What to Know
- Food and wine experts from FreshDirect and FoodKick have compiled a list of the top food trends for 2019
- The list includes CBD-infused foods, oat milk, cauliflower and high-quality canned fish
- "Better-for-you" beverages and fresh, and sustainable takes on shelf-stable staples also made the list
Each new year ushers in a host of new food trends, and 2019 is expected to carry on the tradition.
Food and wine experts from FreshDirect and FoodKick have compiled a list of what they believe will be the top food trends for 2019.
From a food that's expected to replace kale as the hot new vegetable to a drink that's slated to become the next almond milk, here are the predictions for the coming year:
1. Bringing "fresh" into shelf-stable
Shelf-stable products, which are traditionally highly processed, are continuing to evolve to be fresher and more direct to the source. This coming year will bring more innovative, fresh, and sustainable takes on shelf-stable staples. Some shelf-stable foods are evolving to become so fresh that they need to be refrigerated. Perfect Bar, the leading refrigerated bar on the market, Union's Duck L'orange bar, and Haven's Kitchen's Red Pepper Romesco sauce are prime examples of new takes on shelf-stable products that use fresh, natural ingredients in convenient and creative ways.
2. CBD-infused foods
Cannabidiol (CBD) is an ingredient derived from the cannabis plant that is non-psychoactive, but is said to offer relief from pain, anxiety and depression, while having anti-inflammatory properties. In 2018, we saw CBD pop up in the form of tinctures and beauty products. In 2019, CBD will break into the food category in full force driven by the help of risk-taking innovators. CBD oil-infused products will first surge in the drinks category, with CBD-infused drinks driving the functional-wellness drink category. CBD will also be prominently featured on more menus next year and as the star of new food products, such as salad dressings.
3. High-quality canned fish
Artisanal, high-quality canned fish has started popping up in restaurants as featured menu items across the nation. The convenience and quality is unmatched and the canned format allows for unique experimentation, fostering the ability for consumers to try rare and flavorful species from all over the world, regardless of season. Grocers will start to carry a wide breadth of high-quality canned fishes, ranging by source, species, and flavor profiles.
Nut milk is out, while oat milk is storming in. This year, FreshDirect saw an increased consumer demand for oat milk and the launch of new dairy-alternatives, such as Oatly. Oat milk is more sustainable and not as water intensive as other non-dairy milks, while also more abundant and inexpensive, which will help keep high-quality products at lower costs. Oat milk will continue to evolve in 2019 into new dairy-alternative products, such as oat-based yogurts and cheeses.
5. Premium spice packets
Out are the days of subscriptions, kits, and jars of spices. Next year will see a surge in innovative takes on portion-controlled spice packets and simmer sauces. Customers will be able to have any cuisine — think Korean, Thai, or Indian — all in one week cooking with one pan. These flavorful packets can spice up protein, noodles, or veggies in a portion-controlled, convenient, and simple way. Premium spice packets fit into the developing themes of portion control and one-time use, giving consumers more options with less commitment. Premium spice packets will also make their way into retailer kitchens by being incorporated in more prepared and value-added food offerings.
6. Organic 2.0
Next year, there will be more tech-enabled local organic offerings developed by vertical farming leaders like AeroFarms, and many more bio-dynamic processes and growing methods. Although organic penetration has been growing year-over-year, customers have recently evolved to become more enthusiastic about products with positive environmental impact, regardless of whether they carry formal organic certification. By purchasing product labeled as "transitional", our customers can support local farmers and their better growing practices, while getting produce grown with organic methods before its certification at lower-than-organic prices.
7. Cauliflower power
Kale is out and cauliflower is in. Customers are keen on incorporating more plants into their diets and cauliflower has taken a leading role in the plant-based space. Customers love the cauliflower craze as it's a lower carb vegetable that holds up like a grain and absorbs flavor easily. It can unnoticeably replace starches in many staples, including pizza crust, rice, crackers, pretzels, and even tater tots.
8. Evolution of kid snacks
2019 will bring serious innovations in the snacks category, specifically in kid snacks. Kid snacks will shift in two ways — there will be more nutritional plays on traditional kids' favorites and adult staples will also become more kid-friendly. Essential snacking items like snack bars, jerky, cookies, and crackers will welcome more child-friendly flavors and textures, with a shift towards more nutritious and clean ingredients. National players will continue to invest in developing cleaner, kid-friendly snacks and there will be a surge in new innovations like Peek-a-Boo's strawberry ice cream, which features hidden carrots.
9. Spreading local
FreshDirect's experts are seeing new and exciting twists on local that will gain more penetration in 2019. Vertical farming and its controlled methods will enable new innovations like tropical items sourced locally, as well as out-of-season strains and varietals being grown locally. There will also be a resurgence of sourcing hyper-local fish species that were previously unpopular with consumers, like ocean perch, tilefish, porgy, and blackfish. Additionally, more retailers will leverage their relationships to create high-quality, custom products with local partners.
10. Better-for-you beverages
Consumers are starting to lean into better-for-you beverages, especially in the alcohol category. New trends will include natural wines, a surge in ciders (all are naturally gluten-free), more penetration in beverages with lower alcohol volume such as ciders and session IPAs, non-alcoholic spirits like Seedlip, and digestive well-enhancement alcoholic beverages such as Kombrewcha.