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01/06/2022

6 food trends to watch

What those in the know say will be the next big things in 2022
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Frozen plant-based dessert stacked on top of one another.

NEXT GEN PLANT-BASED FOODS

While plant-based foods continue to gain momentum, nutrition and sustainability will play a bigger role in the next generation of these products, according to Innova Market Insights. The market intelligence firm identified “Plant-based: The Canvas for Innovation” among its top 10 trends for 2022. “We’re not just now mimicking meat, mimicking milk, but plant-based has really become a canvas for innovation,” said Lu Ann Williams, Innova’s global insights director on a recent webinar announcing the trends. “We really are going to see a major shift in terms of the types of products that we see made,” she said. This will include growth of plant-based products with a premium or indulgent claim (think desserts, ice creams). Innova is already reporting a 59% increase in new plant-based products carrying such claims. Williams noted that as more and more chefs work on high-end vegan menus this will change perceptions around what plant-based foods can be.

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Bowl of pasta sitting next to grains on a table.

PASTA MAKES A COMEBACK

The New York-based Specialty Food Association (SFA) tasked its Trendspotter Panel of experts to examine the trends that will drive growth in 2022, and top of the list: pasta. While pasta’s popularity may have dipped in recent years thanks to keto and low-carb diets, COVID has spurred a return to comfort food “reviving the pasta category.” SFA says it’s seeing new and less familiar pasta shapes along with a resurgence of gluten-free and alternative grain pastas like black rice, pumpkin, red lentils and purple carrot that are serving up a twist on the traditional.

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A glass of milk next to three potatoes

POTATO MILK

The humble spud is poised to step into the alt milk spotlight. U.K. grocer Waitrose identified potato milk as a “future trend” in its recent Food and Drink Report. Low in sugar and saturated fat, potato milk is also touted for its sustainability—potatoes don’t need much to grow so have a low carbon footprint. Experts also say it boasts more minerals and vitamins than its plant-based rivals. Watch your back, oat milk!

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Bottle of Ritual Gim next to cocktail glass and shaker

BUZZ-LESS SPIRITS

The “sober curious” movement, which emerged pre-pandemic, continues to gain relevance, says The Hartman Group and it has sparked a reimagining of non-alcoholic alternatives for consumers, expanding the options available. Whole Foods also listed “Buzz-Less Spirits” among its Top 10 Trends for 2022, noting that the dialed-down spirits category saw record-growth in its stores this year.

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Products made with yuzu

YUZU

Whole Foods Market ranked this lesser-known Asian citrus No. 2 in its Top 10 Food Trends for 2022. The natural grocer’s Trends Council (who determined the list) say yuzu, with its tart and sour taste profile, is taking the culinary world by storm. It’s now popping up in everything from mayo to hard seltzers and cheesecake.

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A woman holding her hands in the shape of her heart against her stomach

GUT FEELING

A few firms (including Innova, Nourish Food Marketing and ADM) predict gut health will become more important in 2022 as consumers become more aware of the link between gut health and things like immune health, energy levels, improved sleep and mood.

While probiotics and prebiotics have been familiar to consumers for awhile, a new “biotic” is emerging. “We’re starting to see some of the suppliers in the industry talk more about postbiotics,” says Innova’s Williams. Postbiotics, as defined by Harvard Health, refers to the waste left behind after prebiotics and probiotics are digested, which can be beneficial for gut health.

This article appeared in Canadian Grocer'December 2021/January 2022 issue.