Changes on the American dinner table may have resulted from increased knowledge of the effects of food reaching far greater than merely satiating hunger. There is greater interest in healthy and natural living, food-based medical needs, as well as social & environmental awareness. It is now estimated, for example, that up to twelve million Americans have food allergies--and that number is growing. (The most common food allergies include nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat). Add to that fact that, according to the National Restaurant Association, the number of vegetarians (consuming no animal products other than eggs & dairy) has more than doubled in population since 1994, and that 1% of all children between the ages of 8 & 18 are vegan (no meat, eggs, dairy, or honey,) and even far more families are consuming less meat than in the past (statistics according to a 2010 national poll by Harris Interactive)--
While the failure rate of new grocery products is said to be as high as 80%, some sharp new food entrepreneurs such as Austin, Texas based “Nacho Mom’s”, have embraced the new consumer trends and, consequently, seen unparalleled growth for a new food product. Chef Alana, the President of Nacho Mom’s, went from merely a product idea in July 2010 to the #1 best selling dip on Amazon.com as well as national sales in hundreds of major grocery stores, (such as Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, PCC Markets, HEB, and Mother’s Markets) only a few months later--simply by filling overlapping empty niche markets with a familiar food item.
“My goal was simply to create the first great tasting all-natural queso--that just happened to be vegan--with a better flavor than the processed cheese version,” Alana says. “A year later I’d done just that, but I also wound up with a queso that was 100% allergen-free, cholesterol-
As food manufacturers rush to catch up to what consumers deem “better” for them, their families, or the planet, it seems that food trends of the future are likely evolving to create items the entire family can share, regardless of individual food needs, without it tasting like an “alternative.”
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