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Whole Foods: Top 10 Food Trends for 2023

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4 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
Pumpkin filled ravioli

The Whole Foods Market Trends Council of culinary experts and buyers has released its food trend predictions for 2023.

While last year’s trend predictions included functional fizzy drinks and yuzu and hibiscus flavours, the retailer’s eighth edition of the report features yaupon-infused beverages, produce-packed pastas, and upcycled pulp.

Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market said: “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 lunch boxes and on our store shelves.”

“We’re thrilled to see things like baked goods with upcycled pulp from plant-based milks and ingredients like farmed kelp continue to gain popularity…many of this year’s trends predictions showcase brands on a mission to make a true impact.”

Whole Foods’ Top 10 Trends for 2023 are:

Yaupon

Sourced from a holly bush found in the southeastern region of the US, Yaupon is the only known caffeinated plant that is native to North America. The ingredient was originally mixed into herbal tea and prepared as a ‘black drink’ by Indigenous Americans to be drunk during purification rituals. It contains theobromine (often found in cocoa and chocolate) and polyphenols like chlorogenic acids which can reduce inflammation and boost brain health.

Repurposed pulp

Food producers are increasingly using upcycled pulp from oat, soy and almond milk production to develop new products, such as alternative flours, baking mixes and ready-to-eat sweets. Whole Foods Market bakeries in the US plan to launch repurposed oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in spring 2023.

Plant-powered pasta

While chickpea pasta and cauliflower gnocchi have been available for some time now, pasta producers are finding new ways to help consumers include more fruit and vegetables in their diet. The plant-powered pasta alternatives predicted to become the most popular include spaghetti squash pasta, hearts of palm linguine, cassava spaghetti or orzo (barley), and green banana fusilli.

Dates

Dates are expected to have a “major renaissance” as a sweetener next year, according to the retailer, arising in new forms like pastes and syrups, and being added to everything from ketchup to overnight oat pots.  

Poultry welfare

Improving chicken welfare is also predicted to be of concern to consumers in 2023, says Whole Foods. The Global Animal Partnership, one of the largest animal welfare food labelling programmes in North America, is developing a new initiative called The Better Chicken Project, which aims to improve chicken lives before slaughter, as well as the quality of the produce. Concern is also growing for hen welfare specifically, with consumers wanting a guarantee that the animals laying the eggs they buy have been reared cage-free.

Kelp

As sustainable options become more important to consumers, kelp-based foods have started to gain popularity. The ingredient can absorb carbon in the atmosphere, making it eco-friendly to farm. It also grows quickly, doesn’t need freshwater or added nutrients, and is both versatile and good for you. It is high in antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids, which can fight disease-causing free radicals. It’s also high in manganese and zinc, which help to protect the body from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and oxidative stress. Some foods where kelp is appearing the most so far include noodles, crisps, and fish-free ‘fish’ sauce.

Climate-conscious callouts

Sustainable claims continue to influence what products consumers buy, and many brands are working to develop labelling to signal their sustainability efforts. Customers increasingly want to know whether the food they’re buying has a low environmental impact, and Whole Foods expects this trend to continue into next year.

Retro foods

Mintel Global Consumer research shows 73% of US consumers enjoy nostalgic foods, and Whole Foods expects this craving for the occasional comfort food is set to continue. From mac-and-cheese and pizza bites, to old-school cereals, brands are reinventing retro products for the health-conscious consumer by using better ingredients and making them suitable for those following special diets.

Pet supplements

Finding easier ways to manage a pet’s well-being has also become a trend of late, with bone broth predicted to continue thriving as a pet supplement next year.

Avocado oil

The product has been a staple in supermarkets for years, but it’s predicted to increase in popularity with consumers in 2023, due to its positive attributes such as high oleic fatty acid content and a high smoke point. It has already replaced other oils like rapeseed and safflower in many mayonnaises, snacks and ready meals among other examples, according to the Trends Council.

Is your brand looking to launch a sustainable product? Find out what the future holds for sustainable foods in 2023 and beyond at this upcoming Trends Panel:

Trends panel: sustainable food and ingredients in 2023

Thursday 01 December 2022 | 14:30 – 16:00 GMT
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