Over the past few years, health food trends have influenced every sector of the food industry. Foods that boost the immune system and overall wellness have been increasingly sought after, especially amidst the ongoing pandemic. And with unique health food brands blossoming every day, new paths are being paved to create tasty alternatives to the already popular dishes people know and love. Environmentally conscious and ethically sourced products have also seen a boost in popularity and are a trend that can be foreshadowed in the coming year. 

Immune-Boosting Superfoods

Having a strong immune system is essential to fighting COVID-19, so it comes as no surprise that immune-boosting foods have seen an increase in demand within the past year. In addition, an increase in consumers that are conscious about the nutritional content of the food they are eating has created an increase in demand for these products. According to ReportLinker, the global immune-boosting food market grew 39.6% from 2019 to 2020 alone, a whopping $22.74 billion dollar industry. It is expected to grow by an additional $2 billion by 2023. Ingredients such as ginger, turmeric, and Vitamin C are all good options for someone searching to build up their immune system. Some juice shots, such as the Trader Joes Ginger blend, are promoted as a way to “supercharge” your immune system. 

Plant-Based Alternatives

Often more sustainable than animal-based products, dairy alternatives for foods such as cheese, eggs, milk, and meat have seen a consistent rise in popularity, particularly over the past year. Shoppers have more options than ever before with the plant-based sector of the grocery industry growing nearly 148% last year alone (Cocchi, 2021). Many mainstream fast-food restaurants have jumped onto the trend with a line-up of new plant-based menu items being released this year. For example, Starbucks is releasing JUST EGG vegan breakfast bites, Ben and Jerry’s is increasing the flavors of their dairy-free ice cream line, and Taco Bell is adding beyond meat burritos (Mazzoni, 2021). 

"Ugly" Food Snacks

Ever wondered what happens to the misfit produce that doesn’t make the cut for grocery store shelves? Markets often discard imperfect produce, causing millions of pounds of perfectly usable food to go to waste every year. A single bruise, indent, or marking could cause a piece of produce to find itself in the pile of misfit foods within the landfill. Products being made from recycled produce can help minimize the energy needed within the production processes, transportation, and are often most cost effective. The Ugly Company transforms “ugly” fruit or fruit that is slightly flawed, into healthy dried snacks. Be on the lookout this year for brands repurposing these misfit foods into usable, tasty snacks

New brands and products are making it easier than ever to live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. Mainstream brands are also integrating more variety by releasing sustainable and plant-based product alternatives to the already fan favorites. So, which new food trend will you be trying this year?