As the nights become brisker and Halloween spirits sneak into sight, thoughts in the food industry turn toward candy, turkeys, and keeping America’s festive holiday tables fully stocked.
This is also the time of the year when food business experts break out their crystal balls and conjure up what will be the food trends to watch in 2023.
The Whole Foods Market’s Trends Council – a collective of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members, including foragers, regional and global buyers, and culinary experts – unveiled their “The Next Big Things: Our Top 10 Food Trends for 2023” on Oct. 19, 2022.
“We anticipate seeing these trends in the food industry at large, on dinner tables, in lunch boxes, and on our store shelves,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market. “We’re thrilled to see things like baked goods with upcycled pulp from plant-based milk and ingredients like farmed kelp continue to gain popularity. From product labels that include sustainability efforts to poultry and egg suppliers that are leading the way in animal welfare, many of this year's trends predictions showcase brands on a mission to make a true impact.”
A continued emphasis on food sustainability, including sustainable seafood, along with allergy-friendly options are two of the trends we expect to be front and center in 2023.
As global supply chain issues continue to be a problem, we also expect to see a trend toward more local sourcing.
Finally, the digital transformation that shifted into overdrive since the start of the pandemic, will continue to pace food business innovation with software making distribution, traceability, inventory, and accounting more efficient and cost-effective.
Closer Look at Whole Foods Top 10 Food Trends for 2023
If the Whole Foods Trends Council is correct, get ready to learn to pronounce and spell “yaupon” which is a holly bush found in the southern areas of the U.S. Here are their Top 10 Food Trends for 2023:
- New Brew: Yaupon: North America’s only known native caffeinated plant is ready for its kale moment as the food industry seeks ways to utilize it as a herbal tea or even find its way onto cocktail menus.
- Pulp with Purpose: The trend toward nondairy milk alternatives is now leading to what to do with all the pulp that is produced when making products such as oat, soy, and almond milk. Leftover pulp could find its way into things such as alternative flours, baking mixes, and ready-to-eat sweets.
- Plant-Based Pasta Alternatives: Continuing in the allergy-friendly vein, look for plant-based pasta on menus and on supermarket shelves including those made with ingredients like green bananas, hearts of palm, and spaghetti squash.
- Date Night: Dates, a fruit that comes from the date palm tree, are naturally sweet when fresh and get even sweeter as they dry. Expect to see dates as a sweetener alternative in everything from ketchup to syrups.
- Better Chicken Project: Another sustainability issue, consumers will continue to focus on where their eggs and poultry come from, and, most importantly, under what conditions. The Global Animal Partnership's new initiative, the Better Chicken Project, is a collaboration of scientists, broiler chicken breeding companies, producers, buyers, and animal welfare advocates with a common purpose of developing a research-based framework for assessing the animal welfare of broiler chicken breeds.
- Kelp! Kelp! Kelp! Nobody wants to see kelp when they are on vacation at the seashore, but this vitamin-packed powerhouse just may be the next superfood. It is also another food that checks the sustainability box as it absorbs carbon in the atmosphere in its original form and grows quickly without the need for freshwater or added chemicals. Look for kelp noodles, chips, and other new foods soon.
- Reading the Label, Saving the Planet: A trend that has been in the making for some years – consumers care about the sustainability efforts of the brands they buy and will continue to look for guidance from food labels to help them make their purchase decisions.
- Retro Remix: Nostalgic noshing is back so expect to see more “classics” such as mac-and-cheese and pizza bites – with updated twists – in 2023.
- Fine Fido Food: Quietly, American pets have started eating meals that are fit … for humans! Sharing a dish with fido soon, may not be that bad as pet owners splurge on organic broths and gourmet treats for their loved ones.
- Avocado Oil Goes Mainstream: Avocado Oil, which is high in oleic fatty acid content and has a high smoke point, is starting to find its way into packaged products in place of canola and safflower oils.
Food Business Trends for 2023 in One Word: Sustainability
Looking at four macro food business trends for 2023, the top topic will be sustainability.
If this feels like déjà vu, it’s because Food Manufacturing tabbed a commitment to sustainability as the top food business trend of 2022.
“New science and data consistently point to an increasing urgency to address the human impact on climate change, and consumers are more aware than ever before about how their personal decisions, and the brands they support, impact the environment,” said the publication. “Manufacturers are addressing customer calls to be more eco-conscious. Trends that are gaining support are shifts away from fossil fuel-based energy sources, reduced water consumption, sustainable packaging (recyclable, biodegradable, or options that significantly reduce plastic use), and clean, eco-friendly detergent and cleaning solutions for end-products and equipment.”
2023 Trends: From Allergy-Friendly to Local Sourcing
This trend toward sustainability emphasis will continue as the calendar turns from 2022 to 2023. Here is a closer look at the four top food business trends for next year:
- Sustainability Still Top of Mind: Consumers continue to be conscious of the decisions they make when it comes to food choices. Even products such as seafood will make a pitch to be sustainable and mindful of protecting the environment. Whole Foods Markets said: “Other sustainable practices also account for some of 2023’s top trends. In particular, the company emphasized growing concerns over animal welfare in the production of chicken and eggs and the importance of manufacturers including sustainability messaging on their labels.”
- Allergy-Friendly and Dietary Need Options: The one-size-fits-all mentality is a thing of the past in the food industry with consumers demanding allergy-friendly options, as well as alternatives that fit into new and emerging dietary needs.
- Farm-to-Table Will Become Local: Continued concerns with snags in the global food supply chain will lead to more locally sourced food. Advantages of this trend include a cut in transportation costs, a boost to local economies, and a lessening of the impact on the environment.
- AI and Machine Learning Will Drive Digital Transformation: Digital transformation has accelerated since the onset of the pandemic and the food business is no exception. Advances in AI and machine learning will allow the software to help food manufacturers and distributors become more efficient and profitable.
FreshByte Software, for example, can help wholesale distributors streamline their operations and internal controls in areas such as:
o Distribution: Increase efficiencies and profits by reducing costs and waste, and by providing management with up-to-the-minute tools needed to manage their businesses.
o Traceability: State-of-the-art traceability offers Product Traceability Initiative (PTI) capabilities that help meet new mandates, along with changing consumer preferences, industry practices, and rising imports in the food supply chain.
o Inventory and Accounting: Provides accurate multi-cost inventory and customer information that can help manage rapid inventory turnover, multiple units, and multiple inventory item costs.
Contact FreshByte Software today to find out more about how our wholesale distribution software can help your business reach its goals.