Food for Thought
The National Consumer Research Institute has come out with its list of the five top health trends. The institute studied health-related attitudes and behavior in the U.S. to formulate trends expected to make headlines for the rest of the year.
- Food waste consciousness.Leftovers may be served at more meals, as increasing numbers of people choose to manage portion size and food waste. The report states that 39% of Americans feel guilty about trashing food, and this guilt is leading to behavior change. With mobile apps like “Love Food Hate Waste” now easily downloaded, consumers can plan meals from leftovers and get a better sense of how much food is actually needed. Some communities and businesses are already doing something about food waste, turning compostable scraps into cash. For example, in Marin County, California, excess food is being processed to generate electricity, while Starbucks® is turning its recycled coffee grounds and baked goods into laundry detergent!
- Workplace wellness. Healthcare costs are expected to rise 7%, so more companies are recognizing the economic benefit to providing wellness healthcare programs to employees. Forty-eight percent of corporations surveyed by the National Business Group on Health stated that they plan to promote employee wellness by offering incentives—from subsidized gym memberships to onsite fitness centers and accountability groups.
- Snacking and mini-meals. Twenty percent of all eating “occasions” are snacks, and that percentage is expected to rise. Salads, nuts, yogurts, fruit and other convenient, healthy snack foods are becoming the new norm for mini-meals, with the more formal designations of breakfast, lunch and dinner slowly becoming less popular.
- Meat-free diets are now mainstream. No longer regarded as the domain of hippies and hipsters, going meatless or even vegan is on a steady climb. Celebrities and professional athletes alike are touting the benefits of an herbivore diet, now seen as a viable health alternative. Expect to see more unusual fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, as well as more meat-free options on restaurant menus.
- Gluten-free as a healthy diet. A few short years ago, gluten-free was a trend. Now it’s mainstream. Today, items with the gluten-free logo are found in many chain grocery stores, not just in health food stores and co-ops.