Food and Plant Tech Trends to Watch in 2022
Sustainability, science-based health optimization, and innovations in food products are dominating the news, and for good reason: consumers are becoming more conscious about the planet’s wellbeing, as well as their own. That perspective will drive food trends in the coming year.
People Are Choosing Planet-Friendly Foods
A growing number of consumers will be looking for sustainable foods, and choosing them even when they come at a premium. As Jack Li, founder and CEO of restaurant insights company Datassential, told Forbes magazine: “The domain that is going to continue to grow is climate change. I can’t overstate how big it will be.” Plus, he added, “the domain of personal values is the next big food motivator.”
As many as 80% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase products that are considered environmentally friendly, says a recent survey by Greenprint, a sustainability consulting services company.
According to food giant ADM, consumers associate sustainability with “what is right and just for themselves, their family, the community, the environment and, ultimately, the future of humanity.” They also believe companies have a moral imperative to protect environmental
and social aspects of agriculture.
As such, consumers will favour foods that draw down carbon, reported Food Navigator in their roundup of baking trends for 2022. These could include upcycled foods, or food from companies that use carbon offsets or promote sustainable farming practices like regenerative agriculture.
Further, British Baker reported, “reducing the use of plastic and eradicating food waste were highlighted as two important pillars of a sustainability strategy that consumers will be looking out for” in their roundup of food trends for next year.
Optimized wellness is a buzzword to watch in 2022, as consumers look for what ADM researchers call “clean and natural products and supplements with ingredients supportive of holistic health.” Many of these products have been developed thanks to a growing scientific understanding of the role of nutrition in physical and mental health.
Food Navigator also reported that consumers are increasingly focused on the gut microbiome as the root of wellness, with a growing interest in prebiotics and other nutritional support for better digestion. British Baker magazine agreed, reporting that “gut health has taken the wellness industry by storm,” while another report by Spoonshot said consumer interest in gut health has grown by 76% since 2016.
Fiber is key to digestive optimization, wrote Food Navigator, with consumers wanting “fibers that support healthy digestion and gut microflora — good bacteria associated with healthful properties — including prebiotics, starches, and newer fiber formulations.”
Tastewise predicts continued interest in functional foods, with 33% more consumers treating food as medicine compared to 2020. They’ll look for micronutrients like adaptogens, zinc, and electrolytes, and more nutritional content in baked goods.
If you see several healthy ingredients included in the same product, you’ll know it’s on trend. Food synergies — foods or nutrients that boost each others’ effectiveness when eaten together — will also become popular, reported Spoonshot. For example, vitamin C and zinc taken together is said to help immunity, and will be popular in beverages.
And ADM researchers suggested consumers preferred confections with added health benefits, so products like chocolate fortified with functional ingredients, including prebiotics, probiotics, and antioxidants, will likely dominate the shelves.
Innovations to Fuel the Future
Upcycling food will be a key innovation to watch, as food manufacturers like The Supplant Company discover new ways to turn unused food into delicious and sustainable products. Some examples include SupplantTM sugars from fiber, as well as Take Two’s barley milk and CaPao’s plant-based meat made from cashew apples.
Oat milk is also taking over the plant-based milk market, with a 95% increase in consumer interest over just a year ago, and vertical indoor farming is now providing fresh and nutritious vegetables from urban rooftops and warehouses.
Finally, one more innovation to note is cell-cultured meat that doesn’t rely on animal-based growing media, developed by companies like Future Meat, Mosa Meat, and Upside Foods. The cost of cell-cultured meat is expected to drop substantially as a result, bringing it to grocery shelves in the coming year or two.
We’re looking forward to seeing what else 2022 will bring. Find out as soon as we do by following us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.