While consumers cite broad aspects like taste, price and familiarity as the top reasons to purchase certain foods, they also crave a deeper understanding of what they are eating. Americans want to learn more about the origins of their food and its entire journey from farm to fork, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation. “Americans have a growing appetite for more information about their food, and technology is enabling eaters like never before,” said Joseph Clayton, CEO of the IFIC Foundation.
Discovering Our Foods’ Origin Stories: Consumer interest and awareness of the origins of their food used to start and stop at the grocery store or restaurant. Today that’s a thing of the past. Consumers want to know how their food is produced, where it came from and the quality of the ingredients. They also have broader questions about environmental sustainability and many seek brands that align with their broader social values.
Tackling Food Safety with Technology: Tracing the source of food contamination within the supply chain is central to food safety. Food safety concerns dominated the news last year, with two dozen food safety outbreaks investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the highest amount of outbreaks in more than a decade.
Food Allergies: Actions and Reactions: WGS also stands to make positive contributions in the area of food allergens, such as peanuts. Using WGS data from patients with a peanut allergy might help identify peanut allergies in young babies before they can pose life-threatening anaphylactic reactions. Additionally, WGS can be used to detect trace amounts of allergens in foods.
There’s No Sugar-Coating This Trend: If you had to name one thing that you should eat less of, most people would probably say sugar. According to the 2018 Food and Health Survey, more than fat, protein or carbohydrate, sugar is to blame for packing on a few extra pounds, with 33 percent believing that it is the calorie source most likely to cause weight gain (up from 20 percent in 2012).
Voracious Vegetarians and Vegans: Plant-based eating is flourishing in American diets, with sales growing by 20 percent since 2017, a trend that shows few signs of abating. While only 4 percent of Americans identify as vegetarians or vegans, according to the 2018 Food and Health Survey, many others cite following diets that are typically high in veggies, such as paleo (7 percent), low-carb (5 percent), Whole30 (5 percent) and high protein (4 percent). Also, vegetables are the second most popular food or food component people are seeking to provide health benefits (7 percent), behind protein (10 percent).