Free range, cage-free, no antibiotics -- the poultry and egg industries have already advanced considerably along the path to meeting the latest consumer concerns about the food on our plates.

Some of the above are also influencing the wider food industry, and playing out to varying degrees depending on the sector. Similarly, many of the trends affecting the food industry in general will play their part in what consumers demand from chicken and egg products, and hence production.

Innova Market Insights has just published its Top Trends for 2018 and I have detailed its Top Five predictions below.

Top Trends reveals that consumers are more conscious than ever about making responsible food choices. Four in 10 U.S. and U.K. consumers have increased their consumption of healthy foods, while 7 in 10 want to know and understand the ingredients list. One in 5 consumers in the U.S. is most influenced by “real” ingredients, while ethical claims on packaging are top of mind.

Innova has identified the following top five trends for the food industry for 2018:

1. Mindful choices

Consumers have become more conscious than ever about making responsible food choices, and increasingly want to know not only what is in their food but how it is produced.

1 in 2 U.S, U.K. and German consumers read ingredient labels often and 7 out of 10 U.S. and U.K. consumers want to know and understand ingredient lists.

At the same time, rising levels of interest in ethical issues have resulted in the use of ethical claims for food and drink new product development in recent years, with a compound annual growth rate of 44 percent over the 2011-2016 period.

2. Lighter enjoyment

As consumers continue to look for ways to eat and drink more healthily, lightness in terms of sweetness, flavor, texture or even portion size is increasing its appeal, although not at the expense of a familiar, high quality and indulgent taste profile.

3. Positively processed.

As consumers become more concerned about naturalness and minimal processing techniques, the industry is reviving traditional processes, while still developing new ones.

4. Going full circle

 The notion of closing the circle is increasingly taking hold, with greater consumer expectation that companies and brands will be more resource-smart via developments such as tip-to-tail eating, innovative uses for food waste and more biodegradable and renewable packaging.

5. Beyond the coffeehouse

 While coffee is clearly trending among some consumers, tea is seeking to reinvent itself among younger generations.

The other trends identified by Innova are: Say it with color; Dining out, in; From snacks to mini meals; Ocean garden; and, Bountiful choice.

“Natural” and “ethical” certainly are already in evidence in number of markets for poultry meat and eggs, and both chicken meat and eggs are viewed as health sources of protein. “Tip-to-tail” for many poultry consumers is the only way of eating meat. In developed markets the custom has been largely lost, and increasing the perceived value of certain meat types perhaps should be welcome for a variety of reasons. For producers it ought to be a way not only of improving their environmental profile, but also of increasing revenues.

According to the market research company, which will hold a live webinar of its Top Trends for 2018 later this month, the influence of consumers on the way that companies produce, package and label their products can only be expected to increase.