It's the most wonderful time of the year — trend season. Thanksgiving marks the official beginning of all things top 10, such as restaurants, beauty trends, viral videos, and politics. It's such fun.
Whole Foods Market is leading the charge with its fourth annual roundup of the must-have items and can't-miss fads for 2019. These were compiled by the company's buyers and foodie experts; though varied, they reflect an overall cultural shift towards physical and spiritual wellness and environmentally conscious lifestyle choices.
These are the 10 top food trends consumers can expect to see on shelves — and their plates — throughout the new year.
Pacific rim flavors
After the year of the poke restaurant explosion, this trend is heading out of the bowl and onto grocery shelves. These flavors represent regions such as Asia, Oceania, and the western coasts of North and South America, and can be brought home with ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish, shrimp paste, guava, and passionfruit. The grocer also name drops jackfruit, a tree fruit increasingly used as a meat substitute. (And spoiler alert, meat substitutes are also one of the top 10 trends this year.)
From autism to allergies, it seems the answer to every health question this year involved taking a fistful of probiotics. Innovations in shelf-stable strains of the bacteria are leading to an increasing number of long-lasting probiotic products, resulting in a smaller need for refrigerated options. Whole Foods also anticipates the probiotic trend will increasingly show up in beauty products and even cleaning supplies.
Disclaimer: Whole Foods named this section, not the writer. Fats are back this year, thanks in part to the rise of grain-free, keto, paleo, and “pegan” (paleo and vegan) diets. Consumers can expect to see an increasing number of fatty options, especially in the snack aisle. "Keto-friendly nutrition bars crafted with MCT oil powder, coconut butter–filled chocolates, snacks affectionately called fat bombs, and a new wave of ready-to-drink vegan coffee beverages inspired by butter coffees are busting on the scene allowing consumers to get their fat fill with convenient treats," says the grocer in a release. Well, that is big news.
If the buzz around CBD is any indication, it's unsurprising that hemp is on the list. CBD is still prohibited in food and dietary supplements under federal law, but that doesn't mean consumers can't go green in a different way. Analysts say shoppers will see an increase in hemp plant stem cells, as well as the hemp hearts, seeds, and oils that have been around for years. "It’s clear that hemp-derived products are going mainstream, if not by wide distribution, then by word of mouth," writes Whole Foods.
Faux meat snacks
Meatless is mainstream and bringing a bevy of faux meat snacks onto the market. As Americans increasingly taper off meat for health, spiritual, or environmental reasons, companies are trying to find a way to appeal to the carnivore palate with veggie and vegan products. In 2019, Whole Foods forecasts more innovations in mushroom-based foods inspired by meaty favorites such as vegan jerky and pigless pork rinds.
Whole Foods says shoppers will see a rapid shift in how companies package their goods in coming years. Meanwhile, Whole Foods' stores are abandoning plastic food wraps in favor of beeswax, waxed canvas, or silicone alternatives, and setting up regional test pilots for products like sipper lids made from PET. It's like the plastic straw ban, but on a whole new level.
Trailblazing frozen treats
People want to have their treats and eat them, too, and it appears a host of new companies are ensuring they can do that. Look for dairy-alternatives in the frozen aisle, and desserts concocted from things like avocado, hummus, tahini, and coconut water. Traditional treats are getting an unexpected twist with ingredients like savory swirls of artisanal cheese, while global favorites like Taiwanese snow ice, Mexican nieves de garrafa, and "chewy" Turkish ice cream hit the mainstream American market. As for those high-protein, low-calorie ice creams like Halo Top? Whole Foods says those aren't going anywhere.
Marine munchies beyond seaweed
Prepare for more ocean-inspired snacks to wash over the grocery store aisle in 2019. Sea greens will continue to drift into dishes, while puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives with algae ingredients, crispy snackable salmon skins with omega-3s, and kelp jerkies indicate a shifting tide in the snack aisle.
Snack time, upgraded
Yet another snack trend. (Seriously, shouldn't this be the 10 biggest snack trends?) As smaller meals continue to rise in popularity, either because of diet or because it's just easier to justify eating seven times a day if it's called a "snack," these bites are destined for a serious upgrade in 2019. Portable snacks packs, upgraded retro treats, and fancy packaged micro-meals are all on the menu for 2019.
Purchases that empower
Customers increasingly want to know that they're not just buying something, they're doing good. Next year, expect to see a more curious consumer, one that questions the ethos of the company it is buying from. It's not just some feel-good trend either; Americans who thoughtfully spend are radically transforming the industry. "Consumer purchasing power continues to motivate changes in the food, beverage, and body care industries, as shoppers demand more from the brands and businesses they choose to support," says the release. Just how this may affect Amazon, the e-commerce giant owner of Whole Foods, remains to be seen.