certainly not alone. And organic food and juice companies have definitely been listening.
One fantastic trend that I think is going to have a breakout year is smaller sizes, which is going to be a win-win for everyone involved.
Consumers get a lower price point, smaller product and something smaller to travel with, and retailers and companies benefit from increased velocity.
Here are a few things that we know.
- With the U.S. organic sector currently valued at around $43 billion, there is no question that organic has become big business. As a result, some big food companies, hoping to get a piece of this growing industry, will do whatever they can to get their products certified at the least possible cost. As a result, this means organic standards invariably suffer.
- With President Obama signing a disastrous federal GMO-labeling law last summer, often referred to as the DARK Act, we don’t know what the future holds for organic. Furthermore, since the fine details of this law are still being determined, we could have federal GMO-labeling standards which are not only worthless but actually harmful for consumers.
- There is A LOT of discontent about how the National Organic Standards Board, the committee that makes recommendations to the USDA about organic rules and regulations, is being managed.
While some people believe that the organic seal has gotten too far away from its original values and ought to be replaced outright, I don’t think that will or should happen.
Instead, what I think what we will see much more of is that companies will still use the organic seal AND will also embrace non-governmental, third-party certifications such as Demeter (certified Biodynamic), Food Justice Certified, Fair for Life, Fair Pay Today, and others.
These are certifications that get us closer to the true standard of organic farming while also protecting and promoting workplace equality and fairness, soil health, and farmers’ rights.
FERMENTED VEGETABLE DRINKS
If you’re like me, you ask yourself the same question every single day: where am I getting my green juice?
While I firmly believe that pressed organic juice is not going anywhere and will only grow in market size, I also believe that people are going to start asking themselves an additional question: where am I getting my fermented vegetable drink today?
The fermented vegetable drink category is going to surge. People will shift in consuming these beverages from once in a while to once a day. Why will this happen?
Quite simply, the health benefits that these drinks provide, namely the beneficial bacteria, will become too important to ignore.
People are going to start reevaluating what they are drinking and the value that these drinks provide to their bodies. Gut shots, beet kvass, cultured tonics, and all other fermented beverages will be the huge beneficiaries of this change in consumer behavior.
While gut health seems to get a lot of headlines these days – and rightly so – organic food companies are going to focus a lot of more attention on brain health in 2017.
And this means we’ll be seeing a lot more products being marketed as nootropic foods.
Nootropics, substances or functional foods that improve cognitive function, such as improved memory, concentration and learning, should definitely grow in popularity. People want to eat foods that not only make them feel good and look good, but also make them think better and more clearly.
There is a real opportunity to become a market leader in this segment, and the smart organic food companies will capitalize on this, offering consumers both nootropic foods and drinks.
If you go to the supplement section at your organic supermarket, you will see absolutely no shortage of green powders. There are literally dozens and dozens of them. For the hardcore green juice drinkers, traveling with green powder is something that nearly all of us do.
Yet, with turmeric becoming another must-have food, largely because of its anti-inflammatory properties, why aren’t people traveling with turmeric powder?
One explanation is that turmeric-based drinks have only really started to penetrate the market in the last 5 years or so, while green juice has been around for many decades.
Whatever the reason may be, 2017 is the year that we will start to see a lot more turmeric powder products – ones that combine turmeric powder with other ingredients such as black pepper, which increases absorption. And I think what Bija Bhar is doing is incredibly smart and ahead of the curve.