With 2022 now in full swing, it’s necessary for food and produce companies to ask themselves what will be the most popular food and culinary topics for this year. The food trends of 2022 are largely influenced by the need for sustainable food options, the desire for healthy food, and global recipes being shared on social media outlets like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. Consumers care about sustainability more than ever, and social media proves that health trends aren’t going anywhere. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the emerging food trends of 2022 to help you prepare for these expected crazes this year.
Commitment to Sustainability
The human impact on climate change has become a dominant purchase driver for consumers as they become more aware of the impact the brands they support have on the environment. Companies are starting to develop different ways to reduce their carbon footprint by shifting away from fossil fuel-based energy sources to carbon neutrality. Neutral Foods is the first carbon neutral food company in the U.S. that is reducing the carbon footprint of agriculture with their Neutral Milk and the world’s first carbon-neutral eggs. What is “carbon neutral,” you may ask. This term refers to a company that generates carbon emissions but offsets those by funding an equivalent amount of carbon savings somewhere else in the world. Related to this, sustainable packaging like recyclable, biodegradable, and reduced plastic use are also trends that have been gaining support to help protect our environment.
Advancements in plant-based foods
More than half of consumers in the U.S. are eating more plant-based foods. This has forced retailers and manufacturers to quickly adapt and innovate to meet this fast-growing demand. Dairy alternatives and plant-based proteins continue to be at the forefront of the plant-based diet trend.
- Potato milk is trending in 2022, joining the shelf with other dairy-free milk alternatives like almond, oat, coconut, and pistachio milk. With a 75% lower carbon footprint than dairy milk, potato milk is a sustainable milk alternative that will be greatly appreciated by consumers and the environment.
- Plant-based charcuterie boards will thrive in 2022. With the new developments of plant-based cheeses tasting better than ever, and the expanding options for artisan and meat-free salamis, it’s no surprise there is an increasing demand for these beautifully displayed boards.
- Plants from the sea are becoming an increasingly popular food option in 2022, given their health benefits and sustainability. Seaweed is packed with antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E, and contains nutrients like iron and calcium. Because seaweed is so abundant, doesn’t need any fertilizers to grow (no pollution!), and has a much faster growth rate than land plants, it is an ecologically sustainable food option with realized potential.
Lab-grown meat alternatives
With industrial animal agriculture as a major contributor to climate change, the development of alternative proteins like lab-grown meats could play a key role in reducing carbon emissions in our food industry. But how is lab-grown meat made? It is actually a painless process for the animals that involves removing cells from living animals and growing new tissue in a laboratory. Lab-grown meats have many benefits including no growth hormones that are harmful to humans, reducing carbon emissions from industrial animal agriculture and protecting animals in the process. Additionally, there is a large subset of the population that will probably always be resistant to plant-based meat alternatives, regardless of their benefits or how closely they resemble and taste like the real thing. Lab-grown meats, however, enable this group to still eat their meat, while not directly affecting animals or greenhouse gas emissions so negatively.
The growing trend towards plant-based eating not only benefits the environment but also benefits the produce industry. We have worked with produce brands for over 35 years and would love to help your brand stay ahead of the current trends! Please reach out to Oster and Associates for a free consultation to help your brand stay competitive in 2022.