With each new year comes new food trends. Just like home decor styles or fashion, trends in the food world vary from year to year. Just this year we saw butter boards take over our TikTok feeds, we baked cloud bread, turned pasta into chips and even started covering our tables with nachos.
Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, there was a noticeable uptick in healthier eating. And no, we aren’t talking about diets or counting calories but people started becoming more interested in knowing what was in their food as well as where it came from and the environmental impacts associated with consuming various foods. Low-ABV sippers were also beginning to make an appearance, as everyone still wanted to have a good time, just not get as buzzed as they used to.
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As the pandemic continued, comfort food came back into the spotlight. Sourdough bread, cocktails at home and charcuterie cups were all the rage. So what will 2023 bring? We asked looked to the experts to find out.
According to Whole Foods, 2023 is going to be full of additional non-dairy milk alternatives, plant-based pasta, new, healthier ways to eat nostalgic favorites, and environmental call-outs that are going to make eating with a conscience possible.
“Consumers are increasingly aware of what they are choosing to put in their bodies—where it is from, how it is made, who are the people behind the product. At the same time, they are more aware of environmental issues and are choosing products with attributes that align with their values,” says Denise Purcell, senior director at the Specialty Food Association.
As per Whole Foods, customers are taking animal welfare seriously, especially in poultry. Consumers are more concerned about how chickens are living and how they are being treated, whether they are being raised for the dinner table or for breakfast. Through initiatives like the Better Chicken Project, being able to feel responsible for purchasing sustainable and humanely-raised chicken products is going to be easier than ever.
Another big change? There will be a demand for sustainable seafood both from chefs and on the at-home table. “The practice of farming seafood—also known as aquaculture—continues to grow, both in its quality and benefits. I prefer cooking with seafood that’s certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) because it offers greater transparency and verification,” says Kiki Aranita, a James Beard nominated food writer and chef.
In 2023, plan to see people seeking out more sustainable and ethically-sourced protein sources rather than picking up meat at the nearest chain grocery store.
Alternative oils have been around for a minute, but the one that’s catching on now? Avocado oil. Jessica Randhawa, the head chef, recipe creator, photographer, and writer behind The Forked Spoon, explains that while high-quality oils, in general, will still be a top trend, avocado oil’s versatility will make it sought after. “Avocado oil is a leading example of a high-quality trending oil that is great to use in place of olive oil because of its neutral flavor and is also trending in the skin care arena,” she told SheKnows.
There is also an array of goods made with avocado oil that allow it to be seamlessly integrated into a diet. Mayonnaise, salad dressing and even chips made with the oil are readily available.
Avocado Oil $15.18
Decreased Environmental Footprint
While it may be weird to call this one a food trend, it’s important to focus on how consumers will be eating in addition to what they will be eating. And, one of these top trends is going to take stock of how we are treating our planet. With sustainability and climate change a continued top-of-mind, consumers will want to make choices that make them feel as if they are doing a small part to help the planet become a better place. This doesn’t just pertain to food, either. Consumers will be looking to those companies that are also shifting packaging materials as well as those eliminating excess waste (for example: Digital recipe cards in lieu of paper ones) to spend their dollars on.
“This new reality is also making us more conscious than ever about the impact of our consumption choices. In 2023, we expect to see a step-change in demand for brands and products that are produced in sustainable ways, or that significantly reduce their carbon footprints by eliminating or minimizing their use of packaging,” says Diego Norris, Chief Marketing Officer at gimme Seaweed.
Plant-based is no longer an exception—it’s a rule. With so many plant-based options out there that have made Meatless Monday something to look forward to, there has now been a shift to vegetables from the sea. Yes, this includes seaweed, especially kelp. Kelp farming has been a mainstay in other parts of the world for years, but has only recently grabbed the spotlight here in the U.S. Kelp-based dishes are starting to pop up all over restaurant menus on the East Coast. For restaurants like The Shipwright’s Daughter and The Essex, kelp is becoming increasingly popular amongst customers who also like the plant-based seafood for its health benefits, meaty texture and low-environmental impact.
“Sea veggies, such as seaweed, are nothing short of miraculous. Gram for gram, they are among the most nutrient-dense vegetables on Earth. Better yet, they require no fresh water, land, or chemicals to grow, making them the ultimate regenerative crop,” notes Norris.
A quick-growing plant that absorbs carbon, this sustainable seaweed is now heading to the cabinets and tables of foodies across the nation. From chips to noodles—even hot sauce—kelp is poised to be the sea vegetable of the year.
Kelp Noodles $19
While the pre-pandemic “healthy” trends may have seen a lower consumption of indulgent sweet treats, you can expect a more balanced comeback in 2023.
“[People are] making choices with health and sustainability in mind, while still leaving room to indulge,” says Purcell. “When they treat themselves, they want it to count by choosing something high quality, unique, and delicious.”
Expect people to apply the same attention to sustainability and ethically sourced materials when choosing sweet treats this year. Fair Trade-certified chocolates are a great way to start. We expect to see plant-based alternatives like gelatin-free candies also become more popular this year.
Smart Sweets Variety Pack $21
Whether you plan to partake in 2023 biggest food trends or stick to your tried-and-true recipes, we wish you a year full of joyous eating!
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