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You’ll eat smaller, more frequent meals this year, predicts Phil Lempert, a food marketing expert known as the Supermarket Guru. Behind the trend? “Doctors and registered dietitians all say that having five to six smaller meals a day helps with digestion,” Lempert says. “And people want to mix it up when it comes to what they’re eating.” Here’s what he sees:
Protein options. As meat costs rise, people seek affordable protein. Result: more nut-based snacks such as almonds flavored with dark chocolate or wasabi, and more people eating sunflower seeds. Roasted chickpeas, too.
Better portion control. When 100-calorie packaged items were introduced, people complained about small portions. The solution: new flavor choices. An Oreo or Fig Newton 100-calorie package doesn’t contain much volume. “But if they are dipped in chocolate, when we have a flavor that makes our mouth go ‘wow,’ we’re accepting of the smaller portions.”
Smarter nuking. New microwave steaming trays and other packaging innovations make it easier to create well-heated food quickly. Result: “Smaller [package] sizes, so you can create your own smorgasbord on the dinner table.”
Snack breakfast. Picture a one-egg mini-omelet. “We have seen the happy-hour phenomenon at lunch and dinner. I think we’ll see it at breakfast.”