AUSTIN, TEXAS – Whole Foods Market, a business unit of Amazon.com Inc., has issued its 10 trends for 2022 and sees plant-based foods, sustainability and functional ingredients thriving in the coming year. The trends were developed by the retailer’s “Trends Council,” a group of more than 50 buyers and other trend watchers and represent their insights into emerging consumer preferences.
“Last year, we saw tremendous pandemic-related shifts in grocery buying habits as the world adjusted to spending more time at home,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, chief marketing officer at Whole Foods Market. “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.”
Whole Foods No. 1 trend prediction for 2022 is that indoor farming, what the retailer calls “ultraurban farming” will take off, with products produced using such indoor farming techniques as hydroponics and aquaponics trending. Current products on the market seen fitting this trend include Gotham Green butterhead lettuce, AeroFarms micro-broccoli and Upward Farms organic microgreen mixes.
Yuzu flavor also may get its opportunity to shine in the coming year and ranks No. 2 on Whole Foods’ list, according to the Trends Council. The citrus mainly is produced in China, Japan and South Korea and has a tart and sour taste. It is being formulated into a range of retail products, including hard seltzers, mayonnaises and vinaigrettes. Foodservice operators are adding yuzu flavor to soups, vegetables, noodles and fish.
Whole Foods Market predicts more consumers will try “reduceatarianism” in 2022, which involves choosing animal-based products with sustainable attributes. Such attributes may include the products being sourced from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals, or the animals being produced under organic certification.
Another flavor seen trending is hibiscus. The sweet tart flavor is showing up in teas, fruit spreads and yogurts, and consumers may continue to gravitate to the ingredient for its flavor, vitamin C content and its pink color.
Whole Foods Market sees many consumers, notably millennials and Gen-Z, reducing alcohol consumption in the coming year. As a result, the retailer predicts alcohol-free beverages will trend as people try gin, rum, tequila and whiskey alternatives.
Ingredients and flavors seen rounding out Whole Foods’ top 10 trends include grains that promote soil health like kernza, sunflower seeds, moringa, functional carbonated beverages and turmeric. Each of the last five trends has a health component, whether it is focused on consumer interest in personal well-being or the health of the environment.
The 10 trends Whole Foods Market predicted would take off in 2021 included greater consumer interest in health and wellness, premium breakfast options, center store diversification as pantry staple makers innovated, coffee flavor, more baby food varieties, upcycling, cooking oil innovation, kombuchas with alcohol, chickpea and meatless snacks.