We used traffic data and audience insights to help predict which food and wellness trends we think will be big in the coming year.
Advertisement
a collage of illustrations of some of EatingWell's Top 10 Food & Nutrition Trends 2023 including kelp, a Spritz cocktail, purple tomatoes, and Yuzu
Credit: Illustrations: Getty Images; Collage: Cassie Basford

If there's one big takeaway from this year, it's this: It's time to stop fearing foods and instead find nourishment in the things that bring us joy. 2022 was the year for redefining "healthy." Healthy is personal; it's not one size fits all. And speaking of sizes, celebs like Lizzo, Jameela Jamil and Jonah Hill have taken to their platforms to shout loud and clear that your outward appearance is no indicator of how healthy you are (and, frankly, it's no one else's business anyway). 

During a time when the definition of healthy is becoming more personalized, and social media trends come and go so quickly, can we still predict the next big thing? This year, to identify our top trends for 2023, our editors compiled a list of new products and food innovations hitting the market. On top of that, we layered trend data and traffic analytics from our website to refine the list further. 

A common thread that we saw this year was a big focus on sustainability and product innovations that can help carry our food systems into the future. For as long as EatingWell has been around—since 1990 to be exact—we have been publishing food journalism that explores where deliciousness intersects with nutrition and sustainability. This year, it feels like the rest of the food world is right there with us, and it's an exciting time indeed.

1. Alternative Coffees

Coffee lovers abound, and on EatingWell.com we saw interest in coffee grow 36% this year. As with last year, we continue to see more alternative coffee products coming to market. The flavor of the moment? Sustainability. Producers are looking to disrupt coffee culture for the better. Atomo coffee tastes just like coffee, caffeinates like coffee, but is completely bean-free. Why? With climate change and consumer demand challenging growing regions, the brand wants to offer a more sustainable option for coffee lovers. 

Another product getting our attention right now is FigBrew, which is a coffee alternative made from, you guessed it, figs. When EatingWell Fellow Dani DeAngelis tried it for the first time, she found that it stood out as a fully unique coffee alternative. "It was so different from anything I've ever tried before," she says. "It doesn't try to mimic coffee's flavor but instead embraces the sweetness of figs within its bitter notes to create the perfect cup."

We are also continuing to see an interest in chicory coffee and mushroom coffee (read more about them in our 2021 trend roundup).

2. Upcycled Foods

Coffee production typically generates a ton of waste. But cascara, a fruit pulp byproduct of coffee, can be repurposed and enjoyed as a hot beverage similar to herbal tea with notes of tamarind and raisin. While cascara tea has long been made in coffee-producing countries, it's only become available in the U.S. in recent years and is now showing up on local coffee shop menus. You can even find it on the Starbucks menu, though just be aware that the cascara latte and cold foam items are actually coffee drinks. The cascara is added in the form of syrup and sugar topping that have been flavored with coffee cherry extract. On Google Trends, "cascara latte calories" was a breakout term this year, while "cascara fizz" saw a 150% increase in the last year. (A breakout term means that the search term grew exponentially in the last 12 months.)

Beyond coffee, more and more producers are looking for ways to repurpose byproducts from food production. Consumers will start to see the results on grocery shelves by way of all sorts of products—from upcycled chips to chocolate bars and flour mixes. Whole Foods announced that this spring they will be selling upcycled oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, made with oat pulp from oat milk production.

3. Yuzu

If getting your own White Claw flavor is any indication, yuzu is having a moment in the U.S. Yuzu is a tangy citrus fruit from Korea and China, and it's often found in Japanese and Korean cuisine. It's also a key ingredient in some J-beauty and K-beauty products for its touted antioxidant benefits. On American grocery shelves, you can increasingly find yuzu-flavored products, like Trader Joe's Yuzu Hot Sauce and popular beverages, like sparkling water and canned cocktails. On Google Trends, searches in the U.S. related to yuzu are up 80% this year, compared to last year. Fresh yuzu citrus may be hard to find, but look for yuzu juice at your local Asian grocery store or online.

Recipe to try: Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette

4. Copycat Recipes

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, cooks turned to their own kitchens to re-create their favorite restaurant meals at home. Interestingly, that trend hasn't waned, despite the fact that most people aren't isolating at home anymore. In fact, we're seeing that the opposite is true. Interest in "copycat" recipes is up 167% this year on EatingWell.com.  On Pinterest, searches for "Starbucks eggbites copycat recipe" are up a whopping 8,000% and "copycat Taco Bell Mexican pizza" is up 100% compared to last year. Google Trends shows similar trends, with specific recipe terms up year over year. 

Why are folks so eager to pull off the perfect copycat when they could just go out and get the real deal? If you're watching your sodium intake, saving restaurant meals for special occasions may help. For example, a Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken at Panera clocks in at 1,050 milligrams sodium, but the EatingWell copycat version comes in at just 479 mg sodium.

Another benefit of eating in: cost savings. With supply-chain issues and inflation, as well as disease impacting poultry farms, food is just more expensive right now. Dining out can add up quickly. For example an order of Starbucks' popular egg bites will cost you around $5 for two bites. You can make your own copycat version at home for around $1.75 for two egg bites. 

a recipe photo of the Copycat Starbucks Spinach & Mushroom Egg Bites
Credit: Jamie Vespa

5. Sea Plants

Edible sea plants are making all of the 2023 food trend lists: Whole Foods is predicting kelp will be big this year (it was on our 2022 list). "Expect to see more kelp-inspired products on grocery store shelves in 2023," says EatingWell associate food editor Alex Loh. "Whether it's kelp chips or kelp noodles, the algae is a nutritious, versatile product that's also good for the environment. Kelp can help absorb carbon in the atmosphere and doesn't require freshwater or added nutrients, two major wins in the age of climate consciousness."

According to the Pinterest Predicts 2023 report, "the hottest superfoods will be from the sea. A long-standing staple in Asian cultures, ocean-based foods and minerals are a fave among Millennials and Gen X." On the platform, they're seeing growing interest in "seaweed snacks recipes" (+245%) and "nori recipes" (+60%). 

Over at Google Trends, "salicornia salt" was a breakout trend this year. A relatively new product, Green Salt is a plant-based salt alternative from Baja California. Green salt is made by dehydrating salicornia—a sea plant, also known as samphire or sea beans, that grows naturally in salty estuaries and marshes—and grinding it into a powder for an alternative to salt that has less sodium.

6. Spritzes

Sometimes people want a cocktail, and sometimes they don't—or they want it with less sugar and alcohol (aka lower ABV). Pinterest is calling this 2023 beverage-fluid trend "Free Spirits" and say that searches for "fancy nonalcoholic drinks" were up 220% this year. On EatingWell.com, views on articles and recipes related to "mocktails" and "nonalcoholic" were up 118% and 365%, respectively, this year compared to last year.

Interest in lower-ABV beverages and lower-sugar cocktails—plus more people getting back to celebrating brunch and other "shower" type gatherings—has people embracing all types of spritz cocktails, according to Esmee Williams, vice president of consumer and brand strategy at Dotdash Meredith (EatingWell is part of Dotdash Meredith). "We're seeing excitement for wine spritzers as well as those prepared using Aperol, Campari, Contratto, gin, vodka, limoncello and mezcal," Williams says. On EatingWell.com, views on spritz recipes grew 52% this year. 

Gin & Blackberry Spritz
Credit: Jamie Vespa, M.S., RD

Pictured Recipe: Gin & Blackberry Spritz

7. Sustainable Seafood

On EatingWell.com, fish and seafood content is always popular, but this year we saw a 28% increase in views on salmon recipes, compared to last year. Interest in lobster was also up 29%, while views on shrimp-related recipes and articles were up 8% this year. Pinterest saw searches for  "salmon bowl" increase 245% this year, compared to last year.

In the market, grocers are leaning into seafood sustainability. In October 2022, Albertsons Companies, which includes Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's and Tom Thumb grocery stores, announced that 100% of the seafood in its Waterfront Bistro line would be sustainably sourced. Around the same time, Monterey Bay Aquarium's trusted Seafood Watch program—which rates seafood as a best choice for sustainability (green), a good alternative (yellow) or a type to avoid (red)—downgraded American lobster to the red list. Should we all stop eating lobster? The answer is: it's complicated. But some grocers are already responding to the new rating from Seafood Watch: in November Whole Foods confirmed they will no longer purchase Maine lobster if it does not meet the company's standards for wild-caught seafood, which includes being either MSC-certified or rated yellow or green by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.

Innovation is playing a bigger role in how seafood is sourced and produced. Shrimp, the most popular seafood in the U.S., is now being farmed in hundreds of indoor pools across the country. And more plant-based seafood options are now on the market.

8. Adaptogen Drinks

You can have your ashwagandha and drink it too, so to speak. More and more beverage products are incorporating adaptogenic ingredients in their offerings. Adaptogens are a group of plants and herbs that have long been used in traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicine for their stress-reducing qualities. But now you can find them in everything from your bottle of SmartWater to sparkling canned teas. "Schisandra benefits," "rhodiola" and "best adaptogen drinks" were all breakout terms on Google Trends this year.

Some adaptogen drink brands are leaning into the nonalcoholic trend too. For people looking for a relaxing drink to unwind without the alcohol, adaptogen drinks present an interesting alternative. And, as such, they can command a higher price. At $5 per can, Recess says their beverages will help you feel "calm cool collected" in today's stressful world. And, in a blind taste test, our team found Curious Elixir #1 ($10, 2 servings) to be a tasty nonalcoholic alternative to a Negroni cocktail. The "stress-reducing" rhodiola found in the beverage was an added bonus, but are there legitimate health benefits to drinking these ingredients?

"There is some evidence to support the health benefits of using adaptogens," explains Jessica Ball, M.S., RD, nutrition editor at EatingWell. "But many people don't realize that adaptogens need to be taken daily for several weeks to reap any potential benefits. If someone enjoys drinking these beverages daily and can afford it, it could be a good option for them. But having them so frequently may not be accessible to most people, and enjoying it every so often is unlikely to deliver any benefits."

9. Ginseng

Speaking of adaptogens … We're seeing a renewed interest in ginseng—a plant that's been used in traditional Chinese and Native American medicine for centuries. It's a popular supplement touted for lowering blood sugar and helping to reduce inflammation, among other benefits. Ginseng is also a common ingredient in energy drinks. On Google Trends, searches in the U.S. related to ginseng are up 8% this year compared to last year. People are curious about the potential benefits of ginseng tea, especially Korean red ginseng tea, according to Williams. 

"Ginseng is generally considered safe for consumption in adults. However, there is some conflicting evidence about whether or not ginseng can impact blood sugar levels and insulin release," says Ball. "Substances that lower blood sugar levels could be a cause for concern for those taking blood-sugar-lowering medications for conditions like diabetes. Those with diabetes should always consult their health care team before trying any new supplements or adaptogens like ginseng." 

10. Purple Tomatoes

In September 2022, the USDA approved a new genetically engineered tomato that has been modified to increase its anthocyanin content and give it that striking purple color. According to Annie Nguyen, M.A., RD, EatingWell's Pinterest editor and one of our team's dietitians, "Antioxidants like anthocyanin help block free radicals from damaging cells that can cause inflammation, which can be the root of many diseases. Eating foods that are high in anthocyanins may benefit those with heart disease and diabetes due to their anti-inflammatory features."

Historically, some health-conscious consumers have chosen to avoid genetically engineered foods, but this product was developed to appeal to health-minded consumers. Will they bite? "Several fruits and vegetables contain different types of antioxidants that correlate with their color and pigmentation, which is part of the reason why you may have heard the advice to 'eat the rainbow,'" explains Ball. "That said, there aren't many products on the market geared toward increasing the levels of certain antioxidants, like the purple tomato. So it will be interesting to see how it changes agriculture if it becomes popular." 

This will be one to watch. Timing for when purple tomatoes will be available at your local grocery store is still TBD.