Whole Foods Names Trends for 2019

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Dec 14, 2018

Plant-based meat analogues, hemp as an ingredient and “marine-based munchies” are among the Top 10 trends Whole Foods Market has identified for 2019.

The Amazon-owned grocery chain has issued its annual trends report, based on predictions from a team of executives in various product and operational specialties. They are:

Pacific Rim flavors. Ingredients like ongganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste, and flavors like guava, dragon fruit and passionfruit, will be available either as seasonings or in products.

Shelf-stable probiotics. The Whole Foods team had predicted that probiotics, a type of microorganism that helps break down food in the digestive tract, would be a trend in 2017, appearing in fermented foods like kimchi. The prediction is that this trend will be enhanced in 2019 by shelf-stable foods with probiotic additives, like oatmeal, granola and energy bars.

Phat fats. Coconut batter and grass-fed ghee are among fats that are seen as benign or even healthy. Higher-protein, lower-carb formulations like keto cups and chicken chips will play into this trend.

Next level hemp. Despite being technically illegal under federal law, foods and beverages with cannabinol (CBD) will continue to proliferate. Other options include hemp plant stem cells and endocannabinoids, made from plants other than cannabis.

Faux meat snacks. Plant-based meat analogues will increasingly move into snacks to replicate items like pork rinds. Options include chips made from mushrooms and egg whites.

Eco-conscious packaging. Efforts to reduce and reuse will intensify, with innovations like “sipper” beverage lids that eliminate the need for straws and waxed canvas or silicone alternatives to plastic sandwich bags.

Trailblazing frozen treats. Trends here include innovative flavors like avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water; plant-based frozen desserts like CocoWhip Soft Serve; and ethnic variations like Taiwanese snow ice, Mexican nieves de garrafa, and Turkish ice cream with mastic.

Marine munchies. These will move beyond seaweed snacks to items like algae, kelp, water lily seeds and salmon skins.

Snack time, upgraded. As snacks become almost alternative meals, they will go upscale, becoming more akin to charcuterie or cheese boards. Portable snack packages will feature items like prosciutto. Classic snacks like cheese or peanut butter cracker sandwiches will come with premium ingredients.

Purchases that empower. Consumers will become more conscious of the social and charitable aspects of the companies they buy food from, in terms of both their hiring and business practices, and what they give back to the community. Examples include supporting farming cooperatives and other enterprises run by women, offering microcredit loans for the poor, and using non-exclusionary hiring practices.

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