Plant-based milks and meats, sustainable foods, health products…how will we be eating in 2022? It’s not just about the food itself anymore.
Rather, food trends cover everything from eating right to maintain mental health and immunity, and minimising food wastage, to cooking robots and new dairy options.
Here’s what 2022 could look like:
1. Increase in reducetarianism
Reducetarianism describes people who aren’t fully vegetarian or vegan but would like to consume less meat, dairy and eggs mainly for environmental reasons. How is that different from flexitarianism? Flexitarians primarily eat plant-based diets, with the occasional inclusion of meat, eggs, and dairy, while reducetarians are focused on gradually decreasing the amount of animal products they consume, with some opting to eliminate them completely.
2. Waste-free and upcycled foods
Did you know that one third of all food produced goes straight to waste, and that the carbon footprint of food waste is now greater than that of the airline industry? While more and more companies and chefs are promoting the use of ‘ugly’ produce, a new and growing category of food products made from would-be wasted ingredients or upcycled plant parts might be on the charts for 2022. For instance, fruit peels and rinds are already being dehydrated to be used as snacks and cocktail garnishes; while crackers are being made from upcycled carrot peels and pulp collected from cold-pressed juices.
3. Increase in demand for food transparency and sustainability
The pandemic may have left us grounded, but ironically, the disruption in supply chains has led us wanting to know more where our food is coming from, how it’s made, and whether it’s organic or additive-free. From cutting back on food waste to reducing packaging, we will be looking for ways to shop, cook and eat with sustainability in mind.
4. Immunity-boosting foods are the rage
Boosting holistic immune health is going to be even bigger in 2022 than it has been these past two years. In 2022 and beyond, there’s an opportunity for brands to not only provide healthier options but create mood-food formulations and develop and integrate packaging that supports mindful eating for physical, mental and social well being. Expect more foods and beverages fortified with probiotics and prebiotics for gut health, vitamins C & D, zinc, and adaptogens (herbs and other plant-based ingredients believed to help the body adapt to stress).
5. Keep it spicy
Turmeric already reigns supreme as a superfood, but 2022 will be the year for more spices and peppers to become more popular. From traditional Indian spices like garam masala and cardamom, to South East Asian flavours like Korean gochujang and Thai sriracha, and Middle Eastern spices and harissa, spices are going to be the way to add flavour without reaching for salt, rev up the metabolism and bring a little heat to your food.
6. Rise of cooking robots
Constant manpower shortages and needing to maintain social distance has led to a surge of robots and automation in the dining industry. Integrated F & B workspaces with cooking machines and “human employees” are already in the works as we are seeing with coffee baristas, sushi order takers and more. Also expected to increase next year are the number of food ATMs in supermarkets, office buildings, hospitals, schools serving pizza, salads, coffee, juices, pasta, and more.
7. Food delivery isn’t going anywhere
One thing we have definitely learned from the past two years is that we love having food delivered to us. Restaurant openings might be on the rise, but seamlessly getting food and snacks delivered right to our doorstep rather than risk going out has become much too convenient. This has also led to a rise in popularity of ghost kitchens and virtual brands (without having an actual storefront for diners), where shoppers can conveniently order a consolidated package from different food offerings under one app.
8. Spud milk
Oat and almond milks were huge winners in 2021, but what if we told you a new category of dairy-free milks from humble grains and potatoes are on their way to disrupt the vegan milk alternatives sector? Making milk using upcycled barley from the beer-making process is already a reality; plant-based milk made from boiled potatoes is being hailed as super sustainable with a 75% lower climate footprint compared to dairy milk as potatoes are a very efficient crop to grow; while other plant-based milks from hemp, flax, tiger nuts and quinoa, are also being considered for production.
9. Food will be more personal and unapologetic
Whatever goes on with the world, comfort food always makes everything better, so expect more nostalgia and unapologetic food in 2022. Just look at how many nostalgic cookbooks were released in 2021 and how so many chefs reconnected with their culture and history through a blending of their past and present foods, tied together with their personal stories. Being stuck at home during the pandemic has given us the time and desire to experiment in the kitchen, like dusting off those old family recipes that make us feel warm and fuzzy. Food is a great way to honour and feel connected with family, even when we’re not physically together, and is always very personal to the person cooking it.
10. More chef collabs for borderless cuisine
The pandemic might have stopped travel, but ironically, it also blurred the lines of food authenticity. While some foods are indigenous to specific regions of the world, food transcends borders and cultures. Having been stuck at home and without the ability to travel and explore has given rise to an exciting wave of new multi-ethnic, “borderless” cuisines, as we experimented with different cuisines, ingredients and flavours. Erasing food borders has made us better appreciate cultural mashups through food and chef collaborations, leading to new flavour combinations. Korean tacos or sushi burritos anyone?