The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

2009 Forecasts

2009 Forecasts

In the News

December 28, 2008

Each new year brings change, and this one will be no exception. With a shifting administration, weakened economy and the increase of erratic weather patterns, the year ahead is ripe with possibilities. Here are our top five forecasts for the food industry in 2009.

No. 5: Small Store Formats

Now that Walmart, Tesco, Albertsons and Safeway are expanding into the smaller store format, we can expect to see more changes in how people shop. In the search for convenience, shoppers will gravitate to stores that offer pre-assembled meals and a smaller selection of needed items. Their hectic lifestyles also go hand-in-hand with the trend to shop more often, and for fewer items on shorter grocery trips.

No. 4: Politics and Food Safety

When Barak Obama takes the reigns as President, we can expect to see changes in the arena of food safety. As Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle will be in charge of the FDA. It will be his role to help improve the agency’s credibility as we continue to face the challenge of keeping both our imports and domestic products safe. Daschle is also expected to take aim at the nation’s health care crisis.

No. 3: Local vs. Locale

While buying locally grown continues to be an important trend, buying by locale is also starting to come into play in a major way. Why? Local goods help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but they aren’t necessarily as food safe. Products grown in the U.S. and identified by locale (city, state, etc.) are helping to build a more traceable bridge between local and imported goods.

No. 2: Food Brands

The increase of private label brands is helping consumers keep some money in their wallets – which is a good thing, in the short term, for shoppers. However, since store brands tend to follow the trends of what larger food companies are doing, we see the risk in expanding store brands as a potential loss of innovation. Much like we have seen in Detroit, without keeping ahead of the trends and creating new products, our retail stores could become as exciting as a used car showroom. In order for brands to succeed and capture shoppers’ trust and loyalty, they will have to continually push the envelope.

No. 1: Weather and the Economy

Fluctuating weather patterns are making it harder to predict crop output each season, which makes it hard to plan what to plant and how much to grow. And the unpredictable economy isn’t helping matters. Retailers, consumers and farmers will need to become more flexible as weather and economic changes force the food industry to expect the unexpected.

All of us here at The Lempert Report wish you and your family and friends the happiest of Holidays and look forward to great things in the coming food year.