Category Archives: Market Insights

2019 Food Trends: Plant-Based Proteins

Plant-based foods are booming as Americans look to reduce meat consumption.

Plant-Based Protein 2019 Market Insights Slides
Download our Plant-Based Protein 2019 Market Insight slides here.

This is the first of a series of posts we will be making on Top Food Trends for 2019. To kick it off, we’ll begin with what we believe is the biggest food trend of the year: plant-based proteins.

What once was a small category reserved for the 5% of Americans that consider themselves vegetarian or 3% that consider themselves vegan (that’s according to Gallop) has now become one of the fastest growing trends in consumer packaged goods. From dairy alternative beverages to sports nutrition and everywhere in between, the plant-based protein trend has hit mainstream with a vengence.

Why is the category growing?

There are a lot of reasons but the main one is quite simple: Americans are reducing their consumption of meat. According to a recent 2017 study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 55% of consumers are reducing their consumption of processed meat and 41% are reducing their consumption of red meat. So while the number of Americans claiming to be vegetarian or vegan hasn’t changed since 2012, the number of Americans looking to reduce meat from their diet has grown considerably.

How do we know it’s a really big trend?

Even new quick serve restaurants are popping up regularly, entirely focused on this trend. Amy’s Drive Thru, a vegetarian fast food restaurant, is breaking ground on a third location this spring. Burger King just announced it will be offering the plant-based “Impossible Whopper” at several locations nationwide. (If you haven’t heard about the comotion Impossible Burger made at Expo West this year, you might want to read this.) When a food trend hits the fast food world, you KNOW it’s a big trend!

More Plant-Based Protein Insights

Curious to learn more about this top food trend for 2019? You can download our Plant-Based Protein Market Insights slides to uncover the powerful potential of the plant based proteins movement.

5 Organic Food Industry Trends You Need to Know

2016-9-29-50-of-millennial-buy-organic-2Most know without reading a single word of research that the organic food movement is growing. Organic products are throughout most grocery stores and making major inroads in wholesale clubs (Read: Costco sells more organic food than Whole Foods) and convenience stores. Organic beauty products and pet foods are showing huge growth potential with new products popping up at every tradeshow we attend.  To keep your thumb on the pulse of the organic food industry, we’ve honed in on 5 Organic Food Industry Trends You Need to Know:
  1. Market to the Millennial – According to a survey published by the Organic Trade Association in September 2016, 52% of organic buyers are millennials. And they aren’t new to organics.  Many of them grew up eating organic food so they are much more familiar with what organic means and why it’s important. They are also the most adventurous and worldly demographic; open to experimentation in the kitchen with a keen eye for global flavors.  If you’re creating an organic food product, make sure it resonates with the millennial shopper.
  2. Not Just Any Produce, Value-Added Produce – Organic produce is growing in general. According to the Organic Trade Association and Nielsen, the organic produce category grew 16.4% in 2015. However, the real opportunity is in value-added produce. This relates to the millennial shopper that wants convenience, flavor and fun delivered with their cooking experience. The addition of organic herbs and spices provide a great opportunity to add value to this organic category favorite.
  3. Wholesale Clubs are Hot – We mentioned it at the top of the article but it bares repeating, Costco sells more organic food than Whole Foods! There is a huge opportunity here for almost any organic food manufacturer. Organic food has been wildly successful in club formats and they are always looking for new products to bring their customers in the door more frequently.
  4. Foodservice is the New Frontier – We’re not talking white tablecloth restaurants.(Although many have been passionate promoters of organics for decades.) We’re talking about the quick service restaurant (QSR) category. Amy’s opened their first restaurant this year. The mostly organic, all-vegetarian menu is a nod to what many say is the future of fast food. And, to further confirm how convinced Costco’s top management is of the organic opportunity, The Organic Coup, America’s first certified organic fast food restaurant, opened in California this spring with the financial backing of Costco’s founder and former CEO, Jim Sinegal, and Chief Financial Officer, Richard Galanti.
  5. Meal Kit Mania – It’s the big disrupter. A game changer.  We joke at HQO that it’s the “ affect.” Consumers don’t want to go to stores anymore. They want everything delivered to their doorstep – including their next fresh, made-from-scratch meal. Meal kit delivery services are popping up left and right to answer the call.  Some give caution to this rapidly growing food frontier. It’s full of a lot of newbies. Meanwhile, established food brands and grocery stores are also starting to get into the mix. Regardless, it’s not to be ignored. Packaged Facts values the industry at $1.5 billion with the expectation that it will double in the next few years.  Blue Apron alone reportedly ships 8 million meals per month.  Many of these meal kit services focus on  fresh, organic ingredients and the door-to-door service gives the food industry and new and intimate opportunity to share the food story with the consumer.
It is abruptly clear. These five trends give us an exciting and optimistic message. There’s no better time for the organic food industry to make an even bigger imprint at the American dinner table.

What the GMO Labeling Law Means for Your Food Business

Organic is Non-GMOOn August 1, 2016 President Obama signed a GMO Labeling bill into law and overrides the Vermont GMO Labeling Law that went into effect on July 1, 2016. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has two years to write the rules. (Which means food companies will likely have until August 2018 – possibly longer- to comply.)

The good news? If you already produce certified organic food products, you are already non-GMO. That is because any grower or food manufacturer that wishes to become USDA Certified Organic must abstain from using any genetically modified ingredients. Therefore, if you’d like, you can add a statement on your package such as, “GMO Free,” or “Made with non-GMO Ingredients,” or “Always Organic, Always non-GMO,” etc. However, if you’re not certified organic but still want to make a non-GMO claim, you will need to go through the non-GMO Certified process.

The bad news? This federal law is said to be a much more confusing and less impactful than what was passed in Vermont for one main reason, how the on-package labeling is to appear.  For example, the Vermont law required that any product containing GMOs must state, “produced with genetic engineering” on the product.  However, the federal law gives food companies a variety of ways to claim GMO ingredients: say it in plain words on the package or provide a QR code, 1-800 number, or website for consumers to visit for more information. Many argue that this does not give the consumer needed information and transparency at the point of purchase.

Why we should take note of this issue? These laws come at a time when the non-GMO claim is one of the fastest growing on-package statements -with more than 15% of new product packages making a non-GMO reference in 2015, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database. At the same time, a recent global consumer study by HealthFocus International reveals 87% of consumers globally think non-GMO products are healthier and 55% think genetically modified crops are worse for the environment.

With these on-going market indicators, it is clear that the GMO issue isn’t going anywhere. Regardless of what the final rules come to be for the new federal law, food businesses will need to be prepared to be transparent in their use of genetically modified ingredients.

Remember, all USDA certified organic products do not allow genetically modified organisms (GMOs). When you purchase certified organic ingredients from High Quality Organics you are purchasing products that have not been made with genetically modified organisms.

For additional information visit:
Non-GMO requirements under the National Organic Program
Can GMOs be used in USDA Certified Products?
Why should I have my products Non-GMO Project Verified if my products are already USDA Certified Organic?

Top 5 Trends at IFT 2016

ift16logoEvery July, more than 20,000 food technologists from nearly 100 countries come together at the Institute of Food Technologist’s (IFT)  Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicago.  This year, High Quality Organics’ very own Micah Bowser, Food Scientist and Project Manager, was in attendance. He shared with us five key themes he saw throughout the show.

Protein: Specifically, protein sources to replace animal protein (meat/milk/whey) are exploding. Pea, rice and insect proteins were the most popular. I’d say this is the biggest trend as far as product development.

Fiber: Beginning to rival protein, fiber is becoming more popular as a functional ingredient. Many companies were pushing proprietary formulas of high fiber ingredients. This fiber trend is why whole fruit and vegetable powders are trending in the supplement industry. Juice powders and concentrates don’t contain pulp, the fibrous part of the fruit that is pressed out during extraction.

Whole Fruit Powders: Taking a nod from the fiber trend, whole fruit powders were mentioned in several places throughout the show. The supplement industry appears to be driving the demand for these products.

Organic Flavors and Colorants: I saw a lot of new companies showcasing organic flavors and colorants derived from fruit and vegetable extracts. This really speaks to the clean label trend we have been seeing for a while.

Organics – In general, I noticed a lot of companies promoting new organic lines or additional organic SKUS. IFT typically doesn’t have a strong organic pressence but this year there was a definite increase in organic ingredient and product mentions.

To read more about the trends noted at IFT 2016, click on the news articles below.

IFT 2016: The Next Big Flavor Trends

Top 10 Food Trends Unveiled at IFT 2016

IFT 2016 Part 2: Ingredients and Trends to Watch

Trendspotting at IFT: What We Saw at the World’s Biggest Food Science Expo

Power to the Pumpkin: Market Trends

5waysWithPumpkinPieSpiceV3Now the queen of fall flavor, pumpkin has soared in popularity over the past few years.   Mintel food tracker has noted a 130% increase since 2006 in pumpkin in beverages alone. And pumpkin on food menus is up 32% from 2010 to 2013.

Pumpkin pie spice seems to be the main driver in most new product introductions like Chobani’s Pumpkin Greek Yogurt, noted as the best new product launch in the company’s history.  Some other savvy (and not-so-savvy) product introductions using pumpkin spice range from marshmallows and jello to bagels and beer.  Some of the most notable new product introductions over the past few years include:

Summer Fancy Food Show Recap

Summer Fancy Food Show LogoEarlier this month, over 180,000 products from nearly 2,500 food manufacturers were showcased at The Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.  HQO had two representatives on site to walk the show and scope out the major trends. Here’s what they saw:

1. Chocolate – No news here. Chocolate is always big at the Fancy Food Show.  However, there seems to be a continued surge in the use of herbs and spices in chocolate.  One of the most unique combinations we saw this year was chocolate with chillies and cherries.

2014_7_18_FFS Olive Oil & Vinegars2. Vinegars and Olive Oils – Specialty oils and vinegars continue to have a strong presence at the show. This year we’ve been seeing considerably more herb and spice infused products.  Some unexpected flavor combinations were olive oil with lavender and balsamic vinegar with espresso.

3. Popcorn – Snacks have been a big trend for at least a year and they show no sign of loosing steam.  Popcorn was the leader, by far, with new twists: sweet toppings like chocolate and caramel, half-popped popcorn and petite maize.

4. Salami (Charcuterie) – Salamis and sausages are found in abundance at the Fancy Food Show.  This year we started to see more all natural and no preservative varieties. Also, olives stuffed with carrots and capers.

5. Coconut Water – It’s still going strong! Coconut water is still popping up in lots of places at the show. We also saw it being used in a variety of other ways. Our consensus: coconut is here to stay.

To get a sneak peak at some of the emerging trends, be sure to check out the Specialty Foods Association’s Top Trends article.

Top Five Trends at the World Tea Expo 2014

World Tea Expo

Every year, around springtime, the tea industry gathers for The World Tea Expo. The event is only a few years old but is quickly gaining a reputation for being the place to track the latest and greatest tea trends.  High Quality Organics was there and noted these five trends.


Fruit continues to be a popular trend with teas.

1. Fruit – U.S. consumers have a sweet tooth – we love sugar! Yet, we all are trying to live healthier and cut “empty” calories. The result is more and more companies are looking for creative ways to reduce their use of refined sugar in their food and beverage products. Fruit is a natural solution, especially for teas as the flavors marry so well together. Pomegranate, mango and blood orange were just a few of the fruits I saw highlighted at the show.

2. Flowers – This was a new trend. I saw a lot of different flowers being used this year. Given tea’s botanical nature, it makes perfect sense that flowers would be a nice match for some of the more delicate teas like green and white.  Adding a floral note is such a creative way to make some very nice flavor combinations. I’m excited to see how this trend develops over the coming year.

The new trend this year was the creative use of flowers in tea blends.

The new trend this year was the creative use of flowers in tea blends.

3. Functional Teas – Probably a no-brainer to most of you, American consumers are increasingly demanding food and beverages that aid in their overall health and wellbeing.  Fortunately, tea already has a very healthy “halo” around it so the tea industry, for the most part, has a pretty easy job to do. What is new this year are the creative uses of other products blended with tea to address specific health concerns or target audiences.

4. Loose Leaf/Specialty – I reported on this trend last year. Specialty tea is one of the major opportunities for growth within the tea segment. The U.S. tea industry, valued at $8 billion, is expected to grow by another $2 billion in 2014, according to World Tea Media, and specialty tea is driving that growth with an estimated 60% market share.

5. Ready to Drink (RTD) – The majority of tea consumed in the U.S. is iced – 85% according to World Tea Media – and American’s love of the cold brew makes the ready-to-drink format the fastest growing tea segment. While specialty tea may be the big sister of the tea industry, RTD tea is the little engine that could – growing from less than a billion dollars to over 3 billion in the last 15 years. As consumers continue to demand convenient, healthful foods and beverages, RTD tea will see nice growth.

Takeaways from the 2013 Sustainable Foods Summit Europe

Sustainable Foods Summit AmbersterdamOrganic Monitor hosted the annual Sustainable Foods Summit Europe in Amsterdam in June. Given HQO’s global presence, our CEO, Raju Boligala, always attends. He not only gathers the latest insights on the issues that are top-of-mind in Europe, but he is often asked to speak or moderate a panel. Raju always enjoys this important dialogue with our global ‘neighbors’ and came back with the following takeaways. But first, a top-line look at the growth the global organic and Fair Trade industry are achieving. (Source: Organic Monitor.)

Global Organic Industry
Market Size (2011) $62.8 billion
Market Growth: 6% (YOY) & 172% since 2002 
Global Fair Trade Industry
Market Size (2011) $6.6 billion
Market Growth 12$ (YOY) & 206% since 2006

2013_6_Raju at Sustainable Summit Europe1. Addressing the sustainability challenge while ensuring all stakeholders are taken care of.

As the global organic industry continues to grow, it experiences new challenges. One of the biggest messages this year was the importance of maintaining sustainability for all stakeholders: from the communities where the product is grown or manufactured to the generations to come who will be relying on the land or water resources we utilize.

2.  Sustainable foods in urban cities

We have several challenges caused by our current food and agriculture industry according to the presentations by Food Cycle, a charity using unwanted food (potential food waste) and volunteers to provide delicious meals for those in need, and Sustainable Food Cities, a non-profit working to create food secure cities with the collaboration of health, food, government, academic, community and charitable organizations.

– An epidemic of diet-related diseases impacting our population meaning our children may become the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents.

– Food poverty affects more than ¼ of all people on the planet (15% in the U.S. according to the U.S. Poverty Report 2012).

– Food and farming is responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions and is contributing to a decline in the quality or our soils, water and biodiversity.

– We throw away 50% of all the food we produce.

– Most farmers earn less than minimum wage and food workers consistently receive lower than average wages.

– We have an abundance of low-nutrient food made in an unsustainable model

– Food is a powerful vessel to not only enrich the environment and economy but improve the health and vitality of the community.  By improving the entire system – from the soil to the supper plate – we can make monumental change.

3.  Management of sustainable products in retailing

The Delhaize Group spoke about the importance of improving sustainability throughout the supply chain as it relates to retail products.  Some of the key points were:

– Developing more intimate relationships with producers

– Bringing consumers closer to farmers

– Creating closer relationships with community

– Reducing food waste

– Partnering with environmental organizations to develop sustainable sourcing programs. (They partnered with the World Wildlife Fund to improve their seafood sourcing.)

– A major way to accomplish all of these tasks is through training: producers/supply chain, sales and marketing, buyers and consumers.

Raisio Water Footprint Product4.  Water and water footprint measurement in sustainability

The Raisio Group spoke about the new challenges and opportunities in measuring water usage.  They brought the first consumer product with a water footprint seal to market (click on the image to learn more) and have learned a lot in the process.  Some of their main points were:

– Quite frankly, consumers aren’t really thinking about the impact their consumption has on water resources.

– It’s extremely difficult to measure a product’s total water impact. For example, to measure water impact fairly, you can’t just measure water consumption but must also take into account the impact grey water has on the environment.

5.  Proliferation of eco labels

Organic Monitor has presented on a very important topic eco-confusion at both the American and European Sustainable Summits.  

Eco Confusion – 52% of Americans are overwhelmed by the environmental information provided on products. Yet there are over 400 registered environmental labels worldwide.  Consumers want environmental information from companies but don’t confuse them with five different seals on the package. Source: 2012 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker

Eco Confusion – 52% of Americans are overwhelmed by the environmental information provided on products. Yet there are over 400 registered environmental labels worldwide. Consumers want environmental information from companies but don’t confuse them with five different seals on the package. Source: 2012 Cone Green Gap Trend Tracker

6.  Sustainable commodities

7.  Ancient grains and natural sweeteners

8.  Marketing claims and mislabels

9.  Social media and digital marketing – Well-respected speakers like the ow

Raju at Sustainable Foods Summit

HQO CEO, Raju Boligala, asks a question at the Sustainable Foods Summit Europe.

10.  Consumer insights on attitudes towards sustainable foods – 2/3 of consumers are consider the “middle green” – meaning they need to be educated and influenced to purchase sustainable products.  It was encouraged that sustainable food companies focus on marketing to this demographic, not the “dark green” consumer, who already searches out sustainable products.

It’s definitely an exciting time for the food and organic industry.


HQO Market Insight: Time for Tea

2013_6_13_HQO Tea Trends_D3 copy


The U.S. tea industry is on the fast track for growth.  Learn the latest on this centuries old beverage in our latest white paper. Not only will you get a glimpse of the different types of tea and tea history, you’ll also learn the latest market data and top trends in tea today.

Click here or on the image to read the full document.

HQO Market Insight: Hispanics

Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. Learn more about this important market opportunity in our latest white paper below. Click here to download the pdf.

2013_5_29_HQO Hispanic_D1 copyIf you’re not sure how to create Hispanic-friendly flavors or products, we’d be happy to be your resource.  High Quality Organics not only provides thousands of certified organic ingredients — many of which meet the flavor preferences of Hispanics — but our in-house R&D team (including 15-year herb and spice veteran Chef Dawn Wykoff) can help you create a custom blend or product that meats the needs of the rapidly growing Hispanic market. Contact us today at or 775-971-8550.