Posted on January 17th, 2023
Keep your eyes peeled for kelp, dates and more.
Each year, the company's Trends Council, a group of more than 50 experts including local foragers and global buyers, releases their most anticipated food trends for the next year. Last year's trend predictions included things like hibiscus, mocktails and turmeric.
"Our trends predictions are an exciting look at where we believe both product innovation and customer preferences are headed in the coming year. We anticipate seeing these trends in the food industry at large, on dinner tables, in lunchboxes and on our store shelves," said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, chief marketing officer at Whole Foods Market. "From product labels that include sustainability efforts to poultry and egg suppliers that are leading the way in animal welfare, many of this year's trends predictions showcase brands on a mission to make a true impact. We look forward to watching these trends come to life in our aisles in 2023."
Yaupon is a caffeine-producing holly bush that can be found across the Southeastern U.S. The leaves can be used to make an herbal tea, a practice that Indigenous Americans have been doing for decades. (Yaupon's Latin name, Ilex vomitoria, likely stems from its inclusion in a ritual beverage called "black drink" that was used to induce vomiting. Other parts of the plant, such as the berries, may cause nausea, but tea made from the leaves is safe when consumed in moderation.) While it's not a new plant, Whole Foods predicts that its mild, earthy flavor will be new to some consumers, and they can expect to see it appear in drinks and on bar menus, from kombucha to cocktails.
Nondairy milk alternatives like oat milk and almond milk have become commonplace on shelves and in coffee shops, but making them leads to a byproduct that's often wasted—at least until now. Brands are beginning to upcycle these byproducts to create new innovations in the baking space, from alternative flours to baking mixes. Look out for Whole Foods upcycled oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which will use oat pulp from oat milk production, in spring 2023.
Pasta Made from Produce
Eating fruits and vegetables is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. When you eat enough produce, your body may reap benefits like a reduced risk of heart disease and improved brain health. Now, it's even easier to sneak in a serving of produce with plant-based pasta. While chickpeas, cauliflower and zucchini alternatives are nothing new, Whole Foods predicts other produce will pop in the pasta aisle. Think noodles made from spaghetti squash, hearts of palm and green bananas.
Dates have been around for thousands of years, but Whole Foods sees the fruit trending as an alternative natural sweetener. Whether it's date syrup, date paste or dehydrated dates, the fruit is being used in a range of ways, from ketchup to overnight oats. We're fans of using dates to hold together energy balls like Blueberry-Lemon Energy Balls, but however you use them, it's sure to be sweet.
A Poultry Revolution
Chickens should be able to act like chickens, according to Whole Foods and a growing number of consumers who are prioritizing animal welfare when buying chicken or eggs. This trend will work to improve the living environment of chickens and the quality of chicken that food shoppers buy, an aim supported by the Global Animal Partnership's new initiative, the Better Chicken Project.
Expect to see more kelp-inspired products on grocery store shelves in 2023. Whether it's kelp chips or kelp noodles, the algae is a nutritious, versatile product that's also good for the environment. Kelp can help absorb carbon in the atmosphere and doesn't require freshwater or added nutrients, two major wins in the age of climate consciousness. (Read more about a kelp farmer in Maine, one of EatingWell's 2020 American Food Heroes.)
Speaking of climate consciousness, Whole Foods predicts a growing number of food and beverage brands will work to limit their impact on the environment. Consumers can expect to see more visibility about a brand's sustainability efforts on packaging labels. Whether it's highlighting certifications from the Marine Stewardship Council or revealing their production process, brands will be proudly displaying their efforts to minimize environmental impact.
All the flavors you know and love from childhood are back—but with a healthy twist. Whether you're following a special diet or just looking to eat healthier, Whole Foods predicts a wave of nostalgia will hit product shelves. Think boxed mac and cheese, but vegan-friendly, or classic cans of cola and root beer, but with added prebiotic benefits.
Only the Finest for Fido
Pets are part of the family, and Whole Foods predicts that pet owners will focus more on their pet's wellness and palate. Expect to see products like bone broth and biscuits that are tasty and made with your furry friend in mind. Whole Foods also expects that brands will fine-tune their pet food recipes to make them even more delicious.
Avocado Oil Craze
While avocado oil's presence in the market isn't new, Whole Foods says it will become more mainstream in packaged products like potato chips and mayonnaise. Avocado oil has some health benefits, like potentially improving cholesterol levels, and is packed with beta carotene and omega-3 fats. Plus, avocado oil has a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, so it can be used in a variety of dishes.
Source: Eating Well
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