2019 Food Trends

by Sue Taggart

There are so many foods trend for 2019, that we are just scratching the surface and will continue to bring you more food news throughout the year. Forecasting food trends is subject to consumers’ palates and preferences, but an early report from  Mintel, Global Food and Drink Trends 2019 report shed some light on what may become leading trends.


No longer a buzzword, sustainability is pushing further along the supply chain, according to Mintel. “The 360-degree approach reflects the principles of a circular economy, where resources are kept in use for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value while in use and then recovering materials at the end of use,” writes Jenny Zegler, associate director, Mintel Food & Drink.  A shift that is gaining traction is the alternatives for plastic straws in the foodservice segment earlier this year — consumers are ditching plastic for paper or even metal straws – or even, no straws at all! The waste-not aesthetic has even entered the brewing world, with beers made from bread and, in some cases, recycled water, to raise customer awareness of unnecessary use of resources.


Food trends may come and go, but convenience remains key with consumers. According to Mintel, 27 percent of US consumers surveyed thought that healthy food takes too much time to prepare — and so the food industry is stepping up to deliver more healthy convenient options. As grocery delivery, meal kits and increasingly sophisticated hot counters continue to blur the definition of a traditional supermarket, today’s diner is used to a landscape that is tailored to their needs, regardless of the time of day. Mintel sees future movement in this segment occurring in three ways: more consumers craving this convenience and driving demand in these products, increased sophistication in the home meal replacement (HMR) products and innovations in technology bringing alternate forms of shopping such as automated convenience stores and mobile options

Boomers are Booming 

Millennials may have driven the market in recent years, but, manufacturers are now turning their attention to another lucrative area — the health halo in the senior segment, already being targeted by the cosmetics industry. “The world’s seniors are a demographic that has immediate need for food and drink that address the effects of ageing. At a time when record numbers of people are living to be 100 years old, food and drink companies are challenged to address the wide variety of health states of consumers aged 55 and older,” writes Zegler. These products can range from the addition of vitamins and supplements to products such as dairy to borrowing functional ingredients from international cultures including ginger and green tea.

Another trend highlighted by Food Business News:

Customized Eating

This evolution in health and wellness has been dubbed “customized eating” and includes a focus on simplicity, transparency, ingredient avoidance, health, and sustainability. Customized eating represents the consumer’s growing control over the path to purchase and, according to several speakers at the Grocery Manufacturers Leadership Forum this past August, it is where current category growth may be found.

Even as the customized eating trend continues into the foreseeable future, food companies must prepare for what will come next, which appears to be personalized eating and nutrition. Many of the technologies associated with personalized nutrition have been in development for several years but are only now on the cusp of commercial viability. Adoption at a commercial scale may redefine how consumers perceive what is healthy and significantly alter food and beverage product development. It will be yet another redefinition of what is healthy, and it is a future trend food and beverage companies must prepare to embrace.

And Whole Foods has something to say about what we will eat in 2019, here are their Top 10 predictions:

1. Pacific Rim Flavors

The grocer says that flavors from Asia, Oceania, and the western coasts of South America are on the rise. Whole Foods name checks guava, dragon fruit, Filipino sausage longganisa, dried shrimp, cuttlefish, and shrimp paste as a few ingredients to keep an eye out for.

2. Shelf-stable Probiotics

Probiotics have been on the rise for a while, in the form of fermented kimchi and various pickled foods. Now, wellness-focused brands, cleaning products, and beauty brands are trying to cash in on the trend.

3. Phat Fats

Whole Foods cites “keto, paleo, grain-free, and even ‘pegan’ (paleo + vegan) diets” as helping to get people to add more fat to their diets.

“New integrations of fat sources — like keto-friendly nutrition bars crafted with MCT oil powder, coconut butter-filled chocolates, snacks affectionately called ‘fat bombs’ and a new wave of ready-to-drink vegan coffee beverages inspired by butter coffees — are busting on the scene allowing consumers to get their fat fill with convenient treats,” the grocer says.

4. Frozen Treats of a Different Kind

“The new pints on the block are adding a fresh take on a timeless treat with innovative bases like avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water,” Whole Foods says. Some brands are moving beyond ice cream all together, with frozen cheese swirls, Taiwanese snow ice, and Mexican nieves de garrafa on the cusp of going mainstream.

5. Marine Munchies Beyond Seaweed

Seaweed is firmly mainstream in 2018. Now, ingredients like seaweed butter and kelp noodles are being added to the menu.

6. Hemp, Revamped

The rise of CBD means that hemp is a hot topic as a less legally fraught option in the cannabis business boom.

“While CBD oil is still technically taboo (prohibited in food, body care and dietary supplements under federal law), retailers, culinary experts and consumers can’t miss the cannabis craze when visiting food industry trade shows, food innovators conferences or even local farmers markets,” Whole Foods says.

7. Faux Meat Snacks

“While plant-based foods aren’t exactly a new trend, our experts noted more people — even those who don’t eat only vegan or vegetarian — are exploring plant-based snacking as their palates crave adventure, want a break from meat or seek more ways to add savory umami flavors into snacks and meals,” Whole Foods says.

That means more veggie jerkies and faux bacon snacks in grocery store aisles.

8. Empowering Purchases

“In 2019, thoughtful consideration behind purchases moves beyond (but doesn’t exclude!) environmental stewardship and animal welfare, and becomes more people-focused,” Whole Foods writes.

The grocer name drops Greyston Bakery, which has an open-hiring model; Kuli Kuli, which employs female farmers; and women-and-food-centric Cherry Bombe Magazine.

9. Eco-friendly Packaging

Produce departments are encouraging customers to bring their own bags, chains are banning straws, and single-use packaging is on its way out.

“Some movements start as trends, then become necessities,” Whole Foods writes. “This is one of them.”

10. Gourmet Snacks

Snacking across the board will usurp the usual three-meals-a-day routine, and they are anything but ordinary,” Whole Foods writes.

You can expect more cheese boards, prosciutto, and artisanal versions of childhood snacks in 2019. Think gourmet Snackables, geared towards people on the keto diet.

So, what are your thoughts on 2019 food trends, we’d love to know! 

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