Focus to remain on sustainability, health, e-commerce

WASHINGTON — Nostalgia, sustainability and e-commerce all should continue to thrive in 2022, according to a forecast of food trends from the International Food Information Council. Food insecurity and exotic flavors will be topics of note, and terms like kokumi, “reducetarian” and COP26 could be heard often as well, according to the Washington-based IFIC.

Consumers’ desire for wellness will have them seeking whole grains and fiber, and they will explore immune health as well. Many Americans are seeking ways to manage stress, which will have them looking for products with micronutrients like B vitamins and magnesium or macronutrients like whole grains and protein. Consumers wanting to reduce sodium intake will be welcome to learn about potassium chloride while those wanting to reduce sugar intake will check product labels for the sugar substitutes allulose, maltitol and monk fruit.

Foods infused with cannabidiol (CBD) could become more mainstream even though the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved it for use as an ingredient in foods, beverages or dietary supplements.

Nostalgic consumers will remember the 1990s in 2022, according to IFIC. The Food Network will feature programs with simple, no-fuss home cooking. Consumers reluctant to travel still will be adventurous, checking out exotic foods and flavors like hibiscus, yuzu, turmeric, kelp, gochujang and ube. They will savor the taste of umami and become better acquainted with the richness of kokumi.

Policymakers will give more attention to issues like federal feeding programs and health and nutrition disparities after COVID-19 revealed the state of food insecurity and the links between comorbidities and susceptibility to the virus. Consumers in the city will turn to urban farming and “vertical agriculture” in their efforts to promote sustainability, nutrition and food security. The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) will advance sustainable purchasing attitudes. New eating patterns such as “reducetarian,” “climatarian” and low-carbon will emerge.

More businesses will turn to ghost kitchens and pop-up locations. Adoption of technologies like QR codes for menus will increase as will self-service kiosks at restaurants. E-commerce and direct-to-consumer sales will increase their presence in the food system.

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