Two of the largest grocery retailers in the US – Kroger and Whole Foods – have released their predictions for the top trends in US food in 2019. There are many consistencies across the two lists, reinforcing some robust emerging category innovations. Keep an eye out for these trends appearing in new brands, new products, line extensions, and launches across all categories in the US food industry.
Regional and World Flavors
Foods influenced by global and US regional flavors are exploding right now. From sauces and spices to snacks and meal kits, consumers will see a growing number of products influenced by geographically unique flavors; Kroger specifically calls out Nashville Hot Chicken and Whole Foods names Pacific Rim ingredients such as passionfruit, jackfruit, coconut, guava, and mango.
Increasingly consumers are choosing to reduce or eliminate dairy and meat from their diets; innovative products are making it easier than ever, particularly in the snacking category with new products like mushroom jerky, fish-free vegan tuna, and vegan “bacon-less” bits.
Eating Styles and Restrictive Diets
Many US consumers are subscribing to different eating styles like paleo, ketogenic, flexitarian, vegan, and vegetarian. Trending innovative products include high-fat snacks like MCT oil powder, nut butter, grass-fed ghee, and meat snacks like chicken chips and jerky. Low sugar and natural sweeteners are also increasing in prevalence.
Gut Health and Probiotics
The growing trend of probiotics and gut health expands as consumers become increasingly aware of its corollary support of overall wellness and the immune system. Formats and eating occasions for probiotic products continue to diversify particularly into snacking, now including shelf-stable bars, granola, chips, and chocolate bars.
Adult versions of childhood favorites like marshmallow treats, cheese puffs, and protein packs have recently emerged, as well as marine-inspired munchies like seaweed butter, kelp noodles, puffed water lily seeds, crispy salmon skins. Many new frozen treats like avocado ice cream, Mexican sorbets, CocoWhip, and boozy popsicles have reached the market this year.
Mission-Driven Eco-Conscious Packaging and Empowered Purchases
The rise in environmental concerns has resulted in more prevalent eco-friendly packaging including multi-usable packs, compostable food wraps, and recyclable straws. Additionally, consumers are increasingly seeking responsible companies who are contributing to social movements like environmental stewardship, fair trade, and animal welfare.
Hemp and CBD
Arguably the fastest-growing new trend is cannabidiol or CBD. Found in food, beverage, and supplements, CBD has no psychoactive effects and is associated with a myriad of health benefits like anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety. But the regulatory landscape is ambiguous at best, and inclusion of cannabinoids is technically restricted under federal law making this category one to watch especially closely.