Australian food and nutrition experts weigh in on top trends for 2016

From kale to quinoa, gluten-free to guilt-free or FODMAPs to fasting, there’s no better way to find out what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to food than by asking the experts – dietitians. Appetite Communications and Dietitian Connection have surveyed more than 100 dietitians[i] to reveal the top dietary trends for Australians in 2016 with some surprising results.

“We surveyed dietitians because they are the experts in everything food and nutrition – accredited practising dietitians are our greatest resource when it comes to what Australians are eating, thinking and doing about food, not to mention who we should be talking to when we need advice on what to eat,” said Maree Ferguson, founder and director of Dietitian Connection.

“Our survey revealed that some of 2015’s most popular food trends are on the way out, some time-honoured ingredients are on the up and social media continues to dominate when it comes to nutrition information.…..and not all of it is accurate,” said Andrea Mortensen, founder and director of Appetite Communications.


Top Five Food and Nutrition Trends for 2016:

  1. When old becomes new – trending IN

Amongst the top foods predicted to trend in 2016 by dietitians were those considered staple ingredients by some cultures for centuries – ancient grains and turmeric. “Ancient grains such as quinoa and spelt have been popular for a while now and dietitians are telling us that this will continue, alongside the growth in popularity of lesser-known grains such as freekah and teff,” said Maree. “This is good news as the message from dietitians around the importance of wholegrains seems to be getting through,” she said.

Teff is a tiny grain traditionally grown in Ethiopia that packs a big punch nutritionally – it’s high in dietary fibre and iron, provides calcium and protein and is gluten free. Turmeric, used for more than 4,000 years to ward off various ailments, and is now being hailed as a natural anti-inflammatory.

  1. Fading fads – trending OUT

Some of 2015’s most talked about foods are on the way out according to the survey – kale, bone broth and coconut oil/water topped the list of foods consumers are tipped to move away from in 2016. “These predictions show that food can often be a little like fashion – what’s in today may not be in tomorrow! However, that’s no reason to stop eating a green leafy vegetable like kale, it just highlights how quickly we adopt new trends then move on to the next big thing,” said Maree.

  1. Diets in demand

When it comes to actual diets, dietitians predict the low/no sugar diet, the FODMAPs diet and intermittent fasting will be amongst the most popular – but not necessarily what they would recommend when it comes to weight loss or maintenance. “Consumers are being exposed to a variety of ‘new’ and ‘latest’ weight loss programmes, secrets, supplements and methods – more than ever before thanks to the rise of social media,” said Andrea.

  1. Diet MISinformation

Dietitians have named social media, celebrity nutritionists and bloggers among the top sources of misinformation for diet and nutrition information in 2016. “Whilst there are some fantastic blogs, websites and social media pages run by dietitians on food and nutrition, there are also a growing number that are not, with some questionable advice being offered. Always check when you are looking for information on nutrition online that it’s being provided by an accredited practising dietitian,” said Maree.

  1. The Confusion Continuum

Unfortunately the rise of social media and the ‘non-expert’ has created confusion amongst consumers about what to eat, and dietitians predict this will continue in 2016, with more than half of those surveyed predicting consumers will be more confused than they were in 2015. “It’s important that Australians ‘cut through the clutter’ when it comes to information they receive on food and nutrition – and if in doubt, make an appointment to see an accredited practising dietitian who can help you do this,” said Maree.


The research also uncovered dietitians’ top tips for healthy eating in 2016:

  1. Eat mindfully: be aware of and attentive to what you are eating, take your time and enjoy it – this helps to reset your body to respond to the physical need to eat rather than an emotional one
  2. Include more plant-based foods in your diet – think outside the traditional fruit and vege square and look to pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds and wholegrains
  3. Eat guilt-free: enjoy a balanced diet based on core foods with the OCCASIONAL treat
  4. Know your portions and stick to them
  5. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  6. Eat less ‘discretionary foods’ or treats – keep these as an occasional indulgence, not an everyday staple


“As our research shows, the next food trend is often just around the corner and with some of the best produce in world, Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to delicious fresh food and ingredients. We continue to feel overwhelmed by options and dietary information however, so seeking up-to-date and practical advice from an accredited practising dietitian will ensure a great start to 2016,” concluded Andrea.




For further information please contact:

Virginia Johnstone

Appetite Communications

Mobile 0430 793 875



About Appetite Communications

Appetite Communications is a unique agency specialising in nutrition communications. Working in the health and wellbeing arena, we help food and beverage companies manage their reputation and brands.


About Dietitian Connection

Dietitian Connection is a one stop shop for busy nutrition professionals for nutrition, leadership and business resources, encompassing a website, e-newsletter, social media, events and more.   The vision of Dietitian Connection is to inspire and empower dietitians to be nutrition leaders.

[i] The survey was conducted amongst 3800 accredited practicing dietitians via the Dietitian Connection e-newsletter on 15 November 2015