Consumer food demands | Living the Country Life

Consumer food demands

Consumers know what they want, and producers have to respond

The vegetables you ate for dinner last night were probably a lot different than the veggies your grandparents would have eaten. Our food changes over time and so does our response to those changes. According to a study by the University of Texas, the nutrient content in food has declined dramatically over the past 50-years.

Nikki Putnam is a registered dietician with Alltech, and follows the trends of what consumers are asking for. She says first and foremost, consumers are asking for transparency, and specifically how their food is produced.

"There was a really interesting study that just came out from the Food Marketing Institute, and it reported that 69% of consumers said, I want to know exactly how my food was produced, where it came from, what kind of feed it was given, what kind of medications it was given," says Putnam. "So they’re asking for clean labeling, they want no additives and preservatives in their final product, least number of ingredients they can find in a food, they’re asking for antibiotic-free."

These are all things that are already in a niche market, but Putnam says it’s growing. Consumers are also asking for more nutrition-per-bite.

Producers are working to innovate their on-farm practices so they can give that to consumers now and in the future.

"And they’re looking towards innovative solutions to apply not only to crop science, but also livestock health. The antibiotic-free programs, I think we’re getting a lot of buzz about that in the U.S. now because consumers are asking for it," says Putnam. "And then also those enrichment programs, so adding more nutrients in the diet like organic minerals and DHA mega-3 fatty acids to again provide more bang-for-our-buck in those functional foods."

The time it takes us to make these foods is becoming as influential as ingredient and nutrition claims.

Food trends for 2017 as predicted by Global Food Forums

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