2017 was a big year for trends. What were once considered futuristic technologies like drones, robots and artificial intelligence are now merging with grocery retail to expand and re-shape the shopping experience. And, an influx of traceability, sustainability, e-commerce and Millennial shoppers continue to impact the future of food.

Looking into the New Year however doesn’t present anything new—just more of the same, but bigger, better, smarter, more flexible, more functional and more sustainable.

Macro trends like sustainability and health are converging in the 2018 trends, according to The Specialty Food Association’s Trendspotter Panel

Better-for-you claims continue to be on-trend, having increased market penetration from 42% in 2012 to 49% in 2017 YTD, according to a study produced by Innova Market Insights, The Netherlands.

And, the latest wave of culinary innovation is cooking up inspiration and innovation based more on the familiar than the exotic or foreign, as indicated in a report produced by Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md.

That’s why “market trends” was the No. 1 keyword search on our website, www.RFFmag.com, in 2017, followed by dairy, frozen foods, ice cream and food safety solutions.

Likewise, Industry News continues to take the No. 1 most visited section of our website; our Industry News section covers everything from market trends reports/studies to company news such as plant expansions, mergers and acquisitions and more.

New Retail Products, which publishes new product information on newly released retail and foodservice items, marks the second most visited section of our website followed by Technology Showcase, Expert Columns and Supplier News.

Cheers to a New Year and a newer way of doing business. Thank you for taking me along for the ride.