Whole Food Trends for 2022

It’s no surprise that the global pandemic wrought havoc on eating and drinking habits. However, as life slowly returns to normal, research suggests that the ‘new normal’ offers some intriguing emerging novelties and an increased emphasis on food, social security, and sustainability.
Healthier and more responsible behaviors are starting to replace unhealthy pandemic patterns. Consumers increasingly define healthier choices as nutritious fruits and vegetables, good for you, and associated with an absence of perceived harmful ingredients.
As a result, increased nutrition, fewer calories, and no artificial additives are trending. Mindsets are transforming among herbivores and omnivores alike to encompass those addressing health concerns, those seeking weight loss, and those inviting proactive wellness and longevity.
Healthy food is becoming synonymous with health foods and whole foods – produce and ingredients that are minimally or unprocessed. These choices include fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds, and legumes, usually raw foods and foodstuffs without preservatives, additives, or artificial flavorings.
Various exciting whole food trends emerge with this surge in healthier attitudes and intentions.
Plant-Based Eating, Flexitarianism, and Reducatarianism
Along with a growth in vegetarianism and veganism for ethical and environmental reasons, reducatarianism – enjoying all foodstuffs while reducing meat, fish, eggs, and dairy joins emerging flexitarianism.
This development builds on the accelerating plant-based momentum experienced in recent years. In addition, conscious consumers are also looking for increasingly sustainable farming practices. As a result, when opting for animal products, reducers typically tend to choose more organic, pasture-raised, grass-fed options.
The emphasis is on cleaner, greener, and more compassionate food production and consumption. Many delicious and affordable plant-based alternatives are already available. These options provide satisfying plant-based dairy, beef, chicken, fish, and seafood meal and snack replacements. Versatile mushrooms, too, provide texture and a sought-after umami taste for plant-based consumers.
Better Grains: Good for You and Good for the Planet
Sustainability and eco-friendly agriculture are in; healthier enriched, whole and ancient grain consumption are on the rise. Therefore, grain choice is essential, focusing on healthy whole-grain superfoods offering protein-rich, whole grain nutrition and gluten-free options.
Notably, perennial grains such as The Land Institute’s nutty and sweet Kernza®, an intermediate wheatgrass, have long roots to assist in healthy soil ecology and nutrient cycling. These extensive roots improve nutrient and water uptake efficiency while helping deliver increased atmospheric carbon to the soil. In addition, stems and leaves provide nutritious fodder.
‘Sober’ Spirits
After a period of ‘drysolation’, around 20 percent of Americans, including many younger consumers, are choosing low or no alcohol spirits, beers, and wines. Emerging preference is for the familiar taste but without the traditional tipsy altered state.
Crucially, it looks like this growing trend in sales to sober curious consumers is here to stay. As a result, manufacturers are dedicating resources and leveraging innovative natural concentrates to create exciting, authentically-flavored ‘no-buzz’ beer, spirits, liqueur, and wine variants.
Sippy Supplements
While alcoholic beverages are falling out of favor among selected segments, functional drinks, liquid tonics offering nutrients with a fizz, even a slight guilt-free kick, are gaining momentum.
Natural fruit flavors are set to dominate, with the addition of unconventional ingredients and concentrates, including ‘gut brain’ enhancing pre and probiotics, trending botanicals such as CBD, and more.
Trending Ingredient Hotties
Increasingly popular as food and beverage concentrate, ingredients and accents are fiery anti-inflammatory turmeric, tart, sweet, vitamin C rich hibiscus, sour Asian citrus fruit yuzu, nutritious ‘miracle tree’ moringa, and versatile, protein-packed, non-allergenic sunflower seeds.
Look out for these in familiar teas, lattés, functional beverages, and trending seeded snacks and packaged foods.
Indoor Farming Innovation
With Whole Foods Market leading the way since 2013, sustainably grown, hyper-local fresh produce has boomed, including aquaponics, hydroponics, and space-saving vertical farming. Now, pioneers are growing mushrooms in-store and embracing robotic agriculture, constantly pushing the envelope for more and better ways to preserve resources efficiently.
At the same time, our 2021 healthy food trends haven’t disappeared. On the contrary, increasing attention to health and wellness continues to underpin emerging preferences. Upcycled stems and peels still have their place. Fermented foods and beverages like kombucha continue to gain interest. New botanical concentrates and exotic nut and seed oils add adventure to salads and cooking, and the versatile chickpea and veggie jerky, too, are here to stay.
In 2022, producers and retailers are reminded to keep in step with their increasingly discerning consumers by exploring unconventional healthful ingredients, promoting functional non-alcoholic beverages, and offering plant-based options packed with wellness-enhancing nutrients. Be more mindful, more eco-conscious, and more community-minded.
In addition, with e-commerce set to continue flourishing post the pandemic surge in online grocery shopping, optimize your multichannel strategy. Provide consistency and seamless online brand experiences. Use data-driven innovation to take healthy eating and increased compassion for self and others to the next level.
Advanced Biotech’s extensive selection of trending food and beverage flavors can help optimize your 2022 portfolio. Please contact us for more information.