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This is the 10th and final article in WGB’s Year in Review series.
There are quite a few food categories predicted by experts to be trendy for 2023: Convenient foods, healthy foods and even nostalgic foods, among others. But the most- prevalent of these food trends are mission-driven items—foods that are environmentally friendly, support zero-waste cooking and offer label transparency for health-conscious and eco-focused consumers. Online grocery delivery company FreshDirect, Natural Grocers (which operates 164 stores in 21 states), and the Specialty Food Association offered up their predictions of grocery food trends in the new year. Here’s a glimpse at the types of products that will likely be taking up more shelf space in 2021.
Customers want more transparency, and have taken an interest in buying from brands that are more values-based or mission-driven, and this trend is reflected in their baskets, said FreshDirect about the conscious and caring consumer food trend. Popular brands and products to look for include handmade yogurt (White Moustache) and pesticide-free crispy leaf lettuce (Bowery Farming).
Environmental concerns are prompting consumers to want more environmentally friendly foods. “With growing unrest over climate issues and their impact on the future food supply, products that feature some aspect of sustainable ingredients, upcycled ingredients, or environment-friendly packaging, are leading the way,” said Jonathan Deutsch, Ph.D., CHE, CRC, Drexel University of the Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) Trendspotter Panel. Look out for products developed from ingredients like mushrooms, seaweed and jackfruit. Also, expect more seed-to-shelf future supply chains, indigenous farming practices and seed diversity, said the SFA.
Zero-waste cooking means trying to leave behind as little food and packaging waste as possible, according to Natural Grocers, it’s part of a mission to “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Reduce by using fewer unnecessary ingredients and cooking smaller portions; reuse by repurposing old food scraps; recycle by composting leftover food scraps, the retailer explained.
Also in 2023, all-in-one products will gain popularity as another option to reduce waste and save money. “Think back-to-the-basics, like castile soap and coconut oil,” Natural Grocers said in a statement. “One bottle of castile soap can serve as dish soap, laundry detergent, body wash and shampoo, shaving cream, hand soap, dog wash and a versatile household cleaning product. Use coconut oil for cooking, moisturizing, removing makeup, conditioning wood products like wooden spoons and cutting boards, soothing skin irritations and bug bites, and adding to your coffee for a boost of energy.”
Look for overall well-being to take center stage, said Specialty Food Association, as consumers seek more balance between their desire for health and sheer indulgence. Manufacturers will continue to introduce functional ingredients into products anywhere they can, according to SFA, with interest in immunity, gut health, memory and so many other health components.
Digestive comfort and gut health were the most-requested topics for one-on-one coaching sessions with Natural Grocers’ Nutritional Health Coaches, according to the company. In 2023, consumers will try different methods and products to support gut health and digestive comfort, including incorporating foods with prebiotic fibers, and probiotic and digestive enzyme supplementation.
Also, Natural Grocers highlighted a new way of eating for 2023 that will be trendy, called the Regenivore Diet. Eating like a regenivore means making food choices that support your health and the health of the planet, explained the company. Furthermore, it emphasizes nourishing foods that are grown by farmers and ranchers who prioritize practices that sustain and regenerate the soil, water, biodiversity, and the overall ecosystem in which they function, the grocer said.
Convenience and DIY
After doing a lot of cooking at home during the pandemic, many consumers want a break. “Brands will focus on helping consumers go simple in their preparation and cooking routines, and assure would-be cooks that taking shortcuts is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Mintel’s Melanie Bartelme, also on Specialty Food Association’s (SFA) Trendspotter Panel.
As consumers begin to host parties and large gatherings again, they want to make a good impression on their guests, but with easy-to-assemble items and cocktails that they can do themselves. FreshDirect said these types of do-it-yourself at-home products will be trendy in the year to come.
Consumers will indulge in “back-in-the-day” favorites, according to FreshDirect. Retro Ring Dings, mini powdered donuts, coffee cakes and cocktails will become new again.
Natural Grocers also noted that consumers in 2023 will look to “indulge sensibly” with upgraded versions of familiar comfort foods. Probiotic fizzy Poppi, Alden’s Organic 100 calorie mini ice cream sandwich, products in the chip aisle by Siete Foods, and certified organic or biodynamic wines are some examples.
Specialty Food Association said the new year will bring about innovative packaging meant to provide increased portability and decreased mess.
Next year, Natural Grocers said consumers will continue to opt for brands that prioritize purposeful packaging. Favorite products will transition to forever-recyclable metal or easily-compostable paper packaging.