Whole Foods Market Trends Council of global experts and buyers has released their Top 10 Food Trends for 2022. In its seventh year, Whole Foods’ report predicts that ultraurban farming, yuzu, reducetarianism (reducing, but not fully eliminating, the consumption of animal products, such as meat, dairy, fish and eggs), buzz-less spirits (no or low alcohol), moringa and sunflower seeds will take 2022 by storm and continue to grow in popularity.
Every year a Trends Council of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members, including local foragers, regional and global buyers, and culinary experts compile trend predictions based on decades of experience and expertise in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences, as well as in-depth workshopping with emerging and existing brands.
Whole Foods’ 2021 trend predictions included foods and drinks with a focus on nutrition and wellbeing, innovations in the baby food sector, a rise in upcycled foods and alcoholic kombucha.
“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,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market. “We look forward to watching these trends take form in grocery aisles and on our plates in 2022.”
Whole Foods Market’s top 10 food predictions for 2022 and why the retailer believes these trends will be big next year:
In 2013, the retailer opened a pioneering Whole Foods Market store in Brooklyn, New York City, 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. Since then, innovation in indoor farming has ballooned, from hydroponics and aquaponics to mushrooms grown above our grocery aisles — and even fresh produce grown by robots. Producers are finding new, boundary-pushing ways to grow hyper-local crops and maximise efficiency.
Yuzu — a lesser-known citrus mainly cultivated in Japan, Korea and China — has been taking the culinary world by storm. Tart and sour, this tangerine-sized fruit is popping up in vinaigrettes, mayonnaise and more. In the restaurant scene, chefs are using its lime-lemon-grapefruit flavour to accent their soups, veggies, noodles and fish. Yuzu has also become popular in drinks such as cocktails, too.
Reducetarianism — cutting down on meat, dairy, fish and eggs without giving them up completely, is 2022’s answer to flexitarianism. According to Whole Foods, when animal products are on the menu, reducetarians tend to opt for premium grass-fed meat and pasture-raised eggs.
Packed with vitamin C, hibiscus is already consumed in beverages such as tea and cocktails. Now, producers are harnessing its sweet, tart flavour in the form of fruit spreads, yogurts and more. Drink makers are also expanding their use of the flowering plant.
Whole Foods has seen a record growth of low alcohol and no alcohol spirits in their stores this year. With millennials and Gen Z-ers dabbling in “drysolation” during the pandemic, the retailer believes this trend is here to stay. “Enter a new lineup of drinks that provide the taste and sophistication of cocktails without the buzz.”, says Whole Foods.
Eco-friendly, sustainable grains
Grocery grains are refocusing on the environment in 2022 and Whole Foods predicts that grains grown via agriculture practices and farming processes that help address soil health will be big news in 2022. Kernza® – a perennial grain developed by The Land Institute with a sweet, nutty flavour and long roots – helps with nutrient cycling and overall soil ecology. It can be found in cereals and even beer.
According to the retailer, sunflower seeds will feature in crackers, ice creams and creamy cheeses. Packed with protein and unsaturated fats, many sunflower seed–based products are made without nuts, making them allergy-friendly.
Often called the ‘miracle tree’, moringa is traditionally used as an herbal remedy in India, Africa and beyond. 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 can be added to smoothies, sauces and baked goods. It’s also showing up in unexpected products like frozen desserts, protein bars and packaged grain blends.
Functional fizzy drinks
According to Whole Foods, these days consumers are looking for sparkling drinks that not only taste great, but also offer ingredients that balance out the sweetness and deliver nutritional value. Products include soft drinks with probiotics and fizzy tonics with added prebiotics, botanicals and more. Fruity flavours and unconventional ingredients are also set to be big.
Turmeric has been popular for a few years thanks to its health benefits and fiery taste, but in 2022 it will not just be confined to lattes, teas and supplements, it will also make an appearance in packaged foods like cereals, sauerkrauts and even plant-based ice cream sandwiches.