The Top 10 Food Trends for 2022, According to Whole Foods

published Oct 18, 2021
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whole foods group trends 2022
Credit: Whole Foods

For the past seven years now, Whole Foods has gathered a team of more than 50 people (including local foragers, regional and global buyers, and culinary experts) to compile a list of upcoming food and beverage trends. They call it their Trends Council, and this year’s predictions include consciously grown ingredients, fruit-infused staples, twists on bubbly beverages, and more.

Last year, we saw tremendous pandemic-related shifts in grocery buying habits, as the world adjusted to spending more time at home,” says Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, chief marketing officer. This year they expect people to prioritize products with additional benefits, that support their sense of well-being, and that are grown using innovative farming practices.

Credit: Whole Foods

Also new this year, for the first time ever, is the Trends Discovery Box: a curated assortment of 10 products to represent each of the 10 trends in the forecast. It’s available for purchase starting today for a limited time. Let’s take a look at what the year ahead, and these boxes, have to offer.

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1. Ultraurban Farming

Innovation in indoor farming has ballooned, says the Whole Foods report — particularly in the small spaces allotted to urban farmers. They’re seeing producers employ hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants), aquaponics (a combination of fish and plant production) and even some green-thumb robots (do robots have thumbs?). Get a taste of the futuristic basil, baby kale, mizuna mix, organic mushrooms, dressing and dip, and more.

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2. Grains That Give Back

As Gafsi Oblisk says, they expect to see people prioritize products grown with farming processes that help address soil health, so items like pasta, cereal, and even beer are topping the list. Kernza, a perennial grain developed by The Land Institute that helps with nutrient cycling and overall soil ecology, can be found in the latter two.

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3. Reducetarianism

If you’re someone who’s made it a habit to cut back on animal products, you might not know it but you’re a reducetarian. Just as it sounds, reducetarianism is the practice of reducing the consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs without cutting them out completely. Instead, you make more thoughtful choices when it comes to the ingredient in, say, your steak-and-eggs breakfast — opting for products like grass-fed meat and pasture-raised eggs. You’ll see more of these kinds of animal products, including shelf-stable items like snack bars.

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4. Buzz-Less Spirits

The dialed-down spirits category experienced record growth in Whole Foods stores this year, according to the grocer’s report, and they “don’t see the sober-curious mindset going away anytime soon.” Expect to see more non-alcohol cocktails — with flavors like lavender and Earl Grey — and zero-proof spirits like gin, rum, and tequila in refrigerators and on bar carts in a home near you.

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5. Functional Fizz

Four years ago, Whole Foods included “more fancy, sparkling, nonalcoholic beverages” on their trend list, but this year they get more specific: soda and tonic. Spiked with fruity flavors, these bubbly sodas with probiotics and tonics with added prebiotics and botanicals are coming for the sparkling-seltzer shelf space — look for strawberry lemon, ginger lime, cucumber mint, and pink grapefruit.

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6. Sunflower Seeds

For decades, sunflower butter has been an alternative for people with nut allergies or peanut allergies. But in 2022, the seed-based products are expanding beyond the spread (although there is an oaty nut butter that commingles with the aforementioned nuts and peanuts) and into crackers, ice cream, and creamy cheeses. 

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7. Moringa

Speaking of alternatives, moringa — a tree native to India and other parts of southeast Asia — has been gaining steam in the United States, says the Whole Foods report. It can be found in powder form and added to smoothies, sauces, and baked goods. It’s also showing up in unexpected products like frozen desserts, protein bars, and grain blends.

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8. Turmeric

By now you’ve probably already fallen in love with a few tasty turmeric recipes. Well, be prepared to open your heart a smidge further — as well as your pantry, fridge, and freezer. “The golden spice” is taking root as an ingredient in packaged foods like cereals, sauerkrauts, and even plant-based ice cream sandwiches, says the Whole Foods report.

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9. Yuzu

Yuzu is a tart and sour citrus mainly cultivated in Japan, Korea, and China, and it’s getting more popular in the States. In the restaurant scene, chefs are using its lime-lemon-grapefruit flavor to accent their soups, veggies, noodles, and fish, says the Whole Foods report. On grocery store shelves, you can find it in vinaigrettes, hard seltzers, mayos, and more. 

Credit: Whole Foods

10. Hibiscus

Hibiscus — with its sweet, tart punch — already shines in cocktails, so it’s no surprise that it’s showing up in the beverage section in flavored waters and ciders. It’s also making an appearance in the form of spreads and yogurts.

Which trend are you most excited to try? Tell us in the comments below!