Consumers are prioritizing personal and ecological health in their eating habits.
Consumers will seek out tastes that offer novelty, over-the-top indulgence and targeted health benefits in the year ahead, according to Kerry’s 2022 Global Taste Charts. The taste and nutrition company scanned product launch activity through restaurant menu penetration, research reports and its own proprietary internal insights engine to predict the top new flavors for the coming year.
Taste is leading the way when it comes to the growing focus on gut health, immune support and emotional well-being. Sustainability is another important driver as more consumers seek out food and beverage products that have a positive impact on the planet as well as on their own personal health and well-being. Nearly half (49%) of global consumers now consider sustainability when purchasing food and beverage products, according to research from Kerry.
Nostalgia, sustainability and e-commerce all should continue to thrive in 2022, according to a forecast of food trends from the International Food Information Council.
A desire for wellness will have consumers seeking whole grains and fiber, and they will explore immune health as well. Many Americans are seeking ways to manage stress, which will have them looking for products with micronutrients like B vitamins and magnesium or macronutrients like whole grains and protein. Consumers wanting to reduce sodium intake will be welcome to learn about potassium chloride while those wanting to reduce sugar intake will check product labels for the sugar substitutes allulose, maltitol and monk fruit.
Postbiotics, which the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) defines as a “preparation of inanimate microorganisms and/or their components that confers a health benefit on the host,”
are heat-stable and can survive in baked foods. Large companies like ADM and Cargill have expanded their postbiotic ingredient offerings to work with a variety of grain-based applications.
The Kroger Co. has identified 10 food trends that will accelerate and take hold in 2022. The trends may be broken down into three categories: flavors, premiumization and behavioral shifts brought on by the pandemic.
Umami, everything seasoning, tequila and nostalgic flavors are projected as flavor frontrunners. Consumers will upgrade their meals in 2022 by purchasing products that deliver plant-based eating, are local and that deliver restaurant-quality experiences. Behavioral shifts Kroger sees in 2022 will be around health and beauty, sharing and a greater role for charcuterie in meal occasions.
As a sugar substitute in baking, chicory root fiber brings a slightly sweet and neutral taste, dietary fiber and functionality, said Brigitte Peters, technical sales support, Sensus America. “It’s a bulk ingredient and can replace sugar one-to-one without affecting the volume of the product," she said. "It works quite the same as sugar."
The percentage of consumers that are interested in sustainable items is higher than the percentage of retailers who say they believe consumers are interested in such items, according to two recent surveys of over 1,000 people from First Insight. “Brands and retailers must listen to the voice of the customer on issues as critical as sustainability" said Greg Petro, chief executive officer of First Insight. "Consumers want more than performative measures from retailers and brands when it comes to ESG (environmental, social and governance) priorities.”
Unilever is partnering with biotechnology company Holobiome to develop food and beverage ingredients that improve mental well-being by influencing gut bacteria. Holobiome has identified bacteria in the gut that appear to communicate with the brain. The partnership between Unilever and Holobiome intends to identify specific food ingredients that interact with the bacteria and incorporate the ingredients into finished products.
Americans are consuming nearly 20% less added sugar than they did 20 years ago, but the average American still consumes about 123 lbs of added sugar each year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
“Sugar is the gold standard for taste and is highly functional in baked goods,” said Tim Christensen, certified master baker at Cargill. “While sugar reduction continues to ramp up in bakery, it is possible to achieve a modest reduction of 15% to 20% in cookies and 20% to 50% in cakes and muffins using ingredients like stevia and soluble fibers, with limited effect on overall product performance.”
Sustainability, health and wellness, and individual foods and flavors are three trends to keep an eye on heading into 2022, according to Philadelphia Macaroni Co. (PMC), a producer of dry and frozen pasta for the industrial ingredient, private label retail and co-pack channels.
PMC said more organizations are developing upcycled foods from byproducts, including brewers’ spent grain that is being transformed into high-fiber pasta. Vertical farms also are on the rise, a move PMC said may lead to more food on less land and with less water.