What is America eating in 2022?

Discussion
Photo: @DougOlivares via Twenty20
Jan 11, 2022

Persistent disruptions in supply chains, new perspectives on worker welfare and safety, a renewed focus on food insecurity and climate change concerns will all play a role in driving food trends in 2022, according to the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

In its annual forecast of trends, IFIC outlines five food themes for 2022:

Well, well, well…ness: Recent IFIC surveys show consumers proactively looking for positive food attributes like whole grains and fiber, and exploring immune health more so than previously. IFIC’s annual ”Food and Health Survey” also found 46 percent of consumers aware of the federal dietary guidelines for Americans, compared to 23 percent in 2010. Micronutrients, like B vitamins, and magnesium macronutrients, like whole grains and protein to help manage stress, as well as CBD-infused foods, will move even closer to center stage. Rising food insecurity concerns accentuated by the pandemic are expected to lead to a heightened focus on federal feeding programs.

Yearning for yesteryear: Nostalgia will continue as a strong trend, with 1990s’ recipes and snacks trending. IFIC wrote, “Expect its ethos of simple, no-fuss, home cooking to continue in 2022.”

Fever for the flavor: With a continued reluctance to travel, Americans will “look for new ways to transport their taste bud.” Ingredients such as hibiscus, yuzu, turmeric, kelp, gochujang and ube are expected to grow in prominence. IFIC wrote, “Not only will they continue to savor the ‘fifth taste’ of umami with ingredients like MSG, they will also become more acquainted with the richness of kokumi, considered by some to be a ‘sixth taste.’” Salt alternatives, like potassium chloride, and sugar substitutes, like allulose, maltitol and monk fruit, will get more attention from consumers.

Necessity is the mother of (pandemic) invention: Pandemic-driven innovations — whether new (e.g., ghost kitchens, QR codes and self-service kiosks for restaurants) or newly accelerated (e.g., e-commerce, direct-to-consumer) — will gain further momentum. Urban farming and “vertical agriculture” will expand in cities.

Sustainability “cemented in: Sustainability as a consumer value will help fuel new eating patterns like “reducetarian,” “climatarian” and low carbon, as well as extend into social issues, driven by younger consumers.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Which food trends do you see emerging or accelerating in 2022? What pandemic-influenced trends are you most confident will wind up reshaping America’s diets for many years to come?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Given the severe supply chain disruptions with all types of food categories, 2022 might be the year of food experimentation like no other. "
"These are all great if you follow trends. If you follow real American consumers my money is on ground beef, eggs, milk, potatoes, bananas, and fast food."
"Functional foods will continue to grow in 2022."

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10 Comments on "What is America eating in 2022?"


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Jennifer Bartashus
BrainTrust

Personalized nutrition is an area that could accelerate in 2022 and beyond. Growth in self-administered testing services (genetic, disease risk, sensitivities, etc) lays the groundwork. More people are looking for customized nutrition solutions to optimize their health. Initially products may be in the form of shakes and bars but could branch into more mainstream food products.

Plant-based foods is still an area of growth. Though sales softened a bit in late 2021, interest and demand are likely to uptick again as restaurants begin expanding menus and limited time offers again. Beyond Meat nuggets at KFC is one example.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust
10 months 20 days ago

It will be interesting to see what develops. My own sense is that consumers will continue to show ebb and flow in patterns very similar to the past. The trends which may be most prominent, though, won’t be in which foods are consumed, but where they are consumed. How quickly will restaurant businesses regrow? How quickly will “hanging at the coffee shop” be re-established? It may take more time than we expect.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Given the severe supply chain disruptions with all types of food categories, 2022 might be the year of food experimentation like no other. I did the shopping for holiday meals a few weeks ago and I was alarmed at how high prices have risen for things like salmon, tenderloin, ham, vegetables and just about everything else. It’s real and not going away any time soon. Consumers will turn to simpler meal plans, cheaper ingredients, and alternatives that are within their budgets. Keep your eye on in-house brands. I think you’ll see a dramatic rise in these kinds of products that are just as good but cheaper.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Merchant Director
10 months 20 days ago

Functional foods will continue to grow in 2022.

There was incredible growth in this space during the pandemic as most people worked from home, so people looked for options that were better for them.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Food is a necessity (eat to live) but it can also be a pleasure (live to eat). What we take in also has to be healthful. However in the temple of Apollo at Delphi is inscribed: μηδὲν ἄγαν (“nothing in excess”), inviting mankind to exercise moderation in life. Then one can eat almost any food except, of course, for the Greek Socrates who chose to eat hemlock.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I suspect we will see a strong push toward simplified wellness. While some will still enjoy robust recipes requiring complex tasks, I think many more will look to improve their health by seeking out more whole foods that are prepared simply but with “twists” that bring tastes like umami and kokumi into their repertoire.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

These are all great if you follow trends. If you follow real American consumers my money is on ground beef, eggs, milk, potatoes, bananas, and fast food. As to which pandemic trends will survive, we should probably wait until the pandemic is over — but I think, in general, brand loyalty will never be the same.

David Slavick
BrainTrust

Meal subscription models are so relevant today — at least insofar as encouraging trial. The hard part is avoiding attrition as the consumer evaluates the price/value over time. Flexibility is key for most programs, offering different meal plans based on ability to cook at home and how many meals are best to satisfy the individual or family members. Blue Apron, Sunbasket, and Tovala all provide great value, taste, and adaptation to dietary and health needs.

John Karolefski
BrainTrust

Fever for the Flavor makes sense because folks can’t travel much, so tasting foreign flavors would appeal to them. That’s the knee-jerk thinking, however. My hunch is for Yearning for Yesteryear, which did not score highly in the poll. People, I believe, yearn for the days before Covid and the other issues dividing the country. I wouldn’t be surprised if traditional brands of packaged good enjoyed a boost in sales.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

I find myself cycling through all these trends depending on my mood, how creative/healthy/energetic I feel and what’s on hand. I’m no longer doing only “stock-up” grocery shopping, but making more frequent trips to multiple markets where all the prices have gone up considerably.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Given the severe supply chain disruptions with all types of food categories, 2022 might be the year of food experimentation like no other. "
"These are all great if you follow trends. If you follow real American consumers my money is on ground beef, eggs, milk, potatoes, bananas, and fast food."
"Functional foods will continue to grow in 2022."

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