Americans’ Shifting Tastes are Rattling the Food Industry

How the food industry is scrambling to keep up with demand for organic and more wholesome vittles.

A growing number of Americans are shifting their food dollars to purchase organic products.

And it’s driving a seismic shift in the food industry, market research expert Susan Schwallie of NPD Group told The Charleston Post and Courier.

“As evidence of the current ‘food apocalypse,’ Schwallie cited renewed interest in organic food; prevailing concerns about preservatives; the falloff in processed food sales and the rise of ‘better-for-you snacks’ such as yogurt and nuts, which are poised to overtake candy and cookies by 2018,” the Post and Courier said.

Not surprisingly, millennials are largely responsible for the food revolution. NPD research has shown that millennials often eat at home, but if they’re grabbing a quick bite out, they prefer Chipotle and Panera Bread over fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King.

This shift in food preferences is taking its toll on big American food companies. In just the last year, major packaged-food companies lost more than $4 billion in market share, Fortune said. It’s also impacting the restaurant industry. Restaurant visits are down 10 percent from 2000, The Post and Courier reported.

Americans seems to be looking for a simpler, more authentic food experience. This has driven a surge in organic food purchases in recent years. In fact, organic food sales have tripled over the past 10 years, increasing by 11 percent in 2014 to $35.9 billion, Fortune notes.

Alongside millennials, higher-income families with children are the most likely to eat organic foods, Schwallie said. This shift to organic has led many big food companies to purchase organic brands. For instance, Hormel owns Applegate Farms and General Mills bought Annie’s Organic Foods.

“There are major changes going on in the food industry,” Schwallie said. “It’s seismic.”

Find out which 10 organic foods are worth the extra cost.

If you want to purchase organic foods but don’t want to drain your wallet, check out our tips here.

I buy organic milk and fruit and meat when possible – and when it doesn’t kill my grocery budget. Grocery prices are already outrageous in rural Montana, so my pocketbook takes an additional hit with organic, but my kids’ health comes first.

Have you shifted your grocery shopping habits in the last decade? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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