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UF/IFAS experts predict more food traceability & grocery delivery in 2019

As we head toward 2019, we’ll see more nutrient-loaded, lesser-known foods; an increased ability to trace food sources and more plants on your plate. Those are some of the forecasts from faculty at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as they predict food trends for 2019:

Food Security
This is one of the greatest challenges the global community faces. Since most of the western world’s current diet relies on a limited number of crops for its major ingredients, any unpredictable changes in agriculture, such as climate change, urbanization or water shortages can lead to serious food shortage problems. As a potential solution to this critical issue, researchers see an increase in lesser-known, but highly nutritional foods on our tables. Food service vendors are using more exotic or ancient grains and produce – such as teff and breadfruit — and this will expand to retail products. Many of these new foods are loaded with nutrients. They’re known as “superfoods,” which are even more appealing to health-conscious consumers. Contact Soo Ahn, [email protected], or 352-294-3909.

Get ready to see blockchain protocol to enhance traceability of foods in the supply chain. That means all handlers throughout the system can see how, when and where the products went from farm to table, allowing for complete transparency. No one can make a change without everyone knowing and agreeing. Contact Jeff Brecht, [email protected], or 352-273-4778.

Fruit Variety Matters
Consumers are learning what chefs have known for years – that there is a lot of variation in the color, texture, flavor and sometimes even nutritional value among fruits and vegetables. Probably the best-known example of this increasing trend is apples. Did you know that there are more than 7,000 varieties of apples? The diversity is staggering. On average, 69 percent of U.S. consumers buy apples. As a result, grocers are likely going to expand their varieties to attract more discerning consumers. Contact Danielle Treadwell, [email protected] or 352-273-4775.

Modern Markets
Just a few years ago, Americans spent more money on food at bars and restaurants than they did at supermarkets. To get consumers to spend more time and money in grocery stores once again, retailers are customizing their stores to become social hubs that will be sources of entertainment as well as provide the traditional selection of groceries. Stores are now featuring things such as unique food stations in which you can sit at the counter, coffee bars that will allow you to order a drink and sip while you shop, large community gathering style tables to eat at, and even couches to relax on and have a conversation with friends. This trend is taking the chore and monotony out of grocery shopping. Contact Nan Jensen, [email protected], or 727-582-2104

“Free-From” Foods
With more people affected by food allergens and other things they can’t tolerate, more food companies are expanding “free-from” foods than ever. These include foods that are free of meat, eggs, dairy, allergens and gluten. They also include vegan food. While food allergies are an important contributor in this trend, lifestyle choices also drive free-from products, especially for vegan or meat-free foods. With increasing demand for free-from products, especially among the millennials, this trend will continue. New, alternative ingredients will be developed and tested by food manufacturers, and diverse new products will be introduced to the market. Contact Soo Ahn, [email protected], or 352-294-3909.

Less To-Go, More Delivery
Once upon a time, if you wanted food from a restaurant that wasn’t pizza, you would have to physically show up in order to pick up your to-go food. With the rise of applications such as UberEats and DoorDash, you can have almost any kind of food from any kind of restaurant delivered to your door. Throw in the fact that Amazon just bought Whole Foods, and it looks like we may be approaching the age of food and grocery delivery. Contact Nan Jensen, [email protected], or 727-582-2104

More Plants on the Plate
The United States has always been a very “meaty” country. However, as interest in health and wellness continues to grow, more people are electing to go the vegetarian route and forgo eating meat and other animal products. But there also has been a rise in people who enjoy a steak during a dinner out with friends but love their black bean burgers and zucchini noodles for dinner at home. As a result, there has been a huge growth of plant-based alternatives like dairy-free milks and yogurt, along with meat substitutes available in grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Contact Nan Jensen, [email protected], or 727-582-2104

Source: University of Florida (Brad Buck)

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