This year is an exciting time for food and nutrition. As someone who closely follows both consumer and food trends, I’m thrilled to see that we’re entering a time when the demand for convenience is finally merging with the demand for healthful options. The 2019 “What’s Trending in Nutrition” survey by Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian found that “healthy” officially outweighs both cost and taste when making food decisions. Perceived health benefits of food have never been so powerful.
Research also shows that consumers believe the food they eat is at the core of overall wellness. The role of technology in this shift can’t be ignored. Consumers count on it to stay informed and use it as they make food purchasing decisions—often in real time. They’re constantly seeking information about foods, the health benefits they provide, and how they can incorporate them into their daily lives to improve their health. Purchasing decisions are made with food as medicine top of mind.
Consumers also demand convenience. People have limited time for grocery shopping, meal prep, and menu planning. Our mobile lifestyles require food to be portable and consumed from wherever the day’s schedule lands us. Individually portioned servings and user-friendly packaging and preparation are essential. Healthful food must be easy.
These consumer trends definitely are making an impact on emerging food trends. The demand for healthful convenience is clearly reflected in the grocery store. Healthful options are everywhere, and it’s becoming easier to eat well while on the go. I believe there are so many “right” things happening this year in food. It’s clear that food and beverage companies are working to provide consumers with the healthful options they want.
As brands evolve to meet consumers’ demands, the role of RDs in business becomes even more important. RDs are the most influential sources in terms of motivating consumers to incorporate healthful foods and food components in their diet. They’re also skilled at communicating the potential benefits of foods and food components, especially those that relate back to their top health concerns. Most importantly, RDs can guarantee whether food and beverage companies are making decisions based on science.
Similar benefits are seen with consumers. When a health-minded consumer approaches a food purchasing decision with the confidence that a brand is aligned with a nutrition expert, it builds trust. RDs offer consumers confidence in accurate and credible information and a clear understanding of how a particular product will impact their health. The result is a genuine and powerful connection between brands and their customers in the area that’s most important to them: health.
RDs offer a wealth of resources to food and beverage companies. We’re experts in predicting trends and bring a clear understanding of the role of health in consumer behavior. We’re skilled educators and communicators who know how to motivate consumers for positive behavior change. Our expertise and insights are valuable assets to the future of the food and beverage industry.
— Sarah Marjoram, MS, RDN, LD, is the owner of Nourish My Marketing, a digital marketing agency designed specifically for RDs. Her agency was born out of her experience as a nutrition entrepreneur and small business owner and the challenges dietitians face. Through her agency, Sarah is on a mission to support her colleagues in establishing themselves as the nutrition experts in the digital space.