2017 is here, and you’re likely curious about what food trends consumers are getting excited about for the coming year. Whether you’re developing new products, researching new ways to use a tried-and-true ingredient, or thinking about changing an existing product’s marketing strategy, knowing what consumers are clamoring for keeps your foods relevant.

Mercer Foods distills insights from the latest innovations and trends in the food industry so we can offer the best freeze-dried solutions for any opportunity coming your way. It can be tough to keep up with a shifting landscape, but we can help with some trends and patterns you can expect to see in 2017.

1. Superfoods expanding to new areas

Kale, blueberries, quinoa, and greek yogurt are just a few superfoods you might know, but the industry is expanding to bring more flavors and food groups to consumers’ plates. Antioxidant fruits and veggies, new underutilized seeds and nuts, and ancient grains will all be prominently featured in 2017.

2. The “flexitarian” diet grows up

Many meat eaters are embracing a “flexitarian” diet, choosing to opt out of eating meat every day or every meal. Food producers are keeping pace, and we will see an influx of meatless burgers and vegetarian concept restaurants this year. On top of that, healthier proteins like bison and goat will see a boost in popularity.

3. Palate-broadening flavors

Consumers are demanding more and more unique flavors. Spices and dishes from Africa and the Middle East are gaining favor abroad. In addition, 2017 might be the year of turmeric and explorations of Japanese cuisine beyond sushi.

4. Purple power

Purple may be the color of the year. Purple corn, purple grains, purple potatoes, purple carrots, purple asparagus, purple fruits — you get the idea.

5. The year of the avocado

The avocado can do more than guacamole or a salad and burrito topper. Look for more interesting foods featuring the creamy healthy fat as an ingredient as opposed to an add-on.

6. The evolution of breakfast

First breakfast became the most important meal. Then brunch became a restaurant must. The food industry is clueing in to the popularity of breakfast, which may soon be offered 24/7.

7. Fermented food favorites

Fermentation fans, rejoice. 2017 will likely bring an influx of tangy yogurts, kombucha, gourmet sauerkraut, and an expansion of slaw beyond the traditional cabbage, carrot, and mayonnaise.

8. New ways to eat

Technology is revolutionizing food as consumers turn to their smartphones, the gig economy, and the internet for new food opportunities. Ready-to-order meal kits, home delivery services, no-checkout shopping, and cook-and-connect groups are forces to be reckoned with.

9. Re-purposing food waste

Americans (and other countries) produce a lot of food waste, and it costs a lot of money and is not great for the planet. Companies are discovering innovative methods for using food scraps, peels, and production leftovers for delicious new food opportunities.

10. Food transparency will be mainstream

Many manufacturers are leaning into more transparent practices, as consumers expect easily accessible education about what goes into their foods. This will result in less reliance on outside certifications like non-GMO, fair trade, and certified humane.

Rest assured that no matter the trend, Mercer Foods and our patented freeze-drying process have the tools and capabilities to meet the needs of any customer. If you’d like to find out more about our freeze-drying process, get in touch, or reach out on Twitter or Facebook.