Trends from the FNCE Show Floor

Trends from the FNCE Show Floor

October 14, 2015

By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

The Food & Nutrition Conference & Exposition (otherwise known as FNCE) provides a unique opportunity to review the latest trends.  This article provides a recap of trends spotted at FNCE 2015 and how retail dietitian nutritionists can capitalize on these trends.

Trend #1: Food Waste

As presented in the Food & Culinary Professionals session at FNCE, one-third of all food produced in the world is wasted; 60% at the consumer and retail level. Food waste is a key part of consideration in sustainability. For example, nearly 8% of greenhouse gas emissions are from wasted food.  

Action Options for Retail RDs:

  • Get educated on retail and consumer contributions to food waste as there are many elements to it.
  • Consider suggesting programs to your retailer that help manage the larger issue. Raley's for example sells blemished produce at 25-30% reduced cost and Hannaford diverts 80% of their store waste away from landfills.
  • Offer a cooking class on how to use leftovers. Think main meals but also side items like turning leftover bread into croutons or breadcrumbs.

Trend #2: Lentils

It surprised many RDNs to see the presence of so many lentil, dried bean and pea exhibitors on the show floor.   

Action Options for Retail RDs:

  • Understand the categories of your store where lentils are offered (think dry, canned, frozen).  Meet with these category managers to understand the profitability of these products and movement within the category.  Based on this data, pitch a promotion for these products.


Trend #3: Whole Grains are Back

Ancient grains, sprouted grains -- they're all back as evidenced in the FNCE exhibit hall. 

Action Options for Retail RDs:

  • Put together a short trend presentation or one-pager for buyers and category managers in the grain categories showcasing renewed consumer interest in this category.  Suggest how you can build newer whole grain products into your programs and services.

Trend #4: Niche Products with Limited Science

While many retail RDNs have previously expressed frustration with grass fed beef companies that try and tout the omega-3 content of their products, the trend is now extending to grass fed milk.

Action Options for Retail RDs:

  • Make sure that your buyers and category managers know you are willing to attend vendor meetings in partnership with them, especially for products with a nutrition and/or health positioning.  Evaluate claims made by these companies against science and FDA regulations.
  • Train buying colleagues on how to spot junk science.