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Whole Foods Market Forecasts Trends—With a Twist

Offers first-ever curated ‘Trends Discovery Boxes’ for purchase
Whole Foods Market
Photograph courtesy of Whole Foods Market

The global buyers and trend watchers at Whole Foods Market have once again revealed their top 10 food trend picks for the year ahead, but this time the list comes with a twist. This year the Austin, Texas-based grocer’s predictions for 2022 are accompanied by a first-ever opportunity for shoppers to purchase a Whole Foods Trends Discovery Box, a curated assortment of 10 products to represent each of the 10 trends in the forecast.

Each year, a Trends Council of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members, including local foragers, regional and global buyers, and culinary experts compiles trend predictions based on decades of experience and expertise in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences, as well as in-depth workshopping with emerging and existing brands.

This year’s new Trends Discovery Boxes, available for $30 (valued at over $50), allow consumers the chance to taste all the trends at once, says the company. Boxes go on sale Oct. 18 and are available for a limited time only.

“Last year, we saw tremendous pandemic-related shifts in grocery buying habits as the world adjusted to spending more time at home. As the food industry slowly adjusts to a new normal, we expect to see consumers prioritize food and drink products that deliver additional benefits—like functional sodas and tonics—and products that support their sense of well-being, like urban garden greens and products grown with farming processes that help address soil health,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, chief marketing officer at Whole Foods Market, in a statement. “We look forward to watching these trends take form in grocery aisles and on our plates in 2022.”

These 2022 top 10 trends represent “the future of food and beverages,” according to Whole Foods. The trends include:

1. Ultra-Urban Farming

In 2013, Whole Foods Market opened a Gotham Greens greenhouse on the roof of its Brooklyn store, allowing the grocer to provide fresh and sustainably grown herbs and salad greens that used greenhouse systems featuring sunlight and 100% renewable electricity. “Since then, innovation in indoor farming has ballooned, from hydroponics and aquaponics to mushrooms grown above our grocery aisles—and even fresh produce grown by robots,” says the company. This growth in indoor urban farms has led to an explosion in hyper-local crops and a realization of greater efficiencies.

Whole Foods products born of this trend include: Gotham Greens Butterhead Lettuce and Gotham Greens Vegan Goddess Dressing & Dip; AeroFarms Micro Broccoli; Bowery Farming Green Sorrel; Plenty Indoor Vertical Farming Mizuna Mix, Baby Arugula, Baby Kale, and Crispy Lettuce; Smallhold Organic Mushrooms Fancy Mushroom Pack, Lions Mane, and Royal Trumpet; Upward Farms Organic Microgreen Mixes; and Iron Ox Basil.

2. Yuzu

A lesser-known citrus cultivated primarily in Japan, Korea and China, yuzu is taking the culinary world by storm, Whole Foods states. Tart and sour, this tangerine-sized fruit is popping up in vinaigrettes, hard seltzers, mayos and more. In the restaurant scene, chefs are using its lime-lemon-grapefruit flavor to accent their soups, veggies, noodles and fish.

Shoppers can try the trend in a variety of products including Acid League Pink Peppercorn Honey Yuzu Vinaigrette; Rowdy Mermaid Adaptonic Matcha Yuzu Sparkling Immunity Tonic; Whole Foods Market Mango Yuzu Seasonal Cake (coming spring 2022); Kimino Sparkling Yuzu Juice; Boulevard Brewing Quirk Spiked & Sparkling Pear Yuzu (available in the Splash of Citrus Variety 12-Pack); and yuzu togarashi marinade, found in Whole Foods' seafood department beginning in 2022).

3. “Reducetarianism”

Otherwise known as a flexitarian diet, Whole Foods has dubbed the practice of exploring more plant-based foods without giving up meat and dairy entirely as “reducetarianism.” When eating animal products, these consumers look for options like premium grass-fed and antibiotic-free meat and pasture-raised eggs.

Products meeting this trend at Whole Foods include EPIC Provisions 100% Grass-Fed Bars; Alexandre Family Farm 100% Grass Fed A2/A2 Yogurt (coming 2022); 365 by Whole Foods Market Pasture-Raised Large Brown Grade A Eggs; Applegate Well Carved Organic Meat & Veggie Burgers; and Neutral Organic Milk.

4. Hibiscus

Known for its use in teas and for its vitamin C content, hibiscus is now being coveted by producers who are adding its sweet, tart flavor to fruit spreads, yogurts, beverages and more.

A host of products at Whole Foods Market speak to the trend, including Organic Orange Hibiscus Italian Soda (coming 2022); Ruby Hibiscus Unsweetened Water; Vital Proteins Tropical Hibiscus Beauty Collagen; Kassumay Fruit Spread Hibiscus Sabdariffa; YoBucha Strawberry Hibiscus Kombucha Yogurt; and Golden State Cider Jamaica made with tropical hibiscus flowers.

5. Buzz-Less Spirits

“The dialed-down spirits category experienced record growth in our stores this year,” says Whole Foods. Scores of products that allow for mocktail making are already on store shelves or coming soon, such as Greenbar Distillery Bitters & Soda Non-Alcoholic Cocktails; Ritual Zero Proof Whiskey, Gin and Tequila Alternatives; and John Ross Virgin Distilled Botanicals.

6. Grains That Give Back

Whole Foods sees grains grown via agriculture practices and farming processes that help address soil health as increasingly important in 2022 and beyond. A growing number of products fit this trend, including Cascadian Farm Kernza Flakes with Honey Oat Clusters Cereal; Annie’s Organic Macaroni & Classic Cheddar; Patagonia Provisions Long Root Pale Ale made with Kernza perennial grain; and Zack’s Mighty Tortilla Chips.

7. Sunflower Seeds

Delivering protein and unsaturated fats, sunflower seeds are an increasingly popular ingredient in everything from ice cream to crackers. At Whole Foods, shoppers can try the trend in a variety of products, including Fix & Fogg Nut Butters made with sunflower seeds; Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy Frozen Desserts made with sunflower butter; 365 by Whole Foods Market Gluten Free Almond & Sunflower Seed Flour Crackers; Three Trees Organic Oat & Seed Oatmilk; Spero Sunflower Cream Cheeses; and Whole Foods Market Sunbutter + Jelly Sandwich (coming 2022).

8. Moringa

Often called the “miracle tree,” moringa is traditionally used as an herbal remedy in India, Africa and beyond. The leaves of the fast-growing, drought-resistant moringa tree are rich in nutrients, notes Whole Foods, adding that it sees the leaves gaining steam in the U.S. as an alternative to matcha.

Shoppers can experience the “miracle” in a variety of products, including Kuli Kuli Daily Green Boost with Moringa & Supergreens; Wella Organics Cashew, Matcha & Moringa Bar; Yolélé Fonio Pilaf, Greens made with moringa and spinach; Sunscoop Mmmint Chip Dairy Free Dessert with moringa; and Elements Truffle Maple Toffee with Moringa Artisanal Chocolate.

9. Functional Fizz

Whole Foods sees today’s shopper looking for sparkling drinks that not only taste great but also offer ingredients that balance out fizzy drinks' sweetness—for example, soda with probiotics and fizzy tonics with added prebiotics, botanicals and more. Whole Foods points to on-trend products such as Poppi Prebiotic Sodas; REBBL Sparkling Prebiotic Tonics; Health Ade Pop Prebiotic Sodas; Ardor Organic Sparkling Water + Focus and Energy; and Sound Grapefruit Sparkling Water with Tea & Botanicals.

10. Turmeric

Used for centuries in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, turmeric more recently has gained popularity in the U.S. And while Whole Foods says golden milk lattes and turmeric supplements are nothing new, the grocer now sees the spice taking root as an ingredient in packaged foods like cereals, sauerkrauts and even plant-based ice cream sandwiches.

Consumers can satisfy their turmeric cravings at Whole Foods with 365 by Whole Foods Market Golden Chai Granola; Green Girl Bakeshop Golden Mylk Plant-Based Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich; Nature’s Path Organic Golden Turmeric Cereal & Oatmeal Cup; Local Culture Turmeric Ginger Jalapeno Handmade Sauerkraut; Whole Foods Market Salad Bar items, including Turmeric Sweet Potato Kale Salad and Curry Tofu Salad (coming 2022); and Whole Foods Market Golden Holiday Bread (coming late 2021).

 

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