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A Seismic Shift in How People Eat

To read the full story log on to: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/opinion/a-seismic-shift-in-how-people-eat.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

Eating habits are changing across the country and food companies are struggling to keep up.

The food movement over the past couple of decades has substantially altered consumer behavior and reshaped the competitive landscape. Chains like Sweetgreen, a salad purveyor, are grabbing market share from traditional fast food companies. Brands such as Amy’s Kitchen, with its organic products, and Kind bars are taking some of the space on shelves once consumed by Nestlé’s Lean Cuisine and Mars.

For the large established food companies, this is having disastrous consequences. Per capita soda sales are down 25 percent since 1998, mostly replaced by water. Orange juice, a drink once seen as an important part of a healthy breakfast, has seen per capita consumption drop 45 percent in the same period. It is now more correctly considered a serious carrier of free sugar, stripped of its natural fibers. Sales of packaged cereals, also heavily sugar-laden, are down over 25 percent since 2000, with yogurt and granola taking their place.

General Mills will drop all artificial colors and flavors from its cereals. Perdue, Tyson and Foster Farm have begun to limit the use of antibiotics in their chicken. Kraft declared it was dropping artificial dyes from its macaroni and cheese. Hershey’s will begin to move away from ingredients such as the emulsifier polyglycerol polyricinoleate to “simple and easy-to-understand ingredients” like “fresh milk from local farms, roasted California almonds, cocoa beans and sugar.”

Those announcements reflect a new reality: Consumers are walking away from America’s most iconic food brands. Big food manufacturers are reacting by cleaning up their ingredient labels, acquiring healthier brands and coming out with a prodigious array of new products. 

To read the full story log on to: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/opinion/a-seismic-shift-in-how-people-eat.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad