CHICAGO — WATTS WACKER is resident "futurist" and senior strategy consultant with Yankelovich Clancy Shulman, a market research group. He made these predictions for the year 2000 at a recent food conference in Chicago: *-Twenty percent of households will have two microwaves.
*-Kids' influence on what is eaten in the home will double.
*-Snack food will be the No. 1 food category in terms of sales.
*-Pacific Rim cuisine will be "hot."
*-Dining out will represent over 40 percent of food dollars, and after the year 2000, will be growing even faster.
*-A new distribution system will be developed that will bypass stores completely.
*-The environmental movement will focus on food content rather than what to do with the packaging.
*-Baby-Boomers reaching the age of 50 will create a demand for foods previous generations didn't consume at anywhere near the same levels: pizza, potato chips, cheese, and chocolate, for example.
*-Consumers will focus on counting grams of fat rather than calories. Go ahead and eat that high-butterfat ice cream, in other words, but don't eat much of it, and don't do it often.
*-Convenience will mean eliminating steps in the preparation, not just speeding up the process with kitchen tools such as faster microwaves.
*-The focus on home and family, which started in the '70s, will continue through the '90s and beyond.