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Top Food Trends for 2016

Consumers embrace and abandon food trends at an alarming pace, so it’s vital that food entrepreneurs stay on top of the trends. Mintel, a leading marketing intelligence agency, has just released its Global Food and Drink Trends 2016, an analysis of 12 key food trends (which you can download for free).

Here are a few of the food trends you should be paying attention to for next year, per Jenny Zegler, Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Analyst:

“Alternatives Everywhere:” Foods that once were the province of people with dietary restrictions or allergies are increasingly in-demand by diners who don’t have to restrict their diets. Almost every restaurant that sells burgers offers veggie burgers as alternatives. Think about similar protein substitutes you can offer at your restaurants—and don’t forget gluten-free items, either.

“Artificial: Public Enemy No. 1” reflects “consumer demands for natural and ‘less processed’ food and drink.” Many companies are removing artificial ingredients from the foods they manufacture—and mainstream restaurants are touting such products on their menus.

“From the Inside-Out,” Zegler explains, is food that is “formulated to help people’s physical appearance as well as their personal wellness, creating a market for products enhanced with everything from collagen to probiotics.”

“Based on a True Story” is part of the authenticity trend. Zegler says consumers want to know about the origin and ingredients of the food they order.

“Good Enough to Tweet” alludes to, Zegler says, “the rise of food-centric media” and people sharing the food they make or eat in restaurants on social media. This means not only does your food have to taste good, but presentation counts—a lot.

“Table for One” means more consumers, across all age groups, are living—and often dining–alone. Think about this when you create promotions. “Buy one entrée, get one free” does not attract this growing demographic. Zegler says your promotions should help “erode any stigma [around] dining solo.”

Other food trends include the clamor for foods made with ancient grains, increased demand for superfoods and a growing awareness that not all fat is bad for you. Zegler says to remember that “consumers are not the only influencers, as shifting economics, natural phenomena and social media are shaping what, how, where and with whom consumers are choosing to eat and drink.”

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.