Voices: Well Noted

Ingredient Trend Predictions for 2008

Editor David Feder makes ingredient trend predictions for 2008.

By David Feder, R.D.

Being a magazine devoted to nutraceutical trends, we’re always in prognostication mode. We approach trends the way a Le Mans racer drives: An upcoming curve isn’t the point of reference, the horizon beyond it is.

Predicting ingredient trends is risky business. I’ve been right – for example anticipating the boom in antioxidant-rich red/purple/blue fruits. I’ve been wrong, or at least premature: Resistant starch – a significantly healthful and versatile ingredient – unfortunately has yet to become part of Jane and Joe Sixpack’s vernacular. But being wrong never stopped a journalist, so here are some predictions for 2008, ad apres.

Some “forgotten” ingredients will make comebacks. Acerola is an example (see “Acerola Comes up Aces,” www.foodprocessing.com/articles/2007/272.html), as are aloe (already gaining traction) and rose hips. And colorful and interesting fruits and veggies, especially from exotic tropic locales in South America and Asia, will keep getting more attention (and inclusion) in foods and beverages formulated for health. They’re easy to understand as good for you, tend to be tasty and need little processing. They also are becoming more familiar as the world gets smaller.

This tropical storm is acknowledged by Robert Schueller, director of communications for Melissa’s World Variety Produce, Los Angeles (www.melissas.com). “Mangosteen will be one of the hottest tropical ingredients in 2008,” he declares. Schueller points not only to the traction it’s receiving now as a beverage ingredient, but the familiarity it will enjoy when the fresh fruit becomes available in the U.S. in spring. “We also plan to see in increase of about 20 percent in fresh organic pomegranates in 2008,” notes Schueller, “and a 30 percent increase in fresh pomegranates seeds. Other potentially hot new fruits include paw paw, guanabana and atemoya from Thailand.”

Will cupuaçu finally have its day? I think so – if not in 2008 then in 2009. I’d predicted big things for the cacao cousin back in 1999, but legal and logistic issues kept it from being a player. Now, it can readily benefit from chocolate’s sudden and newfound respect as a health food – it’s as loaded with nutraceutical benefits as chocolate. (Chocolate-like bars made from it are outstanding, similar to Belgian chocolate but with a faint hint of coffee.)

But the big trend to look for in 2008 and beyond is a tidal wave of functional foods and beverages promoting anti-inflammatory benefits. As science discovers more about the role of inflammation in disease and cellular aging, researchers also are discovering many antioxidant ingredients serve dual function as anti-inflammatories. This allows formulators and marketers to make an easy transition to on-the-shelf presence for product.

Finally, general categories of foods and beverages for health – i.e., satiety, brain-boosting and energy – will keep making a big impact, although the field is getting crowded. Yet one thing won’t change: Any processor planning to launch a food or beverage targeting wellness needs to be darn sure it’s tasty, and any health marketing is backed by objective science. If you release a product that can’t stand up under intense scrutiny, you’ll see it land in the bargain bin at the big-box store before you can say “Chapter 11.”

More from this author...


What Makes a Snack Good or Bad?

Editor David Feder, R.D., wrestles with the question of what makes a snack -- and snacking in general -- "good" or "bad."


Well Noted: Tell Me What to Eat

Where nutrition educators are struggling, manufacturers may be succeeding.


Well Noted: Moving Up and Southern Hospitality


Well Noted: Judging Health Food by Its Cover

Making a case for more aggressive pursuit of sustainable packaging now that bioplastics have caught up to demand.


Well Noted: A Wellness New Year

Editor David Feder’s shamelessly subjective ramblings on some of the good, the bad and the weird of last year’s wellness products and stories. Plus: Changes to the magazine for 2007.


Well Noted: 2007 Annual Meat Conference

The 2007 Annual Meat Conference, sponsored by the American Meat Institute and the Food Marketing Institute includes new session on kosher- and halal-certification megatrends.


Trends from the Natural Products Expo East

The Natural Products Expo East, held last month in Baltimore, showcased thousands of new products for health and wellness as usual. But there were also some interesting trends worth taking note of. Sustainable and Free-Trade are making aggressive inroads, cherries are back, and editor David Feder admits he was wrong about the popularity of açai.


The Trouble with E-Newsletters

Wellness Foods exists to be of service to our readers. The same holds true for the Food Processing website and our e-newsletters. But is that message getting through? Editor David Feder tells why he sometimes feels like Rodney Dangerfield.


The Four Bs of Nutraceuticals

Those of us seeking to add wellness ingredients to our diets have a wealth of choices. Until we get to the actual products, where it seems, with few exceptions, we're restricted to beverages, bars, baked goods and breakfast foods. We need to look at other opportunities processors have to incorporate functional ingredients into the food chain.


Survey Says Nearly Half of Consumers Don't Count Calories

If a calorie is consumed in the forest and no one is there to count it, will it still show up on your waistline? We analyze the IFIC Food and Health Survey’s disturbing finding that 43 percent of consumers refuse to even think about keeping track of their caloric intake.


Science Degrees Can Be Used to Mislead

"Vitamin E is harmful", "salt is poison", "organic cookies decimate the endangered orangutan habitat" and "the childhood obesity crisis is a red herring made up by the liberal media." These assertions are just a sampling of the flagrant misuses of science degrees by people who should know better. When it’s expert versus expert, everyone gets short-changed.


Report from 2005 IFT Expo

This year's IFT show served up a plethora of new and wondrous ingredients, the wisdom of Malcolm Gladwell, and the announcement of the World Food Prize.


Processors Work to Ease Diabetes Compliance

Editor David Feder discusses how processors are working hard to make compliance easier for persons with diabetes.


Organic Foods are Where Innovation and Sales Growth Meet

A visit to the "Power of Five" conglomeration of food shows in Chicago last month left the distinct impression that organic foods "are where it's at" in terms of innovation and sales growth.


Organic By Any Other Name

The boom in demand for organic foods and ingredients threatens to outpace supply. Yet some companies are coming under fire for allegedly “fudging” what is truly organic. The question is, do the cows have to be happy for the milk to be organic?


Organic and Healthy Losing Meaning Through Overuse

Do the terms "organic" and "healthy" lose their meaning when they're applied to every food and beverage product? There’s danger in blurring lines between what is organic or healthy and what is merely marketed as such.


New Product and Ingredient Trends from 2007 National Products Expo West

A report on new product and ingredient trends from the 2007 Natural Products Expo West / Supply Expo show in Anaheim, Calif.


More Ammo Brought into Fight Against Diabetes

Diabetes afflicts an ever-growing percentage of the population. However, creators and manufacturers of foods designed either directly or indirectly to prevent the development of obesity and diabetes, are bringing more and more ammo to the battle every year.


Media Reaction to Soy Overstates Risks

Soy recently got its turn under the hot lamp of media accusation for crimes committed in the name of health. Research purportedly linking soy to cancer has been splattering the pages of popular media with its tofu gore. As always, the truth is more benign – pun intended – than the columnists would have us believe.


Kosherfest 2005 Exhibits Merging Trends

Kosherfest 2005 showed that the merger of the food industry's two hottest trends is no mixed marriage.