Whole Foods Market global buyers and experts have unveiled their top 10 anticipated food trends for 2022 in the retailer’s seventh-annual Trends predictions.
According to the predictions, made each year by a Trends Council, buzz-less spirits, yuzu, Reducetarianism and functional beverages made with prebiotics and botanicals are among the food influences expected to rise in popularity in the next year.
“Last year, we saw tremendous pandemic-related shifts in grocery buying habits as the world adjusted to spending more time at home,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market.
“As the food industry slowly adjusts to a new normal, we expect to see consumers prioritize food and drink products that deliver additional benefits—like functional sodas and tonics— and products that support their sense of well-being, like urban garden greens and products grown with farming processes that help address soil health. We look forward to watching these trends take form in grocery aisles and on our plates in 2022.”
Innovation in indoor farming has ballooned, from hydroponics and aquaponics to mushrooms grown above grocery aisles — and even fresh produce grown by robots. Producers are finding new, boundary-pushing ways to grow hyper-local crops and maximize efficiency.
You do Yuzu
Yuzu — a lesser-known citrus mainly cultivated in Japan, Korea, and China — is taking the culinary world by storm. Tart and sour, this tangerine-sized fruit is popping up in vinaigrettes, hard seltzers, mayos, and more. In the restaurant scene, chefs are using its lime-lemon-grapefruit flavour to accent their soups, veggies, noodles and fish. Get ready to see this fruit shine in 2022 — both on and off the grocery aisles.
Are you a plant-curious eater who isn’t ready to give up meat entirely? Try reducetarianism — reducing consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs without cutting them out completely. When animal products are on the menu, reducetarians make them count, opting for premium grass-fed meat (plus, our Meat department doesn’t allow antibiotics) and pasture-raised eggs.
Hibiscus is happening
Hibiscus has a long and delicious history in the world of teas, and customers have historically kept it in their rotations for its vitamin C content. Now, producers are harnessing its sweet, tart flavour in the form of fruit spreads, yogurts, and beyond. Of course, beverage-makers are keeping up, leaning on hibiscus to craft delicious drinks that adopt its signature hot-pink hue.
The dialled-down spirits category experienced record growth in Whole Foods stores this year. With millennials and Gen Z-ers dabbling in “drysolation” during the pandemic, that sober-curious mindset is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Enter a new lineup of drinks that provide the taste and sophistication of cocktails without the buzz. If you want to shake things up, there are elegant mocktail options to explore.
Grains that give back
Grocery grains are refocusing on the environment in 2022: grains grown via agriculture practices and farming processes that help address soil health. For example, Kernza – a perennial grain developed by The Land Institute with a sweet, nutty flavour and long roots – helps with nutrient cycling and overall soil ecology. Find it in cereals and even beer.
Seize the sunflower seed
After fueling grand slams and double plays for years, sunflower seeds are branching out of the ballpark and sliding into crackers, ice creams, and creamy cheeses. Delivering protein and unsaturated fats, these mighty little seeds are transforming the 21st-century snack game. Parents, take note — many sunflower seed-based products are made without nuts, which means allergy-friendly school snacks (just make sure to always check the label).
Often called the “miracle tree,” moringa is traditionally used as an herbal remedy in India, Africa, and beyond. Moringa leaves have plenty of nutrients, and these fast-growing, drought-resistant trees have been used as a source of food to fight malnutrition in certain parts of the world. Gaining steam in the U.S. as matcha’s latest alternative, it can be found in powder form and added to make magic in smoothies, sauces, and baked goods. It’s also showing up in unexpected products like frozen desserts, protein bars, and packaged grain blends.
Today, bubbly beverages are doing double duty as people look for sparkling drinks that not only taste great but also offer ingredients that balance out the sweetness. We’re talking soda with probiotics and fizzy tonics with added prebiotics, botanicals and more. Fruity flavours and unconventional ingredients. Get more from your bubbly drinks.
Turmeric takes off
Turmeric, aka “the golden spice,” has been used for centuries in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, and has become popular in the U.S. as a dietary supplement. While golden milk lattes and turmeric supplements are nothing new, the spice is taking root as an ingredient in packaged foods like cereals, sauerkrauts and even plant-based ice cream sandwiches. People want to have their turmeric and eat it too.