EatingWell's Top 10 Food & Nutrition Trends for 2022
When it comes to predicting the next big thing in food and nutrition, none of us has a crystal ball. After two years in a pandemic, with supply chain shortages and new variants impacting our everyday choices and lifestyle, there's a lot of uncertainty about what will happen next. Despite all that, there's still a lot of exciting stuff happening in the world of food and nutrition. Here at EatingWell, we have an inside scoop when it comes to food trends and innovations hitting the market. We see, taste and test hundreds of new products each year. We can also see what people are clicking on the most—and we can use that data to connect the dots to project what's trending up (or down).
With that in mind, we identified trends—some new and some continuing to take off—that we think will be big in food, nutrition and wellness in the coming year. Here's what we expect to see more of.
1. Beauty from the Inside Out
It's a fact: the stresses we have collectively endured during the coronavirus pandemic have taken a toll, and many people are looking for ways to take better care of their bodies and slow down the aging process. This year on EatingWell.com, views on healthy aging articles and videos grew a whopping 1,498% over last year, according to Esmee Williams, vice president of consumer and brand strategy at Dotdash Meredith (EatingWell is part of Dotdash Meredith).
Interest in skin health also grew this year, as people were looking for expert advice on everything from the best collagen powders to buy to derm-approved sunscreens. Views on how to prevent and reverse graying hair were also up. (On the flip side, celebs like Sarah Jessica Parker and supermodel Paulina Porizkova are publicly embracing the natural aging process, and we are ALL for it.) In the coming months, we expect keratin (a protein that helps support healthy hair, nails and skin) to increase in popularity as people continue to show interest in the connection between diet and hair and skin health.
"Some of the best nutrients for hair, skin and nail health include vitamins D and C and healthy omega-3 fats," says EatingWell's deputy digital editor and registered dietitian, Victoria Seaver, M.S., RD. "You can get these nutrients from healthy whole foods, like salmon, nuts, dairy (or dairy alternatives) and fruits, like strawberries and oranges, so you don't have to spend lots of money on expensive supplements."
2. Edibles & Cannabis
While in the U.S., marijuana use is still illegal under federal law, many states have moved to legalize and decriminalize it in recent years—both for medical and recreational use. At least nine additional states are likely to see marijuana reform initiatives on the ballot in 2022. On EatingWell.com, views on edibles-related articles increased 179% this year (while hemp- and CBD-related articles saw some declines), according to Williams. As recreational cannabis use becomes legal in more and more states, people will be looking for information on everything from what happens to your body when you eat edibles to how to cook with cannabis.
3. Superfood Lattes
From functional coffee mixes to adaptogen add-ins, people are looking for more than a caffeine buzz in their morning cup of joe. On EatingWell.com we saw interest in matcha grow 5% this year. Views on "turmeric latte" grew 39%. Superfood latte mixes exploded on the market, with brands like Golde, Blume and celeb-loved Clevr touting functional ingredients with health benefits. Think turmeric, matcha, reishi and cacao. On Google trends, "Clevr blends" was a breakout term this year and search queries for "Golde matcha" saw a 40% increase in the last year. Are they worth the hype? "A healthy diet that includes fruits, veggies, healthy fats, lean protein sources and high-fiber whole grains is really all you need to get your fill of important nutrients," says Seaver. "So don't feel like you have to hop on the functional beverage train to be healthy, especially since some of these products can be pricy."
4. Waste-Free Cooking
From cutting back on food waste to reducing packaging, people will be looking for ways to cook, shop and eat with sustainability in mind. On EatingWell.com, views on articles related to food waste are up 1,242%, according to Williams. EatingWell editor-in-chief Jessie Price says, "Consumers are going to focus more and more on reducing packaging waste in the kitchen. Finding ways to use less plastic will be especially important." Retailers like Trader Joe's have committed to reducing and removing unnecessary plastic packaging on their products (earlier this year, they even dedicated air time on their podcast to talk about a new biodegradable wrapper for English cucumbers). Expect more grocers and food manufacturers to change their packaging to minimize waste.
5. Brain Food
Brain health and mental health was top of, well, mind this year and we don't see that slowing down anytime soon. Price says, "People will be more focused on the connection between mental health and diet. I see this as tied into the increased awareness around mental health and self care that happened in conjunction with the pandemic." Interest in longevity and mental acuity will factor into this trend as well. Views on articles and meal plans related to the Mind Diet are up 835%, according to Williams. People are looking for the best foods to eat for brain health, what to eat to ward off dementia and Alzheimer's and ways to keep your brain sharp as you age.
6. Kelp & Seaweed
While kelp and seaweed have long been common ingredients in many cultures, you can expect kelp and other sea plants to make their way into all sorts of foods, according to Price. "Farming kelp pulls carbon out of the atmosphere and it's a healthy plant-based food," she says. Views on seaweed-related articles and recipes are up 54% this year, according to Williams. Try these recipes: Kimchi Jjigae, Smoked Salmon Brown Rice Onigiri and Lemony Samphire.
7. Sustainable Grains
"Perennial (as opposed to annual) grains like kernza (a new type of wheat) will explode," Price says, and that is a good thing when it comes to fighting climate change. Why? Perennial grains develop deeper root systems than annuals, and these deep roots help prevent soil erosion and trap harmful greenhouse gases underground, keeping them out of the atmosphere. Interest around sustainability is up 11% this year on EatingWell.com. As consumers demand more accountability from food producers and manufacturers, we can expect to see more brands, such as Patagonia Provisions, spearheading sustainable ingredients like kernza and supporting regenerative agriculture.
8. Everyday Seafood
People will turn to seafood, both fresh and frozen, for everyday meals. On EatingWell.com this year, views on fish- and seafood-related articles and recipes are up 93% and 104% respectively, compared to last year. According to Williams, with more direct-to-consumer options, salmon is getting more popular, and with other meats getting more expensive, fish and seafood feel like less of an indulgence than they used to.
9. Plant-Based Diet
Plant-based eating continues to trend upward as people look to cut back on meat and eat more vegetables. Interest in plant-based-eating-focused articles and meal plans is up 31% this year, according to Williams. This is likely due to a number of factors including cost and availability of meat products and a desire to eat healthier and more sustainably. An explosion in new plant-based options in grocery stores and restaurants is giving people more choices than ever before.
10. Chillable Red Wines
Expect to see more chillable red wines at your local wine shops and on wine bar and restaurant menus. "The natural wine movement has pushed the boundaries on stiff and outdated wine rules and played a big role in the rise and popularity of 'chillable reds,'" says Sipha Lam, owner of Wilder Wines in Burlington, Vermont. "More people are looking for 'crushable' wines with a lower ABV [alcohol by volume], where they can enjoy multiple glasses. Red wines that are light bodied, higher in acid, juicy and low in tannins shine when they are slightly chilled." Two of her current favorites are Jean Foillard Beaujolais Villages, which is extremely juicy and floral, and the COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria, a blend of nero d'Avola and frappato, with notes of crushed pomegranate, berries, roses and a hint of pepper. Lam recommends serving both with a slight chill—refrigerate for about 45 minutes prior to serving. An ideal temperature is 60 to 65 degrees, or really whatever temperature you enjoy. "There are no rules," she says.