Discussions about nutrition, its role in health and weight issues is nothing new, but according to an International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association survey, U.S. consumers are more aware of nutrition than ever before. IDDBA's "What's In Store" 2008 report, indicates that consumers also are looking to the food industry to help them achieve their nutritional goals.

From there, IDDBA points to the major strategies that food processors will embrace in order to meet consumers' changing health priorities this year.

  • Portion size: Most Americans aren't able to gauge appropriate serving sizes or estimate the calorie levels that they need or consume in a given day. The food industry's response has begun with single-serving entrees and 100-calorie packs.
  • More graphic product labels: Many retailers have created their own labels to flag a product's nutritional qualities. IDDBA cites Hannaford Brothers' "Guiding Stars" system as one such example. It flags "healthier" products based on fat, sodium, calorie and other such considerations. 
  • Functional foods: These are foods medically beneficial additions that reach beyond the food's basic nutritional value. This segment is predicted to grow about 10 percent annually in the United States. Ingredients that will be in highest demand include omega-3 fatty acids, glucosamine and probiotics.
  • Organic foods: The Organic Trade Association predicts that sales of fresh organic products will increase 11 percent annually from 2007 to 2010.

Source: International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, Meatingplace.com