Saturday, November 26, 2022

Whole Foods Market’s 2022 Trend Predictions: Sustainable, Local, and Plant-Based

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What will 2022 look like at Whole Foods Markets? A whole lot of good-for-you plants, the retailer predicts. In its 2022 Food Trend predictions, things are about to get a lot healthier and more ethical in the year ahead.

The Whole Foods Market Trends Council—made up of more than 50 of the grocery chain’s team members—has released its 2022 trend predictions for the organic and natural food and products sector. Leading the pack are trends in local farming, reducing consumption of animal products, and nonalcoholic beverages with botanical boosts insead.

“Last year, we saw tremendous pandemic-related shifts in grocery buying habits as the world adjusted to spending more time at home. 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,” Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market, said in a statement. “We look forward to watching these trends take form in grocery aisles and on our plates in 2022.”

The Amazon-owned chain has also launched its first-ever Trends Discovery Box—a curated assortment featuring ten products that represent each prediction.

Whole Foods Market’s top 10 food trend predictions for 2022:

Image courtesy Rafael Rex Felisilda on Unsplash

1. Ultraurban Farming

“In 2013, we opened a pioneering Whole Foods Market store in Brooklyn with a Gotham Greens greenhouse on top, providing fresh and sustainably grown herbs and salad greens in greenhouse systems using sunlight and 100% renewable electricity,” the chain says. Since then, a movement of local city growers has boomed from greens to mushrooms and more. And you can expect to see more of it, wherever you are. Local producers are bringing farm life to the cities and that often means fresher produce that’s more accessible and even more affordable for all budgets.

2. You Do Yuzu

Yuzu is a lesser-known citrus native across Asia, and it’s now the darling of a number of brands. “Tart and sour, this tangerine-sized fruit is popping up in vinaigrettes, hard seltzers, mayos and more,” Whole Foods says. It’s not just going to be in store-bought products, but in restaurant options, too.

3. Reducetarianism

Already tried the Beyond Burger or oat milk but still eat meat? You may be a reducetarian. And that’s a trend that’s only going to continue. “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,” Whole Foods says. (Looking to make more plant-based meals? Check out our favorite cookbooks here.)

Image courtesy Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

4. Hibiscus Is Happening

You may have tried hibiscus in tea before–it’s a tangy, fruity vitamin C powerhouse with a long history. But brands are now bringing its flower power out of the pot and into a variety of other beverages, spreads, yogurts, and skincare products. (Give our favorite hibiscus tea a try here.)

5. Buzz-less Spirits

“The dialed-down spirits category experienced record growth in our stores this year,” Whole Foods said. “With millennials and Gen Z-ers dabbling in ‘drysolation’ during the pandemic, we don’t see the sober-curious mindset going away anytime soon.” The category is indeed booming. Check out the Ethos founders recent faves here.

6. Grains That Give Back

Whole grains as a vehicle for change? Definitely, says Whole Foods. “We’re talking grains grown via agriculture practices and farming processes that help address soil health. Kernza – a perennial grain developed by The Land Institute with a sweet, nutty flavor and long roots – helps with nutrient cycling and overall soil ecology.” Looking for Kernza and other grains for good across bread, cereal, and beer aisles.

Image courtesy Daniel Chekalov

7. Seize the Sunflower Seed

“Delivering protein and unsaturated fats, these mighty little seeds are transforming the 21st century snack game,” says Whole Foods. Sunflower seeds are nutty, flavor-filled, and super healthy. And they’re allergen-free, making them a healthy school lunch option, too. But keep an eye out across the aisles for sunflowers in cheese, ice cream, milk, crackers, and more. These little gems are as versatile as nuts.

8. Moringa’s Moment

Moringa has been on the scene now for several years, and Whole Foods says this is the year to watch. “Often called the ‘miracle tree,’ moringa is traditionally used as an herbal remedy in India, Africa and beyond,” the chain says. “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.”

9. Functional Fizz

Like the nonalcoholic botanical buzz, functional drinks are all the rage. But it’s more than just kombucha, says Whole Foods. “That’s right, people are looking 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 flavors. Unconventional ingredients. Get more from your bubbly drinks.”

10. Turmeric Takes Off

Turmeric has been on trend for, well, thousands of years. At least in India. here in the U.S., it has been the Kardashian of wellness products from teas and juices to supplements, shakes, bars, and so many other categories. But, Whole Foods says that while golden milk lattes and turmeric supplements “are nothing new,” we’re going to see a whole lot more of this little antioxidant powerhouse across the aisles in packaged foods like cereals, sauerkrauts and even plant-based ice cream. “People want to have their turmeric and eat it too.”

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