As a result of growing awareness of sustainability, the environment, and health, our food consumption patterns have already been changing. The Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years has added greater impetus to these changes. Here are 9 shifts that we have observed so far.
- Uptake of alcohol free drinks
The alcohol-free trend has already been growing steadily over the past few years with growing awareness of the ill effects of alcohol consumption. A number of leading beer brands such as Heineken and Peroni have already come up with alcohol-free versions which actually taste pretty good! Mocktails or alcohol-free cocktails are also receiving a resurgence of popularity meaning that you can make your own at home or even order them at a bar or restaurant to enjoy the ritual of drinking with friends while keeping your alcohol consumption in check.
2. The rise of functional carbonated drinks
Beverages such as fizzy soft drinks can harm your health with added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other acidic qualities. More people are coming to realise this as they swap out traditional soft drinks for more functional fizzy drinks, including prebiotic soda with added fibre, carbonated herbal teas, sparkling tonics full of adaptogens, and kombucha for a healthy gut.
3. The explosion of non-dairy milk
As people become aware of the potential inflammatory effects of dairy, the cruelty of commercial farming, and the negative environmental effects of an over-reliance on dairy, there has been a greater demand for non-dairy options.
The popularity of non-dairy milk exploded in 2021, with oat milk leading the way. Other dairy milk alternatives made from grains, seeds, vegetables, and nuts are also capturing people’s attention.
There is, for example, potato milk made from boiled potatoes and the water they cook in. There is also barley milk made from upcycled barley used in the beer-making process. Because it is formulated from ingredients that would normally go to waste, barley milk is considered highly sustainable.
Other unexpected nuts now available as dairy-free milk include cashews, macadamias, pecans, and pistachios. There are other plant-based options as well, including milk made from peas, tiger nuts, hemp, flax, and quinoa.
4. Sunflower seed butter
Peanut butter alternatives like cashew butter and almond butter have been popular, allergy-free choices for years. Now, there’s a newcomer on the scene—sunflower seed butter. This rich, creamy seed butter is even a primary ingredient in four non-dairy ice cream flavors released by Ben & Jerry’s last year.
5. Growing mushroom popularity
Along with the continued interest in having a more plant-based diet, mushrooms are becoming incredibly popular as a tasty meat replacement in common recipes. The hearty texture, savory flavour, and absorbency of mushrooms help them effectively imitate meat. For many people, the superior health and sustainability of mushrooms seal the deal. Try topping your toasted bun with a grilled Portobello mushroom instead of a beef patty, or stir mushrooms into soups and stews as a flavorful addition.
6. The demand for sustainable foods
As a result, of growing awareness for environmental sustainability, shoppers are increasingly reading the labels on their food products with sustainability having a dominant impact on consumer purchases.
Consumers are also paying attention to carbon emission labeling, which has increased significantly in the last year. Carbon miles reveal how much pollution food generates on its way to your table. Certified Carbon Neutral is a group that provides guidance and certification labels for food companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
Shoppers are also much more amenable to buying fruit and vegetables that may be odd-shaped.
7. More mindful consumption patterns
More people are consciously thinking of what they are consuming these days. They are starting to consider the impact of their consumption and even if they are not vegetarian or plant-based, they are gradually reducing their consumption of animal products. This trend, known as reducetarianism, is gaining popularity in 2022.
As a result, plenty of new and improved plant-based products are becoming available these days, including non-dairy milk and mushrooms, as already discussed on this list. Here are some of your other options.
- Nut-based cheeses made from almonds and cashews
- Soy and coconut cheeses
- Meat-free salami and other cured “meats”
- Plant-based dips, such as hummus, black bean dip, olive tapenade and mushroom pate
8. Greater emphasis on immunity-boosting foods
A strong immune system is the foundation of good overall health. As immunity continues to be a top concern in 2022, people are taking a holistic approach to help strengthen it. This includes making lifestyle changes like getting more sleep, meditating to reduce stress, and eating immune-boosting foods full of vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, probiotics, prebiotics, and adaptogens.
Some of the food trends for 2022 outlined in this list are considered immunity-boosting foods, including mushrooms, water lily seeds, and hibiscus. Here are a few others to add to your grocery shopping list.
- Berries (blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, acai berries, goji berries)
- Fermented foods (yogurt, kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut)
- Spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon)
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds)
- Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, kiwis, grapefruit)
Seaweed, seagrass, dulce, and kelp are being hailed as sustainable, nutrient-rich food sources in 2022. As such, you can find them in salads and snacks, as condiments, and in cubes for adding to smoothies, sauces, soups, and dressings.