Convenience is a Key Trend for The US Natural Foods Market
The US organic foods market was valued at almost $60 billion in 20201 and is on the rise. However, the market has moved past simple whole foods and produce. Modern consumers want ready-made meals and on-the-go snacks that meet their busy lifestyles while packing a nutritional punch. Keep reading to discover the drivers behind the natural foods revolution and some convenience foods of the future.
The Nutrition and Convenience Cross-Over Explained
Americans are no strangers to convenience foods, with food processing, grocery stores, and fast-food chains sweeping the nation for the last sixty years. Convenience plays a significant role in the food industry as consumers seek meals that are easy and quick to prepare, saving them time and accommodating their busy lifestyles.
The recently adopted work-from-home culture has also contributed to rising meal-kit sales, and the US frozen food market grew by over 50%2 during the first year of the pandemic.
This newfound interest in convenience foods exists alongside a soaring health foods demand driven by environmental and nutritional goals. Increased consumer awareness of the climate crisis, the role of nutraceuticals in human health, and the potential risks of consuming chemical additives are all major drivers of the natural foods revolution.
Technology-driven lifestyles and health-conscious eating result in a new healthy-convenient hybrid food model for the future.
5 Healthy Convenience Foods Trends for 2022
- Plant-based fast foods
Vegan and vegetarian options are popping up in almost every supermarket, and fast-food chain as global trends shift to healthier, more sustainable eating. Packaged plant-powered snacks with a high protein and fiber content will do exceptionally well, and star ingredients include mushrooms, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds.
- Beneficial beverages
The new wave of functional drinks includes neutraceuticals with health benefits such as improved mood, gut health, immunity, concentration, and sleep. Many people see drinks like green tea or coconut water as healthier alternatives to coffee and soda, and beverages containing probiotics are in high demand.
- Sugar-free snacks
Americans are ditching their sugary diets for better health, turning towards cereals, snack bars, crackers, and drinks with no added sugar. Many packaged foods now contain naturally-sweetening ingredients, such as dates, cinnamon, yogurt, berries, or honey.
- Meal kits
Meal kits containing fresh, healthy ingredients and pre-measured spices are booming among work-from-home professionals who want to eat healthily and save time. Meal kit subscription services aim to help people reduce waste, learn to cook, and eat more whole foods.
- Protein-packed packaged foods
A recent global study on snacking found that 51% of respondents report switching from traditional snacks to high-protein alternatives in 2020. Plant-based protein bars and a range of nutritional nut butter have recently exploded onto the global snacks scene.
Technological advancements allow us to shop for food from home, with grocery delivery, meal kits, and fast-food apps driving the convenience culture. At the same time, health and environmental concerns steer people towards more nutritional food choices. As more consumers adopt a health-conscious approach to buying and consuming food, the convenience foods market must adapt its products to meet the demand for healthier snacks.
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