It’s always exciting to get your hands on the next big thing in food. Once a trendy food, drink, or ingredient takes off, it almost doesn’t matter whether it’s worth the hype—it’s all people will talk about, even if it’s overrated, and every brand will try to jump on board before the wave crashes. In an attempt to be ahead of the pack, Whole Foods releases a trend forecast each year, and it’s always worth a glance.
“Each year, the Trends Council—a collective of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members, including local foragers, regional and global buyers, and culinary experts—compile trend predictions based on decades of experience and expertise in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences, as well as in-depth workshopping with emerging and existing brands,” a Whole Foods representative tells The Takeout.
It’s important to clarify that these trends aren’t just what Whole Foods thinks will sell best at its own stores. These are the food and beverage trends it’s forecasting for all grocery stores nationwide in 2023.
“We anticipate seeing these trends in the food industry at large, on dinner tables, in lunch boxes and on our store shelves,” said Sonya Gafsi Oblisk, Chief Marketing Officer at Whole Foods Market.
How accurate will these predictions be? In retrospect, the brand’s 2022 predictions showed roughly an even split of hits and misses. We definitely saw a rise in popularity of things like yuzu flavoring, non-alcoholic beverages, and “reducetarianism” (a conscious effort to reduce meat, dairy, and eggs without cutting them out entirely). But we didn’t really see sunflower seeds, turmeric, and moringa (whatever that is) pop off in the way Whole Foods was hoping.
While we can’t fully predict what will gain traction in the next year and what won’t, we can certainly try. Here are Whole Foods’ 2023 trend predictions, along with our best guesses at whether they’ll come to fruition.