Food culture year in review: 2013, the year of disruption

It’s that time of year when The Hartman Group takes stock of what we’ve learned in day-to-day interactions with consumers and views it all through a broader lens—and this year was a doozy.

The year’s headlines reflect how disruptive it has been for the food business: Kroger said grocery shoppers became more unpredictable in part because of food-stamp benefit reductions. Wal-Mart reported a decline in packaged food sales and expectations for a flat holiday season. Amazon got more into groceries with a long-awaited expansion of its food home-delivery business—and freaked everyone out with a plan to someday deliver lightweight items using drones. The idea sparked a fresh idea from Stephen Colbert, who suggested the online retailer instead open “spending habit opportunity spaces”—S.H.O.P.S.—where consumers could buy goods in person.

The disruption was apparent at the household level, too. Consumers are increasingly aware of the food they eat, which makes talking to them more fascinating than ever. Here’s our list of seven trends that disrupted food culture in 2013.

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