What We’re Reading: “From Kale to Chia: Plot the Arc of a Food Fad”

What We’re Reading: “From Kale to Chia: Plot the Arc of a Food Fad”

In our constant effort to stay on top of food trends, the Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Nassauer, provided a refreshing scope of food fads from start to finish. Take a look at the arc of a food fad below: Fat is good for you, artificial sweetener bad and cricket flour is a real thing being sold as a healthy source of protein in snack bars. Food companies and grocers count on us flitting from one eating habit to another to profit from a steady supply of products tailored to new tastes. But forecasting eating habits is tricky. Some new foods or health trends become common parts of daily life, like $4 lattes, while others such as caffeine gum fizzle. Predicting which is which—and tracking a trend on the way up and down—have become especially important to big food companies as shoppers turn away from old standbys in favor of food perceived as healthy or premium. Overall U.S. food sales were flat in 2014 compared with the previous year while foods labeled with health attributes such as gluten free, organic, and GMO-free rose 13%, according to sales data from Nielsen. Shoppers have recently started gobbling up whole milk nearly as often as skim, according to Nielsen data. Butter and eggs are resurgent after years of sales decline amid low-fat diets and fear of cholesterol. Eggs are now seen as a good, cheap source of protein. Food trends typically advance in predictable stages. New culinary fashions often appear first in a creative chef’s kitchen, at an ethnic restaurant or are invented by the eccentric owner of a small food company, says Kimberly...