In the U.S., consumer trends in buying and eating foods are changing, according to Dr. A. Elizabeth Sloan of Sloan Trends Inc. Her presentation, “A New Age in Agriculture: Consumer Trends, Issues and Hot Spots,” at the Women in Agribusiness Summit in Minneapolis on September 29 discussed consumers’ changing views.

“From a consumer standpoint, we are in a new age of agriculture,” Sloan said.

According to research Sloan presented, the No. 1 trend in the past year is minimally processed foods, with 30 percent of consumers making a strong effort to eat minimally processed foods. The fastest-growing trend in the supermarket is fresh convenience foods.

“The marketplace is moving to fresh,” Sloan said.

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She said chemicals are the No. 1 safety issue for consumers, who also are avoiding artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Sloan said 29 percent of adults buy organic foods in order to avoid genetically modified foods.

In the area of sustainability, Sloan said responsible farming methods and animal welfare are among the fastest-growing sustainability claims. Forty-seven percent of supermarket shoppers say they will support companies that prioritize humane treatment of animals. One-third of consumers say they will pay more for meat and poultry from animals raised without antibiotics or hormones.