10 food trends Whole Foods predicts will dominate in 2019

Amazon's forward-thinking subsidiary touts Pacific Rim flavours as the new frontier, while eco-conscious packaging continues to evolve.

19 November 2018
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image credit: Getty Images

1. Pacific Rim flavours

Think Asia, Oceania and the western coasts of North and South America as influencing people’s palates next year.

Ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste are expected to hit restaurants and homes increasingly, while vibrant tropical fruits such as guava, dragon fruit and passionfruit will be making their way into colourful smoothie bowls and cocktails.

This trend is set to expand on one tropical fruit in particular that has exploded this year: jackfruit – along with monkfruit extract, which can be used as a sweetener to replace added sugars. Food Spark also noted that Asian fruits like rambutans could also be utilised in the future as a replacement for fibre or thickening agents.

Whole Foods will be launching a limited collection of sweet products inspired by Pacific Rim fruits like guava tropical vinaigrette, pineapple passionfruit sparkling mineral water, mango pudding mix and passionfruit coconut frozen fruit bars.

2. Shelf-stable probiotics in the pantry

Fermented foods brought probiotics to the fore this year and in 2019 expect even more innovative integrations in food — and not just in the supplement or refrigerated aisles. New strains of probiotics are making more shelf-stable applications possible.

Over in the US, wellness-focused brands are adding functional probiotic ingredients to pantry staples through products like granola, oatmeal, nut butters, soups and nutrition bars. Food Spark has noted this happening in snacks as well.

3. Fat is back

A shifting consumer mindset, plus popular diets like paleo and pegan (paleo and vegan), means fats will become starring ingredients in creative, convenient foods.

New integrations of fat sources – like keto-friendly nutrition bars crafted with powdered MCT oil (or in coffee like at health chain Crussh), coconut-butter-filled chocolates, snacks affectionately called fat balls and a new wave of ready-to-drink vegan coffee beverages inspired by butter coffees – will be busting on the scene, allowing consumers to get their fat fill with convenient treats.

Next year, keep your eyes and taste buds open for popcorn made with grass-fed ghee, plus new variations on traditional meaty snacks like chicken chips and thin, crisped beef jerky.

image credit: Getty Images

4. Next-level hemp

It’s clear that hemp-derived products are going mainstream, if not by wide distribution, then by word of mouth. Hemp hearts, seeds and oils are nothing new to food over in the US – they’re in everything from waffle mix to dried pastas – but lately they have taken more of a hold over here, with the likes of the UK’s first cannabis-themed restaurant, The Canna Kitchen.

But a new interest in the potential benefits stemming from other parts of hemp plants has many brands looking to explore the booming cannabis biz beyond CBD oil.

Non-cannabis-derived sources from the endocannabinoid system (named after the cannabis plant that inspired their discovery), like phytocannabinoids, are becoming more visible and prevalent too.

5. Faux meat snacks

Plant-based foods will continue to surprise and inspire. 2019 will see the dietary shift taking on the meat-based snacking world of jerkies and pork rinds.

Mushrooms will play a key role here, flexing their flavour and texture powers in tasty jerky, ‘pork’ rinds and ‘bacon’ snacks. Over in the US, this is emerging in products like the Pig Øut Pigless Bacon Chips and Snacklins Cracklins Without the Pork, which offer up a satisfying crunch.

6. Trailblazing frozen treats

The new ice creams on the block will be adding a fresh take on a timeless treat with innovative bases like avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water. There will also be plant-based frozen desserts, ice creams with savoury swirls of artisanal cheese and more low-calorie, high-protein players.

Globally inspired frozen desserts are also taking the stage — possibly sparked by 2018’s muffins obsession and the Thai rolled ice cream craze — with icy indulgences like airy Taiwanese snow ice and Mexican nieves de garrafa, not to mention stretchy, chewy Turkish ice creams that get their unique texture from mastic and other unique sources. It’s something Waitrose also predicted, with ice cream influences from Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan meaning the dessert is entering a new era of Insta-friendly indulgence.

Popsicles and gelatos won’t be left out of the fun either – they’ll get some buzz with boozier infusions coming to market.

image credit: Getty Images

7. Marine munchies

Seaweed seems to be everywhere right now, from wraps to oils to restaurants plates, but Whole Foods’ experts expect even more ocean influence to test the waters in the grocery aisles in the year to come.

Think puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives with algae ingredients, crispy snackable salmon skins with omega-3s and kelp jerkies.

A salty sea fennel and olive blend will debut in Whole Foods Market olive bars in 2019, and brands like Ocean’s Halo include kelp as an ingredient in all their miso and ramen broths, condiments and sauces.

8. Snacks beyond the ordinary

Food developers are creating new packaged snacks that take us back to our treat-loving childhoods but with higher-quality ingredients, some of which are updated to accommodate special diets.  

This means upgraded retro sweets will star on 2019’s shelves, says Whole Foods. In the US, there is already candy-coated Project 7 Organic Chewies that burst with intense fruit flavor and are gluten-free; Smashmallow’s marshmallow and puffed rice treats, which are also gluten-free and made with organic sugar; and long, crunchy rectangles dipped in fair trade chocolate called Little Secrets Crispy Wafers.

Portable snack packages will also be a thing, featuring bites like prosciutto and aged mozzarella and artisanal versions of classic snacks like cheese.

image credit: Getty Images

9. People power purchases

In 2019, thoughtful consideration behind purchases moves beyond – but doesn’t exclude – environmental stewardship and animal welfare, and becomes more people-focused.

In the US, Greyston Bakery practices an open hiring model – no questions asked – to practice what they call radical inclusion, aiding anyone who has faced barriers to employment. Kuli Kuli produces moringa powder that is predominantly grown and processed by women – it has provided more than $1.5m in income to women-led farming cooperatives, non-profits and family farmers around the world.

Whole Planet Foundation partners with suppliers such as Chobani, Frontier Co-op, Naked Juice, Wallaby Organic, Papyrus-Recycled Greetings and more to alleviate poverty through microcredit loans for the world’s poorest people.

Contributing toward social movements via purchasing goods will make for big changes that extend far beyond the world of retail, says Whole Foods.

10. Eco-conscious packaging

Expect to see an emphasis on reusing, with more produce departments introducing bring-your-own-vegetable-bag initiatives while traditional single-use packages go multi-use. Mintel also noted that circular consumption would be the norm.

There will also be compostable food wraps made from beeswax and waxed canvas as well as silicone alternatives to the usual plastic storage bags that can be used for sandwiches and snacks.

Some movements start as trends, then become necessities. This is one of them, says Whole Foods.

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