10 Healthy Food Trends to Watch Out For


1. Short ingredient lists.

Natural and organic or not, consumers want shorter ingredient lists that are easier to read and understand. The food industry knows this and will reformulate their packaging to fit the bill and stand out from the pack.

2. Clear packaging.

Shorter ingredient lists aren’t all companies will do to inform consumers of what's in their products -- they'll actually show them too! Be on the lookout for clear packaging and peek-a-boo windows that give you a glimpse of what you're actually buying.

3. Sustainability and global responsibility.

For food manufacturers to stand out in a category, it will require more than just call outs and good packaging. In 2016, consumers will see more of what companies are doing to make our world a better place -- from the programs they are engaged in to reduce their carbon footprint to how they are improving the communities they serve.

4. Pea protein and other GF, soy-free, nut-free, vegan binders and alternative proteins.

Vegans and allergy sufferers can rejoice! Food science is catching up with your needs and manufacturers are ready to meet them. Alternative proteins and other allergy sensitive ingredients will take center stage to provide more options at the supermarket.

5. Adhering to the new dietary guidelines.

The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015- 2020) are finally here and the industry is poised to highlight the benefits of their products -- and those that don’t measure up will seek to update their recipes and products so that they will.

6. More local products at national retail stores.

Along with the desire for a shorter ingredient list comes our love of all things local. Big retail markets know the value of offering local produce and other products developed and grown in the communities they serve and will make sure those items are there when you want them.

7. More mainstream products going (or promoting) gluten-free.

More and more mainstream companies are labeling their products as gluten-free (GF) or developing alternatives to their original formulations to provide GF customers with even more affordable options.

8. Greek yogurt will continue to rule ... but the sugar in them won't.

While Greek yogurt still rules, sales did slow over 2015. It’s not surprising when you consider Americans are cutting back on added sugars (and many Greek yogurts are loaded with it) in their diets. In the future, look for more yogurt made with alternative sweeteners and other ingredients, which reduce the added sugar (especially for kids) and allow them to keep their “health halo.”

9. More convenience for home cooks.

As we seek to gain more control over the ingredients in our foods and the meals we eat, there's only one logical step: Get cooking. Of course, while we may want to do more cooking at home, the reality is that our daily schedules may not allow it. Look for more healthy convenience items to hit grocery store shelves so that a couple of steps are already done for you to complete your “half-scratch” meal.

10. More GMO, "natural" and other labeling.

Look out for products calling out that they are GMO-free, “natural” and the like. These terms are attractive to consumers and companies know it. But your job is to read the nutrition facts panel on those products to make sure they are truly a healthy choice for you.

Allison Stowell, M.S., RD, CDN, is the registered dietitian for the Guiding Stars Licensing Company. Visit Allison's blog to read more and connect with her on Twitter.