As we do each year, Ultra set out to identify trends in the food world that are gaining traction in consumer packaged goods. We attended the Fancy Food Show and Expo West, combed through Mintel and The Innovation Group reports, listened to countless hours of podcasts from America’s Test Kitchen and Bon Appetit, and read anything about food trends we could find from sources like Lucky Peach, Cherry Bombe, the New York Times cooking section and Food Dive. We put it all together under five overarching consumer attitudes that are shaping how consumers think about food in 2016, and identified two trends that are coming from each specific attitude. Collectively, our 2016 food trends live as a hard-bound book, but we’ve made it accessible digitally to read or download (look for the download at the bottom). If you have any questions or would like more insight, we would love to hear from you.


Broadening Palates: Consumers crave new flavors and bolder tastes. We see these tastes coming through in the popularity of Jerky and Spicy foods.

Purist Attitudes: Decision criteria is narrowing. Consumers want nothing artificial, no sugar, and minimally process options. Consumers are turning to foods like Fat and Coconut to deliver rich flavor.

Authentic Experiences: Consumers are looking for original food experiences, found in ethnic and alternative foods. The complex flavors or Southeast Asia and Fermented Foods satisfy consumers’ complex palates.

Sustainable Food: Reducing food waste and environmental impact, bringing attention to crisis like drought and endangered species, and spotlighting alternative sources of food are of-the-moment.

Food Pharmacy: Consumers are looking at foods for the specific health benefits – vitamins, minerals, fiber, probiotics – and are creating a custom diet to deliver impactful changes on how they feel, look and act. Foods that are Unexpectedly Vegetal and foods that offer a New Boost do more to nourish consumers.