5 Beneficial and Meaningful Food Trends to Try in 2022

Goodnet takes a look at what’s cooking and the values behind the foods for the new year.

2022 healthy eating trends including superfood lattes, and vegan alts.

(Valerii Piankovskyi / Shutterstock.com)

What’s cooking in 2022? Join Goodnet on our look at the key healthy food trends forecasters predict will influence what we will be serving at our tables, and they seem enticing! 

We’re happy to report that they are also meaningful. The introduction to the 2022 report on food and beverage trends by Alon Chen, CEO at analysts Tastewise, discusses how COVID and climate change have shifted people’s priorities, “expanding how we use food and beverage: to experience, to experiment, to create community, so sustain, to heal.” 

In the same spirit, Jennifer Zigler, associate director of food and drink at research firm Mintel, speaks of this better vibe to the New York Times:  “We’ve all gone through this stressful, anxious couple of years, and there’s that willingness to have some empathy and understanding.”

For consumers, this means prioritizing food products with health benefits to them, and new takes on healthy eating like functional beverages. But, as Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at leading US chain for natural and organic food, Whole Foods Market,  says in a media release, it also means choosing products that support our sense of wellbeing through positive environmental impacts like urban garden greens or kelp. And the link to the spiritual realm is now part of diet choices too.

Nostalgia will be served!

What’s not to love about looking back to familiar comfort foods from years past to help cope with the pandemic, and feel connected to family even if we’re not physically with them? More time at home has given cooks the motivation to experiment in the kitchen with recipes that bring back good memories. 

Online US food ordering company, GrubHub identified 2021 as the year of comfort foods and vegetarian-friendly orders. Its top 5 2022 predictions revive old favorites like Margherita flatbread pizza, chicken tots, and apple cobbler.

"In these topsy-turvy times, many are seeking comforting food and drinks from years past that offer a sense of familiarity and wistful nostalgia," Leith Steel, senior strategist for branding and creative agency, Carbonate, told Better Homes & Gardens

This nostalgia is going global too. The New York Times predicts that childhood favorites from China such as White Rabbit candy and the honeycomb-style treat, ppopgi, from South Korea, are set to appear in American shopping cars and in dessert recipes.

Korean popgi candy, honeycomb toffee sugar candy with umbrella and triangle shapes.

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‘Reducetarianism’ rules

The global buyers and experts at Whole Foods Market, have pinpointed this trend as one of the top 10 anticipated food currents for 2022.

In a nutshell, reducetarianism is about decreasing your intake of meat, dairy and eggs without cutting them out completely. And animal products such as free-range eggs can be healthier and kinder too. 

A look at the top food and nutrition trends for 2022 from Eating Well also identifies the interest in plant-based eating. Esmee Williams, vice president of consumer and brand strategy at Dotdash Meredith, Eating Well’s parent group, reports that interest in articles on plant-based eating and meal plans rose by 31% in the last year. Reasons include a desire to eat healthy and more sustainably as well as “an explosion of new plant-based options” in grocery stores and restaurants.

Looking at this trend from a green angle on MarthaStewart.com, Bridget Shirvell discusses environmentally-conscious eating. While plant-based diets have been trending for a while, she believes that as climate crisis concerns intensify, we can expect to see more ecologically-conscious options on restaurant menus, meal delivery kits, and in supermarkets. On the cards are more greens from urban farms on store shelves, and a consumer openness to minimizing food waste in the kitchen through creative, nutritious and delicious “root-to-tip” recipes.

Roasted vegetable vegetarian skewers.

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Kitchen travel leading to ‘swice’ and other fusion flavors 

New word mash-ups like “Swicy” (sweet and spicy) and “swalty” (sweet and salty, which many will have tried in salted caramel flavors) reflect, say food trend analysts, a wider embrace of flavor fusions and the Gen Z interest in ingredients with a rich cultural backstory. 

Nene, a South Korean-based fried chicken chain that is just entering North America with three branches in Canada,  even has a sauce named swicy.  The New York Times suggests thinking of this sauce as the offspring of ketchup and Gochujang, a savory, sweet and spicy fermented condiment used in Korean cuisine.

For 2022, Tastewise’s report on food and health based on data from restaurant and delivery menus, social media interactions, and recipes, reports that with travel restrictions still in place,  consumers are opting for “kitchen travel”: “Latin American, Caribbean, and Indian regional cuisines are experiencing particular growth. Edible flowers and botanicals are also on the rise,” it shares.

Ayam geprek or chicken crush, Indonesian food made from fried chicken pounded with chili and garlic flavor and served with vegetables and rice.

(Faiz Dila / Shutterstock.com)

Interest in ‘clevr blends’ driving superfood lattes

Updating the smoothie trend, and mixing it with functional beverages, superfood lattes are milk-based, or alternative milk-based drinks made with health-boosting superfoods and enticingly colorful! 

More people  have been experimenting with creating their own superfood lattes instead of their usual cup of joe. Just like traditional lattes, they are usually served hot. Superfood lattes are also available at health-focused cafes and as pre-prepared superfood latte mixes  in grocery stores.

Health-conscious coffee drinkers are eager to add nutritious superfoods like  beets, macha, spirulina, mushroom and adaptogens (various herbs and fungi said to help our bodies adjust to stress), and turmeric to their diets. 

“Clvr blends” was a breakout term on Google Trends, while searches for “Golde matcha” went up by 40 percent last year reveals Eating Well. It also reports a 39 percent growth in views on turmeric latte  (aka “golden milk'') in the last year.  This passion also embraces the growing interest in the relationship between mental health and diet, also called “brain food”.

Tastewise CEO, Alon Chen, introducing the company’s  deep dive into food and health trends, writes that “A third more of today’s consumers treat food as functional medicine in just the past year alone.” 

Trending, relaxing moon milk superfood latte blend for a better sleep.

(Civil / Shutterstock.com)

Hibiscus is branching out

Hibiscus, a  plant of the mallow family with edible flowers and often added to herbal tea blends, has long been considered healthy by diverse cultures, as Healthline reports.

The Habitat refers to its reputed medicinal properties in Ayurvedic medicine, and its health-boosting antioxidants that can successfully reduce blood pressure. 

And hibiscus is expected to be part of more recipes. In her New York Times article, Kim Severson notes that hibiscus, a traditional ingredient in tea in many cultures, “is adding its crimson hue and tart, earthy flavor to everything from cocktails  and sodas to crudos and yogurt.”

Sun dried fresh roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa), food coloring and ingredient in beverages, Herbal medicine for reduction in blood pressure.

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