Food Trends of 2019 and Beyond

By Parul Kharod

As consumer awareness increases, the food industry has to adapt to demands and start making changes. Let's look at the top foods that filled the shelves of grocery stores in 2019 and what can we expect in the upcoming year.

Regenerative Foods

• These are foods grown with regenerative agriculture practices. Regenerative agriculture is all about employing techniques that give back to the land rather than take away. Farming practices are focused on building up high-quality soil, retaining rainwater, improving the water cycle, increasing biodiversity, and promoting both human and animal welfare.

• Earlier this year General Mills announced that it would apply regenerative agriculture to one million acres by 2030. At the recent United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City, Danone, Kellogg, Nestlé, and a dozen other companies announced the One Planet Business for Biodiversity (OP2B) coalition to advance regenerative agriculture, rebuild biodiversity and eliminate deforestation. We will start seeing foods marketed as having been grown with these better farming techniques.

Plant Power

• While majority of us are still not eating the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, there is growing trend to limit animal proteins and focus more on the power of plants. In the past few months you may have heard of all major food chain companies roll out the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Meat burgers made with meatless patties that mimic the taste of real meat. Since the strong recommendations to limit meat intake for climate change and environmental health reasons, these fake meats have become very popular.

• There is also an increase in various non-dairy milk and yogurt offerings. Apart from more brands offering Almond milk, Coconut milk, and Soy milk, there are other plant milks on the market including Oat milk and Hemp milk. Ice cream, cheese, and other plant-based dairy alternatives are surely an increasing trend that will see more options in the coming years.

• Plant-based protein – As more people move away from milk/whey protein powders, more and more companies are now offering plant proteins. Abbott, the company that makes the most popular supplement Ensure, recently came out with a plant-based protein shake. Pea protein is the most popular source of these shakes.

• Other trends we saw rise this year and probably will continue next year are things such as Zucchini Noodles, Cauliflower rice, and pasta made from lentils and chick pea flour.

Spice it Up

As the western world discovers what we have known for thousands of years, the supplement industry is trying very hard to keep up with the demand.

• Turmeric – this is the age of the Golden Latte. There are a million recipes online and in coffee shops. We used to make faces, close our noses, and gulp down the warm cup of “haldiwala dudh" when it was forced upon us by our mothers and grandmothers. Now, here, everyone is paying more than $5 per cup of this anti-inflammatory drink. There are also turmeric tea bags, and turmeric pills.

• Cinnamon and Ginger supplements are also on the rise. Other spices and supplements to watch for: matcha, ashwagandha and maca.

Nut & Seed Butters

Its time think way beyond the lowly peanut butter. Now there are more brands of these spreads made from cashews, macadamia nuts, hazel nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, and hemp seeds. Many brands are also looking to either eliminate the use of palm oil or promote a Responsibly Sourced Palm Oil certification and use nuts that are grown in ways with less likelihood for environmental impact.

Beverages

As more people realize the risks associated with artificial sweeteners, the food and beverage industry has become more innovative. There is growing variety of sparkling waters and other flavored beverages that have natural ingredients. The section for herbal teas in the grocery store keeps getting bigger.

Indulgent Flavors

Fancier palates and specialized taste buds have created a demand for trendy eateries that offer avocado toast, super food smoothies, grain bowls, and bubble teas.

Farm to Table

There is an ever-growing desire for people to learn much more about how their food is grown. There is a strong demand for information on where the farm or ranch is located, how the food was grown and how it was processed and packaged. There is a growing trend to but locally grown produce. More people are asking for transparency about where the food comes from.

The Bottom Line

Trends may come and go. What should remain is the commitment to eating and living mindfully for your physical and emotional health. So, avoid fad diets. Make simple goals to eat healthy. Avoid all over-processed and junk food. Cook most of your meals at home. Plan to be active and find ways to move more. Most importantly, learn to remove stress and be happy.

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Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist and works as a Clinical Dietitian with Outpatient Nutrition Services at WakeMed Hospital in Cary and Raleigh. She can be reached at parulkharod@gmail.com