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Key food trends for 2012

Forecast predicts snacking, global cuisine and shared food experiences will become the norm this year


Food public relations firm Publicis Consultants USA has released its take on the coming year’s top food and nutrition trends.

According to the company, taste remains the number-1 criteria for food choice, regardless of how health- and price-conscious consumers become. At the same time, higher food costs and demand for lower-priced products will continue to drive innovation.

Here’s what else is on the radar for 2012:

•    Snacking – Smaller portions and mini-bites will appear more often on grocery shelves, as consumers continue their demand for snack foods on the go.
•    Global dining – Demand for inexpensive, culturally mixed cuisine will grow.
•   Get connected – Shared meal experiences via social networking will increase, with more sites and apps, and more opportunities to share recipes, reviews and suggestions.
•    Wine variety – Budget-conscious consumers will increasingly explore wines from less-familiar regions, varietals and blends.
•    Popcorn – Healthy, cheap and convenient, popcorn is set to make a comeback.
•    Nutrition matters – On-package nutritional information will become even more important for consumers in 2012.
•    Do-it-yourself – Consumer love for all things local will go one step further as more people try their hand at growing and processing their own foods.
•    The new comfort food – Consumers may want to dine in, but they also want the same restaurant-quality food and chef-inspired techniques, especially when it comes to comfort food.
•    Sustainable seafood – With low levels of toxins and high amounts of omega-3, barramundi from Australia is the next healthy seafood set to make waves.
•    Spice news – Turmeric, known for its antioxidant levels and anti-inflammatory properties, will make its way from curries to other dishes.
•    A wider gender gap – While women are taking action to improve their health through diet and exercise, men continue to lag behind.
•    Positive messaging – We’ll see more balanced messaging in 2012 about foods, as consumers look for tasty products that promote better health and wellness.