Food experts make predictions at the start of every new year about trends that they expect to see for the coming year. EatThis,NotThat! has come up with six of the most compelling food trends to expect for 2024.
- Mushrooms – Both Fresh Thyme Market and Whole Foods expect to see mushrooms become more important in 2024 due to their nutritional value and suitability for various diets. Cathy Strange, the new ambassador of food culture at Whole Foods says “There’s going to be an opportunity to utilize mushrooms as food ingredients in different ways” and mushroom powders can be added to soups or broths for extra flavor.
- Functional Beverages – functional beverages, also known as adaptogen drinks, are reported to help bodies manage stress and restore balance with their blends of herbs, roots, fungi, and other plant substances. Lion's Mane and Reishi mushrooms are showing up in ready-to-drink cans and Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietitian and partner in Quest Nutrition says “Consumers are starting to become really interested in the mood-enhancing part, which is why I think adaptogens are just exploding.”
- Cacao – even though cacao has been around for more than 4,000 years, trend forecasters say it’s a must-watch ingredient that will be increasingly used to make jellies and jams rather than be discarded. Cathy Strange says “There’s the opportunity to use cacao fully, specifically the use of cacao in water-infused beverages to create unique flavors.” The Whole Foods trends report says that cacao fruit powders can be used as a sugar alternative “without compromising on sweet, ambrosial flavor.”
- Buckwheat – buckwheat is a gluten-free seed that contains protein, carbs, and fiber and is found in crackers, soba noodles, granola, and flour. Strange says that it’s currently found in high-end restaurants in Norway and France which means it could be on the rise for 2024. She goes on to say “Buckwheat presents a lot of different opportunities” and can be used to make buckwheat pancakes or buckwheat mix for a simple quick-fry fish batter.
- High-Protein Foods – Cottage cheese is a good source of protein and the #cottagecheese trend in 2023 contributed to a 16% sales increase last year. In 2024, “Protein is going to lead the story” according to Kristin Kirkpatrick. Her clients are always looking to increase the amount of protein in their diets and the Fresh Thyme report notes that plant-based protein powders like pea and beet proteins will help support fitness routines.
- Complex Heat – Whole Foods says that new varieties of peppers including Scorpion Peppers, Guajillo, and Hungarian Goathorn Peppers will have a larger presence in 2024. Peppers will be showing up whole, ground, or pickled and also out of the condiment aisle in pepper-infused drinks like ready-to-drink canned tepache.