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The food landscape is under constant evolution. If you think back to a decade ago, the types of foods you were purchasing, what it was like to eat in restaurants, and the messages you were hearing about nutrition were all completely different than today.
Food trends reflect what’s going on in our society, our households, and our minds. They have an underlying cultural relevance that helps explain the “why” behind why certain foods are in the spotlight while others are shunned to the holding cell. What’s on our store shelves and our plates tell a story of our current mood and priorities as a nation.
What 2024 food trends do we have to look forward to? While some of the trends from this year will continue forward, signs are also pointing to an emphasis on new things.
Below is a compilation of the top 20 food trends for 2024 based on our observations in the health and nutrition industry.
1. Whole Food Plant-Based
First, it was strictly vegan and vegetarian, then it was plant-based, and now, well… it looks like we might want to prioritize the whole plants in our plant-based foods. From cardboard-flavored black bean burgers in the ’90s to the Impossible Burger that “bleeds” like real meat, the plant-based market has been transformational.
In the coming year, there will be a pivot toward plants in their full glory. For instance, some veggie burger companies are crafting their recipes to put things like broccoli and beans in their patties (e.g., Dr. Praeger’s and Actual Veggies brands).
Some plant milk brands are reducing their ingredient lists to focus on the ones that matter to health-conscious consumers.
Some of the top food trends for 2024 will be fully plant-based… as in, the actual plant.
2. Plant-Based Meat Alternatives
Plant-based meats have surged in popularity due to increasing health consciousness, environmental concerns, and animal welfare considerations.
This part of the food industry is expected to continue its growth trajectory, fueled by technological advancements in food science that enhance flavor and texture, making these products more appealing to a broader audience.
Additionally, we will likely see an expansion in the variety of plant-based meat options, catering to various dietary preferences and cultural cuisines.
As sustainability becomes a more pressing global issue (AKA as more people start to understand and care about it), plant-based meats will play a crucial role in offering more eco-friendly food options.
3. Cellular Agriculture
Collaboration between food tech companies and traditional meat producers is also a trend, blending expertise to improve product quality and distribution.
Cellular agriculture is here to make meat, eggs, and dairy products — but without any animals. It’s done in a sterile lab environment using methods like cell multiplication and fermentation. The result? The products you’ve been used to this whole time, just without the animals and their related ethical and environmental concerns.
With the US regulatory approval process in full swing for cultivated chicken made by Good Meat and UPSIDE Foods, we should begin hearing more about these products soon. At the very least, consumers will be made more aware of what cellular agriculture brings to the table.
4. Buckwheat and Ancient Grains
The Western world is familiar with grains like brown rice, macaroni, and spaghetti noodles. But we’re starting to see ancient grains gain more traction and show up in places beyond the traditional pasta dish. This is likely because not only are they nutritional powerhouses but they may also have environmental benefits. For instance, buckwheat is used as a cover crop to help support soil health.
Look for more of a spotlight on some of the less traditional whole grains like buckwheat, quinoa, farro, teff, millet, amaranth, and barley. And not just on your dinner plate – but in snack foods like crackers, bars, mixes, and cereals.
Some of our favorite ancient grain innovators:
5. Food as Medicine + Functional Foods
We’ve already seen a shift toward a more functional focus. Consumers aren’t just asking, “What tastes good to me?” but also, “How does this food serve my body?” more often. How we can utilize food to improve our quality of life, disease risk, longevity, state of mind, and motility matters.
Functional foods generally encompass vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, seafood, fermented foods, herbs and spices, and beverages. We’ve seen more of these ingredients being added to products targeting athletes, but now also for the general consumer – and even our kids.
We predict that the food landscape will continue to change to reflect the desire for flavor + functionality together.
6. Adaptogenic Foods
Adaptogens are plants and mushrooms that help your body adapt to certain stressors. They promote your overall well-being by increasing your resilience to things like anxiety, fatigue, and negative stress.
Many herbs and mushrooms act as adaptogens. Some of these that you might see pop up in food, beverages, and dietary supplements are:
If our food trends tell our story, then that means adaptogens will continue to be a highlight in our highly stress culture for a while. We expect to see them being added to more beverages, snack foods, and supplements.
For example, you may be familiar with Four Sigmatic Coffee, which incorporates Ashwagandha and Eleuthero adaptogens in its formulation.
7. Alcohol-Free Creations
The rise of alcohol-free beverages reflects a growing health and wellness trend, where consumers are increasingly mindful of their alcohol intake. This shift is driven by a variety of factors, including health consciousness, lifestyle choices, and social trends favoring moderation or abstaining from alcohol altogether. Young people under 35 are driving this trend with a significant drop in younger adults saying they do not drink at all.
Sober is sexy and we predict it will be among the top food trends for 2024.
Alcohol-free options are becoming more diverse with products like non-alcoholic spirits, zero-proof canned cocktails, beers, and wines gaining popularity. Many of these brands include herbs and botanicals helping you feel relaxed or energized, without the alcohol or hangover.
Some examples include:
- Elements of Balance
- Kin Euphorics
- Free AF
- Surely Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine
- Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic Spirits
This sector is not just appealing to teetotalers but also to those who occasionally prefer an alcohol-free alternative or are simply trying to drink less. As social norms evolve, alcohol-free beverages are becoming a staple in social settings, reflecting a cultural shift towards healthier and more inclusive drinking options.
8. Cultural Flavor Fusions
Cultural flavor fusions are an innovative trend in the culinary world, mirroring an increasingly globalized society. This trend involves blending the culinary traditions and ingredients of different cultures to create novel and exciting dishes. For example, Korean-Mexican tacos or Italian-Indian fusion pasta.
Unique spice and seasoning blends are also popping up with inspiration from Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Expect even more innovative products in the spice and snack categories as food trends for 2024.
As consumers become more adventurous in their eating habits and seek out new flavors, we can expect this trend to continue growing, offering a limitless palette of cross-cultural culinary experiences.
9. Unique Flavor Combinations
There will always be a place for comfort foods, but consumers are taking more and more risks with what they eat. From ranch-flavored ice cream to Pepsi and milk “Pilk” (not sure about either of those yet) among predicted food trends for 2024, consumers won’t be afraid to try new things in search of the next surprising flavor.
These unconventional pairings are driven by a desire for novelty and sensory exploration. Such combinations often blend sweet, savory, and sometimes spicy elements, offering an unexpected flavor result. This trend reflects a broader movement towards experimental eating, where many are drawn to the thrill of discovering new and unusual tastes.
As adventurous chefs and food enthusiasts continue to push the limits of flavor pairings, we can expect to see more of these creative and unusual combinations.
10. Women’s Health + Men’s Health
The health product industry has seen a significant trend towards gender-specific products, reflecting a growing understanding of the different health needs and preferences of men and women.
This trend is driven by a combination of the desire for personalization when it comes to health products, as well as physiological and hormonal differences between genders. These differences influence nutritional requirements, health concerns, and responses to various supplements and products.
For women, products often focus on issues such as bone density, hormonal balance, and beauty-related aspects like hair, skin, and nails. Men’s products, on the other hand, tend to target muscle building, energy levels, and prostate health. This gender-specific approach allows for more tailored and potentially effective solutions for improving your health and wellness with products that address your individual concerns.
The trend of vitamins and minerals being available in gummy form represents a significant shift in the dietary supplement market, appealing to both adults and children. This trend capitalizes on the convenience and palatability of gummies, making it easier and more enjoyable for people to incorporate essential nutrients into their daily routines.
The gummy has expanded beyond traditional multivitamins to include a variety of specific nutrients, such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics. While the appeal of gummy vitamins is largely due to their taste and ease of consumption, it also addresses the challenge faced by individuals who have difficulty swallowing pills.
- Nordic Naturals Immune Gummies
- OLLY Probiotic and Prebiotic Gummies
- Garden of Life myKind Organic Women’s 40+ Multivitamins
- MaryRuth’s SuperGreens Gummies
- CALM Magnesium Gummies
However, this food trend of 2024, while convenient, is a bit concerning regarding how tasty the gummies are, encouraging overconsumption. Additionally, it’s important to consider the added sugar content in some brands. Despite these concerns, the popularity of gummy vitamins continues to grow, driven by consumer demand for tastier and easy-to-consume products.
12. Hyper-Local Sourcing
The trend of hyper-local sourcing of food is a response to increasing consumer awareness about the environmental impact and the quality of food. This movement involves sourcing ingredients from extremely local origins, often within a few miles of where they are grown or sold.
An example of hyper-local sourcing is restaurants cultivating gardens, urban farming initiatives, and direct collaborations between chefs and nearby farmers or producers. This approach not only reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation but also ensures the freshness and quality of ingredients.
Hyper-local sourcing is often linked with the farm-to-table movement but takes it a step further by emphasizing the proximity between the source of the food and the consumer.
While this trend is more feasible in regions with favorable climates and a variety of agriculture, it’s also a shift towards more environmentally conscious and community-oriented practices.
13. Tech in the Kitchen
Technological advancements have significantly transformed not only our daily lives but also how we interact with our food and restaurants (“Alexa, what should I eat for dinner?”). For example, it is now common to see QR code menus in restaurants instead of physical menus, allowing customers to access the menu digitally on their smartphones.
This not only streamlines the ordering process but also minimizes physical contact for those who prefer to reduce their contact with high-touch surfaces. Personally, I hate the QR code menus and always ask for a physical menu.
Additionally, advanced pay structures such as Apple Pay or other tablet-based ways of paying, enable touchless transactions. This type of tech extends beyond the restaurant’s walls, with touchless and faceless ordering and delivery options becoming increasingly common. An introvert’s dream and a probable expander in food trends fro 2024.
Services like online ordering platforms and delivery apps have also capitalized on AI and machine learning to offer personalized recommendations and delivery logistics. Furthermore, the rise of smart kitchen appliances and AI-powered cooking assistants in home kitchens is a hint of where these tech-enabled culinary experiences are headed. Expect to continue to see a convergence of convenience and technology to redefine our relationship with food.
14. Water Hacking
The “WaterTok” or water hacking trend on TikTok has exploded in 2023. This trend revolves around the concept of flavored water, which is actually nothing new. But it has gained fresh momentum among TikTok users, so if Gen Z is doing it, you know it’s going to be a widespread trend.
The trend includes creating various flavored water recipes, often using sugar-free syrups or other sugar-free powders and additives. It’s so popular that searches for WaterTok have reached over 108.3 million views.
The trend is part of a larger movement on TikTok in 2023, characterized by life hacks and creative ideas, where the community engages with content that offers new perspectives. Despite its simplicity, WaterTok has become one of the most talked-about and, in some ways, controversial food trends on the platform.
15. Coffee Alternatives
Similar to the alcohol-free trend, the search for coffee alternatives has gained momentum with those who are trying to cut back on caffeine or who feel like coffee isn’t ideal for them. Some of the products in this trend include:
Mushroom Coffee: A blend of coffee and/or mushrooms with various functional benefits. Mushroom coffee is touted for benefits like clean energy, improved immune health, stress reduction (mushrooms are adaptogens), and decreased inflammation. (e.g, Four Sigmatic, Ten Mushrooms, Everyday Dose)
Brewed Cacao: This is a great option for those who enjoy mocha-flavored coffee. It uses theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant in cacao, for an energy boost and contains immune system-boosting antioxidants, magnesium, and phenylethylamine. (e.g., CRIO BRU)
Matcha: This potent and nutrient-dense version of traditional green tea contains about 70 milligrams of caffeine per cup and is rich in antioxidants. It also contains L-theanine, which helps slow caffeine absorption, reducing the likelihood of caffeine crashes. (e.g., Chamberlain Coffee, Encha Pure Organic Matcha, Matcha Love Sweetened)
Chicory Coffee: This chicory-based coffee alternative mimics the flavor of regular coffee without caffeine and is rich in prebiotics and soluble fiber inulin, which nourishes the gut’s microflora and helps regulate blood sugar levels. (e.g., Worldwide Chicory, nuKAF)
These alternatives are part of a growing trend towards healthier, more sustainable, and varied beverage choices that could replace your morning cup of Joe or simply be used as a caffeine-free enjoyable beverage.
16. Prebiotics and Probiotics
Gut health will easily continue to be among food trends for 2024. Probiotics are microbes (bacteria and yeast) that have beneficial health properties. Prebiotics are food the microbes love to eat. The trend of incorporating prebiotics and probiotics both in supplements and food has gained significant traction over the last few years, due to the growing interest in gut health and the microbiome.
The probiotic market is experiencing significant growth, with its value estimated at USD 73.38 billion in 2023 and expected to reach USD 105.49 billion by 2028. This growth is driven by increased consumer awareness of the health benefits associated with probiotics, particularly for gut health, energy, and maintaining overall health.
In 2023, the prebiotics market continues to grow quickly as well, driven by increasing consumer awareness of the benefits of prebiotics and gut microbiome health. The market for prebiotic functional ingredients is expected to grow by 13.25% between now and 2030, reaching a value of more than $20 billion.
Furthermore, the trend towards personalized nutrition is extending to the pre-and probiotic market, with precision products targeting specific types of bacteria or health conditions gaining traction.
In 2024, expect to see an increased number of foods, drinks, and supplements that contain pre and probiotics as consumers continue to be interested in more holistic approaches to health. For instance, brands like wildwonder, humm probiotic kombucha, and GoodBelly are already doing this.
17. Ancient and Heirloom Varieties
The trend of seeking out ancient or heirloom varieties of food is part of a growing interest in culinary heritage and sustainable agriculture. Ancient and heirloom varieties are traditional fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that have been passed down through generations without any significant modifications by modern agricultural methods.
Typically, these varieties are valued for their unique flavors, nutritional profiles, and adaptability to local environments. This trend reflects a movement towards food biodiversity, as these older varieties often have genetic traits lost in commercially bred plants. This makes them more resilient to climate change and pests.
Additionally, consumers are increasingly drawn to the stories and histories behind these foods, which connect them to cultural and culinary traditions. This resurgence also supports small-scale farmers and contributes to preserving agricultural diversity, which is vital for food security and ecosystem health.
18. Better For You Candy
The “better-for-you” candy trend reflects a growing desire for indulgences that align with health-conscious lifestyles. These candies are often formulated with alternative sweeteners, natural ingredients, and additional health benefits like added vitamins, protein, or fiber.
This trend is driven by increased awareness of the negative impacts of excessive sugar and artificial additives, leading manufacturers to innovate with ingredients like stevia, monk fruit, and allulose for sweetness. Brands may also include dark chocolate, nuts, and fruits for added nutritional value.
The trend is about finding a place where enjoyment and health considerations coexist. This movement is particularly appealing to those who seek to balance a healthy lifestyle without sacrificing the pleasure of sweets. It can also cater to dietary needs like veganism, gluten-free, and keto.
19. Culinary Cannabis
As legal restrictions surrounding cannabis continue to evolve, chefs and food enthusiasts are exploring the vast potential of incorporating it into culinary creations. Beyond traditional edibles, such as brownies and gummies, chefs are experimenting with infusing cannabis into a diverse range of dishes, from savory entrees to gourmet desserts.
This trend is driven not only by the desire for unique flavor profiles but also by the growing recognition of the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids. As consumers become more open to alternative ingredients, culinary cannabis is expected to provide a new dimension to dining experiences, offering a sophisticated and elevated way to enjoy the diverse flavors and effects of this once-stigmatized plant.
20. Food Influencers and Viral Food Trends
The rise of food influencers and social media food trends has dramatically transformed the culinary and health landscape, shaping how people discover, consume, and think about food and nutrition. While it can be difficult to fight against some of the trends, as registered dietitians who believe in science-based nutrition, at the same time social media food trends are incredibly interesting.
The value of the creator economy has soared to over $100 billion in 2022. This surge is largely attributed to creators exploring innovative ways to engage with their audiences online, increasingly venturing into food and beverage.
The visually appealing content of influencers, often featuring easy-to-follow recipes, exotic food explorations, or innovative cooking hacks, can quickly become viral. The phenomenon of “foodstagramming” – posting aesthetically pleasing food pictures online – has also driven restaurants to create more photogenic dishes.
A key factor driving this phenomenon is the ready-made audiences that creators have cultivated, which they can directly market to. A significant example is MrBeast, a favorite of my family, who has expanded his reach from burger ventures to a broader range of packaged goods. His brand’s presence has even reached major retailers like Walmart.
The CPG sector is particularly poised for transformation due to pressure from creators, as traditional big brands face criticism for their slow pace of innovation, inability to meet evolving consumer demands, and lack of cultural relevance.
And we think this innovation is great! Food and nutrition influencers are the reason for the variety of new dishes, cooking methods, and dietary lifestyles, and part of why we decided to tackle this topic on this website!
These influencers not only inspire fresh ideas for all of us but also have had a significant impact on consumer behavior and industry trends. We expect that in 2024, viral food trends fueled by social media food trends will continue to play a major role in what we eat, watch, and enjoy.
Whatever’s in store for 2024, we’re excited to see what takes off — and what takes a sharp left — in the food industry. What are you hoping to see more of in the new year? Tell us your predictions of food trends for 2024 in the comments.