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Friday, April 25, 2014

2014 Farmers' Market Food Trends

by Carla Snyder, Extension Educator, Adams Co.

The top food trend of eating healthy is holding strong for 2014, except it's cleaned up a bit.  The 2014 food trend buzzword of the moment is clean eating, meaning the same as the monotonously repeated healthy eating trend of previous years.  It translates to eating fresh nutritious food that is good for your body.  Most of us know this can only be a good addition to any lifestyle.

What's great about clean eating is that it's not only healthy, but it's helpful.  When paired with a farmers' market of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program there can be a community aspect to eating clean.  This means a greater number of health conscious eaters at market stands this summer.
FOTS Market. Ali Frohman - photographer

According to Eating Well magazine, clean eating also means more vegetables, less sodium, limiting processed foods and choosing whole grains.  Where are customers looking to shop to accomplish all of these healthy clean eating tips in one place?  The farmers' market.  Keep it in mind this season as you're selling your fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats.  Why are your customers standing on the other side of the table from you?  It's because they're looking for a clean healthy product for their family, and they're choosing your farm to provide it.  They're trusting in you and can't wait to see what's in store for this season.

Keep customers engaged this season with clean snacks.  "In the past 24 hours, 92% of the adult population had a snack" (Hartman Group, April 2014).  Combine these two trends to be a hit with the market crowd this season!

Keep your core grocery shopping customers on their toes by wowing their taste buds with a little amuse bouche while they shop.  It may be just the thing that sets your market stand apart and keeps customers coming back for more.

It doesn't have to be difficult or time consuming to accomplish clean snacking.  Think small packaging changes and your could open yourself up to a new market, meaning new sales and happy customers for 2014.  A small change such as packaging berries in small cups rather than quart boxes or pureeing watermelon for on-the-spot refreshment can easily attract more moms, kids and thirsty customers to your stand.  Of course, it can't be all fun and games - be sure to check with your local health department for regulations regarding sampling and serving foods ready to eat.

If you're really looking for a way to impress customers, take the clean trend a step further and be on the cutting edge of new product development.  The latest to hit the streets is maple water, the sweet and shy cousin of coconut water, this new product promises to hydrate, be made from local agricultural ingredients and is a shoe-in as the 2014 farmers' market food trend hit.

Keep up to date on food trends and more as they come out by following the Penn State Extension Ag Entrepreneurship Team on Facebook.  And as I raise a glass of maple water "cheers" to a clean and prosperous 2014 market season!

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