Whole Foods Market’s buyers have forecast the flavours and ingredients that will whet appetites in 2017.
The retailer bills itself as the world’s leader in natural and organic foods, with 467 stores in North America and the UK.
Here are the supermarket chain’s comments on the top trends for 2017:
Wellness Tonics: the New Year will usher in a new wave of tonics, tinctures and wellness drinks that go far beyond the fresh-pressed juice craze. The year’s hottest picks will draw on beneficial botanicals and have roots in alternative medicine and global traditions.
Buzzed-about ingredients include kava, Tulsi/holy basil, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, medicinal mushrooms (like reishi and chaga), and adaptogenic herbs (maca and ashwagandha). Kor Organic Raw Shots, Suja Drinking Vinegars and Temple Turmeric Elixirs are just a few products leading the trend.
Coconut Everything: Move over coconut oil and coconut water. Coconut-based products are on the rise. Virtually every component of this versatile fruit/nut/seed (coconuts qualify for all three) is being used in new applications.
The sap is turned into coconut sugar as an alternative to refined sweeteners; the oil is used in a growing list of natural beauty products; and the white flesh of the coconut is now in flours, tortillas, chips, ice creams, butters and more.
Products from Byproducts: Whether it’s leftover whey from strained Greek yogurt or spent grains from beer, food producers are finding innovative ways to give byproducts new life.
For example, Eco-Olea is using water from its olive oil production as the base for a household cleaner line; condiment brand Sir Kensington’s is repurposing leftover liquid from cooking chickpeas in a vegan mayo; and Atlanta Fresh and White Moustache are using leftover whey from yogurt production to create probiotic drinks.
Beyond Sushi: Japanese-inspired eating is on the rise and it doesn’t look anything like a sushi roll. Long-celebrated condiments with roots in Japanese cuisine, like ponzu, miso, mirin, sesame oil and plum vinegar, are making their way from restaurant menus to mainstream US pantries.
Seaweed is a rising star as shoppers seek more varieties of savoury greens, including fresh and dried kelp, wakame, dulse and nori.
The trend will also impact breakfast and dessert, as shoppers experiment with savoury breakfast bowl combinations and a growing number of flavours such as green tea and matcha, black sesame, pickled plum, yuzu citrus and Azuki bean.
Creative Condiments: from traditional global recipes to brand new ingredients, interesting condiments are taking centre stage. Look for black sesame tahini, habanero jam, ghee, Pomegranate molasses, black garlic purée, date syrup, plum jam with chia seeds, beet salsa and Mexican hot chocolate spreads.
Rethinking Pasta: today’s pastas are influenced less by Italian grandmothers and more by popular plant-based and clean-eating movements.
Alternative grain noodles made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas are quickly becoming favourites, while grain-free options like spiralized veg and kelp noodles are also on the rise.
That said, more traditional fresh-milled and seasonal pastas are having a moment too, which means pasta is cruising into new territories with something for everyone.
Purple Power: richly coloured purple foods are popping up everywhere, from purple cauliflower, purple asparagus, elderberries, acai and purple sweet potatoes to purple corn and cereal. The power of purple goes beyond the vibrant color and often indicates nutrient density and antioxidants.
Flexitarian: in 2017, consumers will embrace a new, personalised version of healthy eating that’s less rigid. Instead of a strict identity aligned with one diet, shoppers will embrace the ‘flexitarian’ approach to making conscious choices about what, when and how much to eat.
Mindful Meal Prep: people aren’t just asking themselves what they’d like to eat, but also how meals can stretch their money, reduce food waste, save time and be healthier.
Trends to watch include the ‘make some/buy some’ approach, such as using pre-cooked ingredients from the hot bar to jump-start dinner, or preparing a main dish from scratch and using frozen or store-bought ingredients as sides.
Fresh oven-ready meal kits and vegetable medleys are also on the upswing, as shoppers continue to crave healthier options that require less time.
‘Coconut-based products are on the rise’