10 Food Trend Predictions for 2022



Culinary Technology journal, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), has released its predictions for the trendiest food trends in 2022. Here’s what they’re predicting over the next 12 months:

Alt-Meat Consolidation

In 2022, the alt-proteins industry appears to be primed for a flurry of mergers and acquisitions. It’s a classic build-it-or-buy-it scenario, with upstarts in the plant-based and cellular markets looking to fast solidify their first-mover advantage, while traditional behemoths invest to hedge against seemingly unavoidable market upheavals.

Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, among the plant-based front-runners, have been amassing capital in preparation for big moves. Meanwhile, major meat producers such as Tyson and Cargill have invested in cellular protein startups such as New Wave Foods, Memphis Meats, Aleph Farms, and Future Meat Technologies.
—Editor-in-Chief Bill McDowell

Discriminating Consumers Will Get Choosier

Concerned about the impact of specific food groups (meat, dairy, sugar) on their health, a growing group of health-conscious consumers will embrace dietary changes, opening up more opportunities for the next generation of plant-based foods, lower-sugar offerings, and other healthy lifestyle products. The trend will be fueled by aging baby boomers who are dealing with medical issues and nutritionally aware millennials.

Executive Editor Mary Ellen Kuhn

Upcycling on the Upswing

Although the notion of upcycling food waste has been around for a long time, food manufacturers should expect it to grow more prominent in the future years. Companies are exploring new revenue streams from outputs that were previously considered trash as increased commodity costs continue to put pressure on bottom lines. Dole Sunshine Co. created Dole Specialty Ingredients in October with the goal of repurposing fruit side streams and unutilized fruit components into high-value natural goods such as enzymes, extracts, seed oils, and fibers. As a result, other businesses will follow suit.
Senior Digital Editor Kelly Hensel

More Milk Alternatives

Plant-based milk has grown in popularity as a result of its health and nutritional benefits, as well as its clean label qualities and environmentally friendly nature. In this highly competitive area, where oat-based products recently outsold soy to grab the No. 2 spot in sales, expect an avalanche of new launches. While consumers have taken to pea-based products, a slew of new formulations based on beans, chickpeas, barley, hemp, and flax will continue to redefine and extend the milk-alternative market.
Associate Editor Margaret Malochleb

Smarter Era for Food Processing

Processors are looking for ways to adapt their operations to be more digitally integrated as we continue to talk about the “New Smarter Era for Food Safety.” However, this raises concerns about potential data breaches and a lack of capacity to fulfill future workforce requirements. As digital tools promise better efficiency, safety, and sustainability in the food processing industry, there will be increasing interest in the smart use of sensors, data, and AI models with high prediction capabilities.
—Ziynet Boz, Processing Contributing Editor


All is Calm

Consumers will continue to be interested in items that promote calm, relaxation, and stress reduction, but predict a rise in interest in products that promote calm, relaxation, and stress reduction. Because the last two years have been anything from steady and calm, substances that are said to help with anxiety and stress will be in high demand. Melatonin, L-theanine, magnesium, and botanicals like lavender, ashwagandha, valerian, and chamomile are all good to look for.
—Linda Milo Ohr, Nutraceuticals Contributing Editor

Relaxed Food Safety in Cottage Foods

In 2021, 69 bills were introduced in 29 state legislative sessions with the goal of relaxing or eliminating food safety rules for the retail sale of cottage foods, with 14 of them becoming law. Producers of handmade food and beverages are presently excluded from licensure, certification, and inspection in Arkansas and Montana, for example. This type of legislation places the customer in charge of food safety and inspection. As this trend continues in 2022 and beyond, food safety professionals should be proactive in educating consumers and giving data-based information to state lawmakers to assist them in making smart decisions.
—Jane Caldwell, Safety & Quality Contributing Editor

New Insights Into Diet and Cancer

When palmitic acid, a fatty acid frequently found in palm oil, was added to the diet of mice, mouth and skin cancers were more likely to spread, according to a study published in Nature in November. Oleic acid and linoleic acid, on the other hand, had no such effect. This finding adds to our knowledge of the relationship between nutrition and cancer. In 2022, this groundbreaking study will pave the way for future research into how dietary choices affect cancer progression risk, and, more importantly, how this knowledge may be utilized to improve existing cancer treatments and develop new ones.
—Gülhan Ünlü, Safety & Quality Contributing Editor

Moving Toward More Intelligent Packaging

Consumer and retailer-friendly intelligent packaging will be developed as a result of scientific advancements and commercial necessity. Big data, the relationship between shelf life and pH, hydrogen sulfide, and carbon dioxide for certain foods, and developments in reactive inks are all part of the research. Consumers are understanding that food waste is costly and bothersome as they confront increased food prices and fewer shop excursions, while businesses are realizing that reducing in-store waste can alleviate the logistical burdens.
—Claire Koelsch Sand, Packaging Contributing Editor


A Stall on the Path to the ‘New Normal’

The long-awaited transition to a “new normal” in the food/beverage and restaurant industries has been delayed due to economic headwinds, supply chain/labor concerns, and a new set of COVID-19 variants. Inflation-adjusted restaurant revenues have fallen due to higher menu prices. The prevalence of online grocery buying is rapidly approaching the pandemic level of 20%. COVID continues to churn, and its influence on traditional consumer behavior will continue to skew. True product innovation, increased personalization, restaurant/retail culinary warfare, and a more aggressive self-care movement will be among the rising good trends in the future.
—Liz Sloan, Consumers Contributing Editor

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