A new year means new trend predictions from across the food system. Ready to dive into new flavors, new ingredients and new innovations? Here are the trends we’re looking forward to this year.
Healthy food options aren’t a new demand. But in 2024, we’re leaving behind the “one-size-fits-all” approach to health and wellness and focusing on how food fits into personalized health goals. Our food-system friends at Bell Flavors & Fragrances shared how their Spark Trends platform broke this down into micro-trends. Products and experiences must now align with evolving lifestyles that emphasize balance, consistency and simplicity. Individuals are also looking beyond the basics of nutrition, hydration and hygiene, seeking added benefits from functional ingredients that support a holistic approach to their health and well-being. As functional ingredients take a hold of consumers, Whole Foods called out the rise in “clean caffeine” in their 2024 trend forecast. New coffee and energy drinks are adding mushrooms, probiotics and more to their formulations to help consumers get a “better boost.”
Putting the plant back in plant-based.
As more meat alternatives have hit the market, health- and climate-conscious consumers have been wondering where are the plants? Food Dive is predicting the sector will course correct and bring the ‘plant’ back, and the trend forecasters at Whole Foods agree. In 2024 we can expect new and emerging protein-forward products with mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh and legumes in place of complex meat alternatives. National Geographic is crowning mushrooms king of this category as chefs start to favor the king oyster mushrooms for their meaty texture.
The plant-based market is also primed to dive into new categories in 2024. Tinned fish and caviar had a moment in 2023 and we’re ready to see what vegan alternatives hit the market for all our 2024 seacuterie board needs.
Price relief may be near.
After two years of price hikes, Food Dive is predicting consumers may finally see a decrease in their grocery bills. But with commodity prices easing, and shoppers cutting back purchases, price hikes have dissipated after food prices at home rose 2.9% during 2023. Leaders across the industry are calling on businesses to manage costs internally through embracing artificial intelligence or other methods of improving efficiencies instead of instinctively turning to price hikes.
The “trends” that are here to stay.
Many trend forecasts are including two big movements we think are more than just a trend. So we’re calling it — it’s time to retire sustainability and artificial intelligence from our trend lists. Sustainability is a necessity to address serious issues within the supply chain and while we saw an AI boom in 2023, AI has been a consistent presence in the food system for years. Going into 2024, we’d like to see the food system address sustainability and AI innovation as a mainstay instead of a trend.