Superfoods and Omega-3 may be everywhere but this year we will see a return to products that contain good old-fashioned ingredients. Consumers are becoming aware of so-called nasties in foods, such as MSG and hydrogenated fats, but are also growing more sceptical about additives that boost the health credentials of foods but about which they know little. So goodbye to modified maize starch, guar gum, maltitol and dextrose and hello to butter, sugar, cream and treacle.
The good old days
With their emphasis on fresh, seasonal, and locally produced goods, the UK's appetite for farmers' market-style
stores is set to explode in 2007. Stores such as North Yorkshire-based Weetons, which uses a modern retail format to update the traditional farm shop concept, and Farmers City Market, which opened its first store in Surrey this month, breathe life back into grocery shopping, bringing the very best of a traditional farmer's market under one roof. When you add to this the fact that they can also help to reconnect producers with consumers, reduce food miles, and provide farmers with a fairer price, they're a pretty compelling proposition. Gaelle Walker
Backing British dairy
Retailers will realise the attrition of our dairy farms is unsustainable. In the past, when farmers have quit, their cows and quota have been taken by others. There were fewer farmers - but no less milk. That's changing, with production heading downwards. In the age of green initiatives and local sourcing, the idea of importing milk is intolerable. So expect to see Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons imitate an Asda-style approach, with dedicated pools of farmers receiving a premium on the market price. Richard Clarke
Most people are confident that the United Co-operatives and Co-operative Group merger will go ahead - and that it's a good thing because it reduces overheads and gives the combined business extra clout. But if the two societies do merge it opens up a new debate - what will happen to the smaller co-ops? A merger between the UK's two biggest players would create a society that accounts for 75% of all co-operative sales. One City analyst claims the smaller societies are stuck because they are too small to compete with supermarkets but not niche enough to attract specific consumer attention. So will they give up their independence and merge too? Alison Bennett
This time last year cider was the talk of the alcohol aisles and the category blossomed, recording the highest growth out of all drinks categories last year. Many expect demand for cider to continue but for 2007 there are other areas to watch. The emerging trend for lower levels of alcohol is likely to take off as consumers seek drinks with flavour and quality but less strength. Wine producers are also on the case. Launches are likely to have strong appeal as the competition grows for demonstrating high standards in responsible drinks retailing. Sonya Hook
Supply heads overseas
Rising energy costs and increased pressure from retailers mean manufacturers will continue to be forced to consolidate their manufacturing footprints and rationalise their facilities.
This year, expect more UK food manufacturers to move production abroad to take advantage of lower-cost facilities and less red tape. With Eastern European countries just a 24-hour drive away from retailers' RDCs in the UK, and Romania and Bulgaria newcomers to the European Union, more companies are likely to leave UK shores.
Heinz and Nestlé have already announced plans to move production of some brands to Europe - who's next? Beth Phillips