Feb 08, 2013 • By

Top 10 global food trends for 2013

Our Global Consumer Insights department conducts its own research and has reviewed more than 20 trend lists to create the following Top 10 list.

We’ve added links to some of our new products — and to other information sources — to show how we continue to innovate as consumer preferences evolve. 

  1. Vegetable Mania:  With the growth of flexitarianism and vegetarianism, consumers are increasingly making vegetables the main item on their plates.  Vegetables are also sneaking their way into snacks, including two from Green Giant — Sea Salt Multigrain Sweet Potato and Zesty Cheddar Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chip.
  2. Global Food Influence:   Asian inspired foods are continuing to grow.  Noodles, such as ramen, and pickled vegetables, such as kimchi, are becoming popular.  Look for Asian flavors infiltrating comfort foods, including our recently released Helper Sweet & Sour chicken. In addition, flavors from Brazil, Argentina and Peru are mainstreaming (e.g. South American-style grilled meats and ceviche).
  3. Eating Smaller:  Mini-meals and snacking will continue to rise as consumers are trying to reduce portion size and seek variety in their meals.  Protein will continue to be a star in new snack products due to its satiety benefits, including new protein snack bars from Nature Valley, Fiber One and LÄRABAR.  The breakout snack of the year: Popcorn, in both sweet and savory flavors!
  4. Great Grains:  With the rise of “free-from” eating (gluten, allergens, etc.), grains such as quinoa, millet, and wild rice will continue to grow, including Cascadian Farm Ancient Grain Granola that was rolled out in June 2012. In addition to being gluten-free, some of these grains are high in protein.  This year more ancient grains will show up in snack foods.
  5. Clean” Eating:  Transparency and local sourcing remain top of mind for consumers.  They want to know where their food comes from. The closer to home that the ingredients are sourced, the better.  They also want to eat pure and simple and be able to pronounce the ingredients in their food.  The original Valley of the Jolly Green Giant is right down the road from our Minneapolis headquarters.
  6. Tasty Health:  Food companies and chefs are finding ways to create better-for-you alternatives that are still pleasing to consumers’ palates. We’ve been working for several years on improving the health profile of our products by reducing ingredients like sodium and fat and increasing beneficial ingredients such as whole grain.
  7. Healthy and Sophisticated Kids Meals:  Kids are also becoming more health-conscious.  Whole grain, fruits and vegetables will increasingly appeal to both parents and children.  Not only will we see an emphasis on more nutritious food for kids, kid friendly versions of adult foods will also gain popularity. We continue to improve the health profile of our Big G cereals.
  8. Waste Not, Want Not:  Food waste is an issue that concerns consumers.  Not only do they feel guilty about wasting food, it’s also costly. Consumers are opting for portion-controlled and frozen foods to help with this issue, including new varieties of Green Giant Just for One vegetables. And General Mills has been active in promoting ways to reduce food waste.
  9. Sensory Experiences:  Consumers are looking for sensory experiences that will differentiate and bring excitement to routine eating. They will increasingly use mobile phones to share food virtually and on websites such as Pinterest. They will also seek 3-D flavors involving touch, feel and aroma.
  10. Generational Influence:  Boomers are looking for products to aid healthy eating to extend their active years and control diseases. They are seeking antioxidant rich foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Our refreshed Live Better America website offers healthified recipes and tips for boomers. Millennials are driving an increased demand for more flavorful and affordable foods.