Table of Contents

Dive Brief:

  • Grocery shoppers are likely to place a premium on food and beverages that promote their personal well-being or offer environmental benefits in 2022, according to predictions released Monday by Whole Foods Market.
  • Produce grown indoors in local facilities, grains produced with an emphasis on soil ecology and cereals infused with turmeric are among the items poised to take off in popularity next year, the retailer said in unveiling its annual food trends forecast.
  • Whole Foods is looking to draw attention to its predictions by selling a $30 “discovery box” that includes items reflecting each of the 10 anticipated trends on the list.

Dive Insight:

Whole Foods’ trend predictions have become an annual ritual for the specialty grocer as it looks to stand out against competing grocers. For the first time, the company is packaging up its trending items into a box for purchase.

Each discovery box will have 10 items representing each of its top 10 trends, and is valued at $50. The boxes went on sale in stores this week and are also available for a limited time online. 

The grocer’s predictions suggest the focus on eating at home that took root as the pandemic got underway will have a lasting effect on the food industry even as conditions slowly normalize.

As shoppers step up their efforts to eat foods that reflect their health priorities, they will have expanding opportunities to buy products containing ingredients they might not have tried before, Whole Foods indicated. For instance, yuzu, a citrus fruit grown in Asian countries like China, Japan and Korea, is showing up in a variety of products, including vinaigrettes, hard seltzers and mayonnaise.

Meanwhile, food companies are developing products that use common items in new ways, according to Whole Foods. Those items include fruit spreads, yogurts made with hibiscus, and a vitamin C-rich tea. The retailer itself is planning to introduce Italian soda made with the tea in 2022.

Sunflower seeds are also set to show up in new places, including crackers, ice cream and cheeses, Whole Foods predicted. 

Turmeric, a spice prized for its health-related properties, is growing in popularity among food producers. Items with the spice that are commanding shelf space include sauerkrauts and plant-based ice cream sandwiches, according to the retailer. In addition, moringa, a traditional herbal remedy in certain parts of the world, is taking its place in smoothies, sauces, bakery items, frozen desserts and protein bars, Whole Foods notes.

Whole Foods added that it believes consumer interest in dry spirits will remain strong and drive interest in drinks that taste like cocktails but don’t contain alcohol. Shoppers will also show interest in sparkling beverages that feature prebiotics and botanicals during the year ahead, the retailer said.

Whole Foods’ prediction that shoppers will gravitate toward products with health benefits concurs with research released in July by the Food Industry Association (FMI). The findings from FMI show a rising percentage of food retailers are connecting their brand images with health and well-being.

The list of trends was developed by a group of Whole Foods staffers that includes regional and global buyers, culinary experts and local foragers.