Now that the year has started, it’s the perfect time to write about the new trends in the food and nutrition industry for 2019.

According to statistics, the IFIC (International Food Information Council) amongst them, the general population demands information about the foods they consume, their origin and all the processes they go through before they get to our table. In fact, there is a growing interest for more information about food, and that’s why the internet has become a driving force in transparency on the entire food supply chain.

According to IFIC these will be the new trends in the food and nutrition industry for 2019

1. Information about the origin and traceability of foods.

Consumers’ interest on the origin of foods used to begin and end at the supermarket or at the restaurant. But this no longer holds true. Consumers now want to know how foods are produced, where they come from and the quality of their ingredients. They also ask wider questions regarding their sustainability and they seek brands that are aligned with their ethical values.

The 2018 Food and Health Survey Report reveals that more than half of the respondents say that recognizing the ingredients, understanding where foods come from and the number of ingredients are key factors that affect their purchasing choices. Surprisingly, in comparison to men women are more prone to consider these factors as very important. Furthermore, when compared to 2017, a higher percentage of the population mentioned the fact that knowing how foods are produced altered their decision to buy them.

2. Food allergies

Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) will make a positive contribution in the area of food allergens such as peanuts. The use of WGS data from patients with peanut allergy might help to identify allergies in young babies before they present potentially mortal anaphylactic reactions. In addition, WGS may be used to detect allergen traces in foods.

Food allergies are also gaining more attention in the regulations over the labels of products, and that is why the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration) is studying labeling sesame as an allergen.

3. Sugar remains a trend

If we were asked to name an ingredient that is everywhere but one that we should cut down in our diet, most people would probably say sugar.

For most people, sweets remain one of the greatest addictions, but the population has started to respond to nutrition recommendations which recommend reducing the consumption of added sugar, to limit or decrease ultra processed foods, etc. A high number of respondents said they were taking steps to limit or avoid sugars in their diet, and another high percentage considered sugars were negative.

As a result, we can also perceive a growing popularity of sweeteners which are low or no-calorie, specifically stevia leaf extract due to its appeal as a plant-based alternative to sugar.

4. Reduce the consumption of ultra processed foods

One of the most heated debates in the nutritionist-influencers scene is the strong disaproval of ultra processed foods in places like schools, hospitals and companies and the call to eat “real food”. Some of these nutritionists have shaken the pillars of the largest supermarket chains both national and international. The long list of ingredients contained in ultra processed foods (additives, nitrites, sugars, salt, flours and refined oils) are not the best option to nourish ourselves, because in many occasions they are just empty calories, are addictive and are responsible for the rise in children and adult obesity.

It’s true that not all processed foods are unhealthy. Among others, olive oil, vegetable or legume preserves, fish preserves in olive oil or water, frozen food and artisan cheeses can be considered good processed products.

We can safely predict that in 2019 this fight will continue to be active and it will continue bearing fruits throughout the year.

5. Vegans and vegetarians

Nutrition based in plants is on the rise all over the world, with a boost in sales up of 20% since 2017, a tendency that shows no signs of reversing. Although only a small percentage of people identify as vegetarians or vegans, according to the 2018 Food and Health Survey Report, many others are reducing the consumption of meat and fish and are using alternative plant-based foods in their diet.

The population will benefit if this trend continues to grow, especially if it follows a Mediterranean diet more based in eating plant-based protein with a decreasing animal protein intake. It seems this trend will continue its ascend because the sale of plant-based alternatives to dairy and meat continue to grow year after year.