2013 food trends to be shaped by social, mobile lifestyles

SEATTLE: Social media and the mobile lifestyles of consumers will drive US food trends next year, according to MSLGroup.

SEATTLE: Social media and the mobile lifestyles of consumers will drive US food trends next year, according to MSLGroup.

The agency predicted that in 2013 high-protein snacks such as bean chips will be popular because Americans are on the go and people often have a mobile phone or tablet in one hand and a snack in the other, said Steve Bryant, director of food and beverage at the firm.

The Publicis Groupe agency also believes that food photo-sharing will continue to grow on Pinterest, TasteSpotting, and foodgawker.

Bryant said social media has been a huge factor in popular food trends, a fact that PR agencies should keep in mind.

“Companies have to be ready if they want to keep up, because in a way the internet has democratized food brands so that smaller brands can emerge and grow more quickly,” he added.

Food brands should also keep track of trends online because they can help a company think of new ways to market their own products, said Bryant.

This is the agency's second annual list of 10 food predictions, created by MSL's food and beverage specialty group. Its goal is to make educated guesses about what foods will go mainstream in the coming year, he added.

The team makes predictions after attending food shows throughout the year, gathering research on everything from farm-related foods to CPG brands. It also tracks its own clients' and partners' growth in specific sectors, Bryant explained.

Another prediction for 2013 is that preserved foods, which were largely ignored in recent years by consumers, will make a comeback because “preserved” does not necessarily mean they have preservatives. Bryant said the agency has noticed more pickled, brined, and fermented items sold at restaurants and upscale grocery stores. Frozen foods may also turn up more often, he added, since fresh food goes bad more quickly and not everyone has access to fresh produce.

Other potential trends for 2013 include the growth of the coffee category; more good-tasting healthy food options; an increase in quality wine companies selling boxed wine to target Millennials; more food-label transparency; bitter flavors being added to foods and beverages; a casualization of dining; and coconut oil becoming a health craze.

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