Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas, revealed what is says to be the most anticipated and innovative food trends for 2019. Whole Foods’ seasoned trend-spotters compiled this report based on more than 100 years of combined experience in product sourcing, studying consumer preferences and participating in food and wellness industry exhibitions worldwide.
The Top 10 food trend predictions for 2019 are:
Pacific Rim flavors. Flavor inspiration from the Pacific Rim (think Asia, Oceania and the western coasts of North and South America) are popping up in grocery stores and restaurants, as people continue to explore more of the world through their palattes. Ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste are on restaurant and home menus that span from breakfast to dinner, while vibrant tropical fruits such as guava, dragon fruit and passionfruit are making their way into smoothie bowls and cocktails. Jackfruit is a meat alternative already being used in place of items like barbecue pulled pork, while an extract of monk fruit, an ultra-sweet fruit also known as luo han guo, can be used as a sweetener replacing added sugars.
Shelf-stable probiotics. New strains of probiotics such as Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 and Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 are making more shelf-stable applications possible.
Phat fats. Fats are making a comeback, and the trendiest diets are on board. With the rising popularity of keto, paleo, grain-free and even “pegan” (paleo and vegan) diets, plus a general shifting consumer mindset, fats are starring ingredients in creative, convenient foods. Along with these phat fats come higher protein and lower-carb combos that will continue to trend across simple and easy snacking categories. New integrations of fat sources allow consumers to get their fat fill with convenient treats.
Next level hemp. Hemp hearts, seeds and oils are nothing new to food and body care lovers. But, a new interest in the potential benefits stemming from other parts of hemp plants has many brands looking to explore the booming cannabis biz. Retailers, culinary experts and consumers can’t miss the cannabis craze when visiting food industry tradeshows, food innovators conferences or even local farmers markets. It’s clear that hemp-derived products are going mainstream.
Faux meat snacks. Plant-based foods will continue to surprise and inspire. While plant-based foods aren’t exactly a new trend, Whole Foods’ experts noted more people — even those who don’t eat only vegan or vegetarian — are exploring plant-based snacking. Mushrooms like king trumpet will play a key role, flexing their flavor and texture powers in tasty jerky, “pork” rinds and “bacon” snacks.
Eco-conscious packaging. The number of brands making the switch to packaging with the environment in mind continues to grow at a quickening pace. Some companies are making commitments to ban straws, while other brands are setting up regional pilots to test recyclable strawless, sipper lids made from PET, without increasing the plastic content of a lid/straw combination. Expect to see an emphasis on reusing, with more produce departments going “BYOVB” (bring your own vegetable bag) and single-use packages going multi-use, like multi-use (and compostable!) food wraps made from beeswax, as well as waxed canvas or silicone alternatives to the usual plastic storage bags for sandwiches and snacks.
Trailblazing frozen treats. While there is something comforting and classic about a scoop of vanilla ice cream, some consumers are wanting something a little less, well, vanilla. The new pints on the block are adding a fresh take on a timeless treat with innovative bases like avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water. Look down specialty frozen aisles to find plant-based frozen desserts and ice creams with savory swirls of artisanal cheese. Globally-inspired frozen desserts are taking the stage with icy indulgences. And, popsicles and gelatos will get some buzz with boozier infusions coming to market.
Marine munchies, beyond seaweed. Seaweed snacks rose to popularity a few years back, however Whole Foods’ experts expect even more ocean influence in the grocery aisles in the year to come. Think beyond seaweed snacks. Sea greens are showing up in dishes like seaweed butter and kelp noodles while consumers are exploring new depths of ocean flavors with superfood properties like unique varietals of algae and kelp. Puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives with algae ingredients, crispy snackable salmon skins with omega-3s and kelp jerkies are just a few testing the waters.
Snack time, upgraded. Snacking has become an occasion of its very own. Portable snack packages will feature bites like prosciutto and aged mozzarella and artisanal versions of classic snacks like cheese or peanut butter cracker sandwiches. Ingredient-conscious snack and treat makers are creating new packaged snacks that take consumers back to their treat-loving childhoods, but with higher quality ingredients, some of which are updated to accommodate special diets. Upgraded retro treats will star on 2019’s shelves.
Purchases that empower. Consumer purchasing power continues to motivate changes in the food and beverage industries, as shoppers expect more from the brands and businesses they choose to support. In 2019, thoughtful consideration behind purchases moves beyond (but doesn’t exclude) environmental stewardship and animal welfare, and becomes more people-focused. Contributing toward social movements via purchasing goods and services with missions consumers believe in can make for big changes that extend far beyond the world of retail.