Austin, TX — Products infused with subtle, sweet floral flavors, and puffed and popped snacks are among Whole Foods Market L.P.’s trends for 2018.
Following trends were pinpointed by the specialty retailer based on extensive experience in product sourcing as well as studying consumer preferences.
Floral Flavors: While edible petals have held a niche position for years, Whole Food anticipates wider acceptance for botanical flavors. Featuring subtle sweetness and fresh aromatics, the retailer highlights flowers such as lavender, rose, pink hibiscus and elderflower as all having high potential in 2018.
Powder Proliferation: Easy to incorporate into products, Whole Foods expects to see increasing consumer interest around powders. In addition to long-standing protein powders, expect to see more demand for matcha, maca root, ground turmeric and cacao.
Snacks Get Puffed, Popped: Consumer demand for crunchy snacks will be answered in new ways, as technology offers extrusion methods for making puffed and popped snacks out of novel ingredients, such as pastas, cassava and seaweed.
More Middle Eastern Influence: Whole Foods expects shoppers to continue to be drawn to global cuisines, with Middle Eastern flavors anticipated to go mainstream. Hummus, pita and falafel will be joined by deeper dives into regional-specific flavors from areas such as Israeli, Morocco, Syria and Lebanon.
Functional Mushrooms: Typically used in dietary supplements, Whole Foods anticipates consumers will embrace mushroom varietals such as reishi, chaga and lion’s mane across product categories. The retailer notes that in addition to use in broths, mushrooms pair well with cocoa, chocolate and coffee flavors.
Transparency 2.0: Consumers are expecting more transparency from the brands they choose in 2018, such as more information on GMOs, responsible production and animal welfare standards.
High-Tech Produce: Plant-diets are continuing to gain traction and technology is beginning to play a role as advanced recipes are developed and ingredients are manipulated to perform in novel ways, such as “bleeding” veggie burgers and sushi-grade “not-tuna” made from tomatoes.
Other wider food trends Whole Foods is anticipated include new approaches to traditional tacos, more emphasis on “root-to-stem” cooking to reduce food waste and continued interested in flavored sparkling waters.