Likely influenced more by food safety than religious concerns, kosher led the top 10 descriptions on new products introduced from January 2008 through Dec. 10, 2008, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD).

"Kosher" led 2008 new product claims

Likely influenced more by food safety than religious concerns, kosher led the top 10 descriptions on new products introduced from January 2008 through Dec. 10, 2008, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD). As reported, GNPD data show 5,389 new product introductions had kosher claims during 2008.

Interestingly enough, kosher also led 2007 product claims.Foodnavigator quoted an earlier Mintel release, which suggested that the kosher market is growing“not so much because of religion but because consumers of various backgrounds trust kosher foods to be safer and clearly marked as to ingredient content.”

Mintel research indicated that (1) more than half of consumers who purchased kosher products did so because they considered them to be safer than products not certified as kosher, (2) consumers believe kosher food is produced under stricter supervision than is provided by government inspection and (3) the kosher symbol guarantees that the food is free of contaminants or disease.

GNPD: Top 10 new product claims in 2008

1. Kosher

2. All natural

3. No additives/preservatives

4. Organic

5. Microwaveable

6. Transfat (low/no/reduced)

7. Fat (low/no/reduced)

8. Premium

9. Allergen (low/no/reduced)

10. Calorie (low/no/reduced)

Natural, organic demand still strong but ...

Despite the economic recession, consumers appear likely to maintain spending for retail natural and organic (N&O) products in 2009. Mambo Sprouts Marketing, Collingswood, N.J., said it surveyed 1,066 natural and organic consumers about their buying habits and 2009 plans. According to the survey, 41 percent of respondents have no plans to change while 40 percent said they will only change spending “somewhat.” Only 18 percent said they plan “notable” adjustments to their N&O shopping habits.

To stretch their food dollars, consumers said they are using more grocery coupons (81 percent), stocking up more on sale items (73 percent) and cooking more meals at home (61 percent). One in two are becoming more selective when buying organics (50 percent) and buying store brand organic products (49 percent).

Asked what actions natural product companies and retailers can take to assist with N&O purchasing, nine in 10 respondents called for more organic coupons (91 percent) and lower prices (88 percent). One out of every two say they want a wider selection of organic products.

Editors, experts forecast 2009's top 10 menu trends

Ready for a taste of something new? This year’s restaurant menus may feature more items inspired by French cuisine as well as beer and barbecue flavors and formats. Those are just a few of the disparate top 10 menu predictions fromFlavor & The Menu(FTM) magazine, a Tigard, Ore., publication specializing in flavors trends used in menu development. As reported by4Hoteliers, a foodservice internet database,FTMeditors said they consulted with a broad range of restaurant industry experts for a forecast of this year’s top influences.

“With restaurant visits and check averages in decline, restaurants are looking to tap into new growth opportunities,” noted Cathy Holley,FTM’s publisher and editor-in-chief. “As chefs explore ways to differentiate their menus and create craveable offerings – especially in an unsteady economic climate – many of these trends will factor into their menu-development strategies.”

Flavor & The Menu’s Top 10 Trends for 2009

1. Top culinary trend: Tapping beer’s potential

2. Top concept trend: Barbecue branches out

3. Top comeback trend: French bistro

4. Top menu-making trend: Snacks

5. Top ethno-cuisine: Asian noodle mania

6. Top sauce trend: Fruitful finishes

7. Top high-impact ingredient: American artisanal

8. Top buzzword: “farm”

9. Top beverage trend: Latin refreshers

10. Top dessert trend: Italian inspirations

NRA survey: Nutrition, philosophy will drive 2009 menu choices

A National Restaurant Association (NRA) survey of more than 1,600 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation – reveals that nutrition and philosophy-driven food choices will drive menu trends in 2009. NRA, Washington, D.C., said local produce, bite-size desserts, organics, healthful kids’ meals and new cuts of meat top the list of nearly 210 culinary items in the third annual “What’s Hot” chef survey. Rounding out the top 10 trends are kids’ vegetable/fruit side dishes, “superfruits” (including acai and mangosteen), small plates/tapas/mezze/dim sum, artisan liquor and sustainable seafood.

“As the wider trend of health continues to grow, the trend of choosing certain foods to follow one’s personal philosophy has also gained momentum in the culinary world,” said Dawn Sweeney, NRA president and CEO. “As interest in food and the culinary arts grows in the United States, consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about the food they eat and chefs are putting their enormous talents to work to fulfill the demand for dishes that follow these trends.”

Just the Facts

Better together? According to a recent study, certainfoods have increased benefits when eaten togetherFor example, University of Illinois researchers report that tomatoes and broccoli show increased cancer-fighting properties when eaten together. Scientists say another powerful combo is spinach salad and mandarin oranges, which increase the body’s iron absorption.
Source: Chicago Tribune 

Marinating beef in red wine or beer may lower its cancer-risk. According to a new study, beef that was marinated in pilsner beer and red wine showed smaller concentrations of heterocyclic amines - compounds linked to carcinogen build up in humans. reported that researchers from the University of Porto found that the marinated beef showed an88 percent reductionin heterocyclic amines.
Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

While beef remains the most popular protein in the U.S., chicken showed the most growth last year. Combined retail and foodservice chicken salesincreased 6.7 percentlast year. Meanwhile, beef, turkey and veal sales have all decreased in sales over the last decade.
Source: Packaged Facts’ The Fresh Meat Market in the U.S.