Top 10 Global Food Trends

Here are the top 10 global food trends:

# Quick Fix: People want to eat at home: 77% of all dinners in 2004 were eaten there, but people want less hassle in the kitchen. Easy to prepare and ready to eat are key ingredients for most of us. We should expect to see more ultra-quick foods, bagged salads and side dishes.

# Drive-and Go: More of us are ordering take-out from full-service restaurants like Applebee’s. Take-out sales from these restaurants account for almost 10% of sales. More than half of Americans eat this way during the week.

# Inherently Healthy: Consumers are increasingly choosing naturally healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, salads, nuts and yogurt. Fruit is now America’s second-favorite snack.

# Fancy: People are choosing premium, gourmet foods. Fish, in particular, is undergoing something of a gourmet makeover.

# Farm-Friendly: Organic and natural are hot, so is fair trade. Expect cocoa to follow on the heels of coffee and tea.

# Layering of Flavors: Flavored oils and vinegars, pairings of fruity and tangy flavors, Asian, Central American and Latin American flavors are in vogue.

# Grazing: Healthier snacks in vending machines, single-serving snacks, nutrition bars, diet bars, energy drinks and mineral waters are “in.”

# Low, No, and Less: Low fat trumps low carb in what people seek in labels. Trans fats are on their way out. Demand for low calorie and light products will continue to grow. Watch for allergen-free claims on food labels.

# Doctoring Through Diet: Nearly two-thirds of shoppers tried to manage or treat a condition through diet. 72% of this effort addressed heart health. Next to low fat, whole grains were the most influential food label claim, influencing 62% of shoppers. Dairy products with cholesterol-lowering sterols, and antioxidant-rich chocolate are making an appearance. Expect more functional foods to appear.

# Global Gangbusters: Many of the same issues affecting Americans affect overseas, too. Health and convenience loom just as large.