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How Food Trends Affect the Food System?

This past year has provided us with numerous food trends and ways to revolutionize our food habits. From avoiding gluten to taking a hint from our paleolithic ancestors, 2013 saw a variety of trends that have influenced the way we, the general public, think about food. With a new year upon us, we eagerly wait to see what food trends 2014 will supply. The growing trend for 2014 seems to be a “back to basics” mentality. Clean eating, whole foods, locally sourced, plant based diets; these are all phrases that would have caused our former steak and potato generations to furrow their brows in confusion. It is these phrases, however, that act as the driving force behind current food trends. There is a growing desire to know where our food comes from, what’s in it, and how it is going to benefit our bodies.

Adopting a new lifestyle change in reference to diet will undoubtedly change the individual, but what about the larger impacts? How do these food trends affect our communities? With this growing trend of natural based eating, you see an increase in companies adopting ecologically responsible methods of creating and supplying their food in order to cater to their eco-conscious patrons. Restaurants proudly advertise locally sourced food items, vegetarian/vegan choices, and an assortment of organic options. Restaurants catering to vegan and other health conscious pallets can be seen on every city block. These things have now become a selling point for businesses creating a “race to the top” atmosphere in providing healthy food options.

With locally sourced food becoming a growing trend in available food options, the number of farmers markets has exploded. These markets act as a way to integrate healthy food options, grow the local economy, and nurture a sense of community. By having current food trends place an emphasis on natural and local foods, a larger market base has been created for local agriculture. Rather than competing with industrial farms and the enormous yields of homogenous crops they supply, local farms allow for biodiversity and can sell crops back to their communities, boosting the local economy and benefiting the environment through reducing transportation emissions and maintaining genetic variation in their crops.

All of these things lead to the creation of “conscious eating”. Being a conscious eater means you are eating in a way that allows you to understand the impacts your choices have not only to yourself and your body, but to your entire community. Everyday we have the opportunity to nourish our bodies and environment in a positive way, it’s just a matter of making that decision. With the growing food trends of 2014 supporting healthy and natural eating habits, that choice has become very simple.

Written By: Guest Blogger Jamie Heisch