Discover the Top Ten Healthy Food Trends in 2022
With life-changing challenges facing the population, including global warming and a severe and sweeping pandemic, the definition of healthy eating has expanded to embrace our personal health and the health of others, animals, and the planet itself.
In response to the uncertainty and pain of this global health crisis, many have overindulged in less than healthy options. Yet, at the same time, there’s been a welcome return to home cooking, simpler preparation, and a focus on immunity-boosting ingredients.
In addition, the debate over plant-based diets has continued, boosting innovative plant-based technologies and making a more omnivorous, if not herbivorous, lifestyle more accessible. At the same time, greener, more sustainable manufacturing and packaging practices have been growing in response to greater demand for eco-friendly options.
While more health and eco-conscious millennials and Gen-Zs drive many of these emerging trends, baby boomers and Gen-X, too, are looking for ways to improve their well-being as they age.
1) The Growth of More Mindful Eating
Prominently guiding many emerging health trends is a spotlight on more mindful consumption.
Hand in hand with clean eating and increased awareness of the negative impact of meat, dairy, and egg production on the environment and animal welfare, plant-based diets have slowly been coming to the fore as an increasingly preferred option, whether via vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, reducer or climate-based approaches. Being more mindful also includes considering ingredient and product sourcing, transport, and reduced food waste.
An emphasis on the benefits of healthy grains, fresh fruits & vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices for improved immunity, physical and mental well-being, and increased longevity have spurred the growth of health foods. With a 2020 value of US $733.1 billion, the health and wellness food market was expected to grow by 15 percent in 2021, increasing to US $1 trillion by 20261, a growth rate outpacing that of the total retail food market.
Supporting this trend, a recent DuPont Nutrition & Health study2 indicates that just over half of US consumers are using more plant-based products. Moreover, this rate increases globally, highlighting the strength of this future-forward trend, especially in dairy alternatives.
With prominent alt-dairy and alt-meat plant-based brands and cellular protein innovators leading the way by producing high-quality, plant-based, cultivated meat, fish, and dairy options, avoiding traditional animal products and ingredients is easier than ever before. Furthermore, advanced EU Natural molecules help make flavors and aromas more realistic, addressing the cause’s main barrier through a more authentic taste. In addition, with more market entrants and expanding demand, plant-based eating is increasingly affordable.
2) Immunity Support
With the potential of increased exposure to infection and undoing adverse health consequences of prolonged lockdowns and isolation, boosting our immunity is increasingly vital.
Natural immune support means eating real food instead of high-calorie, low-nutrient processed products. Instead, to create a solid immune defense in 2022, include immunity-boosting foods and ingredients such as berries, cruciferous vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, spices such as turmeric and ginger, and fermented foods including live-culture yogurt, kombucha, kimchi, and kefir. You can also help maintain health by choosing naturally flavored foods with certified EU Natural molecules – animal, vegetable, or microbiologically derived – instead of synthetic additives.
In addition, with mental health highlighted during the pandemic, demand for products promoting relaxation and stress management is likely to increase. Natural calming supplements can include botanicals such as chamomile, ashwagandha, lavender, valerian, and elements including L-theanine, melatonin, and magnesium.
3) A Streamlined Lifestyle
The impact of the pandemic has resulted in supply chain issues and increasing food prices. These drawbacks and the trend towards home cooking mean cooking with fewer and more basic ingredients can benefit households. Fresh, locally sourced, and seasonal ingredients find a place here, going easy on the budget, helping to streamline meal preparation, and, at the same time, increasing nutrient consumption. You can also freeze fresh produce and home-cooked and ready-made meals to preserve flavor and value and make life easier.
4) Improved Understanding of The Cancer-Diet Link
Recent studies exploring the link between lifestyle and diet and certain cancers have highlighted the importance of lifestyle choices on short and long-term health. Findings of this and future investigations promise ongoing insights into causation and ways to use this knowledge to improve current cancer therapies and inform innovative treatment developments.
5) Reducing Food Waste
With eight percent of human-related greenhouse gas emissions occurring due to food loss, limiting food waste is one of our most pressing concerns.
Retailers are aware of how in-store waste adds to logistical challenges and impacts their bottom line and are looking for ways to reduce this waste. In addition, consumers too are increasingly aware of how food waste adds to higher food prices, not to mention the environmental and ethical implications.
This growing pressure to prevent waste spurs scientific advances in developing more intelligent packaging, with food upcycling also emerging as a solution. This approach makes more efficient use of all parts of a foodstuff. For example, some companies use surplus food products or otherwise discarded product elements to create nutritious, high-quality food and meal options. Innovators also successfully process food waste as ingredients, seed oils, extracts, enzymes, and fiber elsewhere, such as animal feed, pet food, and cosmetics.
6) Less Alcohol
While spirits, wine, and beer remain popular, the Whole Foods Market 2022 trend report3 indicates that interest in alcohol-free options is growing. Modern technology and EU Natural molecules for taste and aroma go a long way to making these alternatives as satisfying as the real thing. This demand is driven by health and safety concerns and reduced-calorie preference. Several producers offer alcohol-free choices, including Damrak Virgin Gin, Athletic Brewing, Ritual Zero Proof Tequila, and Curious Elixirs, to name a few.
7) Functional Beverages
In addition to less alcohol, consumers are looking for functional drinks; an existing category usually focused on energy and recovery. This new breed of beverages is often plant-based and organic, offering hydration and health benefits, including immune-boosting, gut health, and stress relief. Available products include sparkling waters, malt, fruit, and smoothie-based drinks, from Poppi, Elements, Koia, So Good So You, and Good Idea.
8) Seeded Snacks
Seeds pack a punch in nutrition, with seeded products highlighted as a key health food trend in 2022. According to the Whole Foods Market 2022 report3, the most popular are sunflower seeds, an especially healthful choice. Less well-known in the West, water lily seeds also emerge as a versatile sweet and savory option. Enjoy seeds on their own as a snack, or opt for seed bars or seeded crackers.
9) Globally Inspired Flavors
Especially with limitations on travel during the pandemic, consumers are looking for new and exotic tastes closer to home. Especially sought out are Southeast Asian ingredients and flavors, including ginger, garlic, chillies, sesame seeds, lime, coconut, and plant-based soy protein products. These Asian ingredients and preparation methods, including steaming, align well with the growing emphasis on clean simplicity and health.
10) An Informed and Discerning Consumer
A more health-conscious and environmentally aware consumer with high food standards will keep producers, manufacturers, retailers, and the restaurant, catering, and cottage industries on their toes in 2022.
Anticipate demands based on an increased emphasis on proactive self-care, product personalization, and natural resource preservation, coupled with continuing food and packaging innovation and online retail options.