- ‘Tis the season of 2019 forecasting, and that includes predictions of all the wacky, weird, interesting and innovative products that could land on grocery store shelves next year. Whole Foods, Kroger and FreshDirect are seizing the opportunity to catch shoppers' attention and have released their projections for what looks to be a trendy year in food.
- Among the predicted trends for 2019, faux meat and plant-based foods, such as mushroom jerky, meatless patties and more cauliflower-based foods, will continue to grow in popularity. Probiotics and gut-healthy food will be ongoing trends, with more manufacturers adding them to foods and beverages. Snacking is likely to be front-and-center, with more innovation expected around snacks for kids and more regional flavors showing up in snack products. Specialty diet foods to support keto, vegan, vegetarian and low-sugar consumers will likely appear on more shelves, and global flavors, organic and local products will play a key role in consumer food choices.
- Beverages will not be forgotten in 2019. Fermented drinks such as kombucha and ciders will remain in demand, and plant-based beverages such as oat milk, coconut milk and hemp milk are expected to become more prevalent.
From date bars to strawberry guava pudding to spice packets from around the world, 2019 is sure to be a year full of interesting flavors and healthy eating options. Kroger, Whole Foods and FreshDirect are fully embracing cutting-edge trends and have announced a wide range of products to match. There’s little doubt that other retailers and food manufacturers will be jumping on board, too.
Not all of these are brand new for 2019. The rise of plant-based foods and faux meat is really a 2018 brainchild, as were global flavors, gut-friendly foods and locally sourced produce.
One trend that certainly is new, and may have some people questioning the legality of their dinner, is anything using cannabidiol (CBD). Whole Foods and FreshDirect both predict CBD-infused foods and beauty products popping up grocery store shelves, and it appears that may be a 2019 trend in restaurants as well. While food makers and chefs are using CBD, most states have made it clear that these products are not legal – yet they are still making their way into the hands of consumers.
Another interesting prediction from Whole Foods is "ocean influence" as more sea greens make their way into foods beyond seaweed snacks. The grocer expects to see seaweed butter, kelp noodles and snackable salmon skins.
Based on these predictions, grocery assortments need to be more attention-grabbing than ever next year. Customers want the wow factor in their foods and beverages, and they want to see something new each time they head to the store. At the same time, it looks like shoppers will be maintaining a commitment to fresh, healthy and organic foods as well as foods that will keep their gut happy and that will line up with their keto, paleo or vegetarian preferences.
It’s not necessarily easy for grocers to meet the wide range of demands of trends and consumers today, but most grocers and food manufacturers are likely to embrace the changes in taste to stay relevant and competitive. With industry competition at a fever pitch, grocers and manufacturers that offer something that isn’t on anyone’s radar yet will have a good chance of standing out and securing customer loyalty.
At the same time, food trends are often fleeting, so retailers will need to watch their investments and remain true to the core offerings that have brought them long-term success. Grocers who prefer to play it safe can always embrace “trends” that seem to be here to stay, such as local produce, organic products and fun kids' snacks.