As the world slowly starts to open up, the effect of the pandemic is going to be seen in the food and drinks industries especially in terms of consumer behaviour. The pandemic has rearranged consumers’ needs in general. People have changed how they socialise and there is a revised focus on personal health as well as a growing concern with the health of the planet. Sustainable practices and reducing food waste and food shortages are all driving forces behind the emerging food trends for 2022.
Curious about what kinds of food trends are going to be popular in 2022? We’ve taken a look at industry reports to see what the experts predict are going to be the hot new ideas in the next 12 months.
Top food trends 2022 at a glance:
- TikTok food trends
- Real omnivores
- Low/no ABV
- Barley milk
- Lab food
From the rise of the real omnivores and vegourmets to barley milk, lab food and TikTok, here are the top food trends to follow in 2022.
The Top Food Trends to Follow in 2022
1. TikTok food trends
The social media app TikTok not only sets trends in the food industry but is shaping the culinary industry with it being a major source of new and easy recipes. It is also changing our eating habits. Viral food videos are causing a demand for certain ingredients and dishes. For example, there was a surge in sales of instant coffee due to the Dalgona whipped coffee sensation. There was also a surge in sales of feta thanks to the viral feta baked pasta recipe. Tiktok will continue to be a hotbed for food trends in 2022 with many experts predicting it could overtake Instagram in popularity. TikTok videos are driving consumer behaviour and stirring up a passion and interest in food and cooking. In 2022, we’ll see even more food brands and businesses on TikTok as they realise the impact the app has on consumer behaviour. Research shows that TikTok content is more memorable and emotionally engaging than traditional advertising. TikTok is going to shape our food buying decisions even more in 2022.
2. Real omnivores
Hanni Rützler, a leading food trend expert, says one of the top food trends of 2022 is going to be real omnivores. These are people who eat all types of food and do not exclude any food groups but also eat with their own health and that of the plant in mind. For example, rather than abstaining from certain foods, like meat, they reduce their consumption and are open to new food technologies. These include lab-grown meat (see below), food made from insects and algae, and fish from cell cultures. This culinary openness includes eating offal and embracing nose-to-tail, root-to-fruit and other sustainable practices that help reduce food waste.
3. Low/no ABV
Already well established in the beer industry, low or no alcohol by volume (ABV) options are starting to appear in the spirits and wine sectors. Consumers’ desire for moderation is driving this top drinks trend for 2022. So too are government initiatives designed to encourage people to reduce their alcohol consumption. S0, the drinks industry has responded with low- or no-alcohol beverages. This trend will gather pace in 2022 with the IWSR predicting that sales of no/low alcoholic beverages will increase by 31% in volume by 2024. Further research by the IWSR shows that consumers around the world are increasingly prioritising health and wellness when selecting their favourite drinks brand. When it comes to wine, a growing number of sparkling wine brands are releasing alcohol-free options like Prosecco and Cava.
With the rise of veganism and vegetarianism, restaurants are going to have to start offering a lot more vegetable dishes. We are not talking about plant-based meat alternatives or meat substitute products. We are talking about creative dishes made with an array of vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, cereals and legumes. With restaurants like Tian in Vienna, Gauthier Soho in London and Eleven Madison Park offering entirely plant-based menus, gone are the days of just one veggie option on the menu. Restaurants are going to have to start catering to the vegourmets as innovative, meatless menus become an essential part of every good restaurant.
5. Barley milk
Oat milk set the stage for grain-based milk. This trend will continue in 2022, but the big grain this time round will be barley. Oat milk is the most sustainable milk alternative currently on the market in terms of emissions, water use and land use. This is why it has seen a surge in sales. Oat milk is now the second most popular alt milk after almond milk. This is why manufacturers are considering other grains for use. Barley in particular is a great grain as it is hardy and can thrive in harsh climates. The driver for this trend is consumer interest and concern in their health, environmental sustainability, climate change and animal welfare. In 2020, UK company Bright Barley and US company Take Two Foods both launched barley milk into the market. Expect more to follow.
Sustainability is a massive consumer trend heading into 2022, not just in the food space but in all industries. The health of the planet is a growing concern for consumers. Upcycling is going to continue to be one of the top food trends in 2022. This is the use of by-products or surplus ingredients that might otherwise have been wasted. For example, Take Two Foods turns spent barley from the manufacturing of beer into barley milk and BiaSol flour is made with spent grains from local breweries. There are also companies making t-shirts from milk proteins. So expect this upcycling food trend to penetrate other industries too.
7. Lab food
The world’s first lab-grown burger was served up in 2013 at a cost of €250,000 (USD$280,400). Now, chicken breasts can be lab-grown for less than USD$4. In 2020, Singapore became the first country to allow the sale of lab-grown or cultured meat to the public when it permitted US company Eat Just to sell its laboratory-grown chicken in a local restaurant. The lab-grown food trend will continue to grow in 2022 especially now that it is becoming scalable and more affordable. However, it won’t be limited to meat. We are already seeing an emergence of different kinds of lab-made food. For instance, dairy products, gelatin, breast milk, honey, coffee and many more. Consumers are driving the trend for lab-based food due to their concern about climate change, animal welfare and their own health. Environmental sustainability and food security are also driving this trend. With big-name investors like Bill Gates and Richard Branson, expect to see the term ‘lab-to-fork’ a lot more in the next 12 months.