The Kroger Co. has identified 10 food trends that will accelerate and take hold in 2022. The trends may be broken down into three categories: flavors, premiumization and behavioral shifts brought on by the pandemic.
Four flavors the retailer sees gaining ground in the year ahead include umami, everything seasoning, tequila and nostalgic flavors that deliver comfort.
“Asian cuisine has long understood how ingredients high in umami help elevate other ingredients and round out flavors in a dish, but the umami trend is exploding across new products, multicultural cuisines, traditional cooking, and hybrid mash-ups,” according to Kroger.
The savory flavor of tequila follows the umami trend and leads into the second section of trends focused on premiumization. Consumers will upgrade their meals in 2022 by purchasing products that deliver plant-based eating, are local and that deliver restaurant-quality experiences.
“Consumers continue to focus on the health of the planet, not just through plant-based foods, but also by reducing their waste impact with upcycled ingredients and more recyclable packaging,” Kroger said. “Plant-based foods are now being purchased for indulgence, comfort, and nostalgia, rather than being solely known as the healthier choice for our bodies, while still helping consumers lower their carbon footprint.”
An interest in sustainability is prompting some consumers to consider where their food comes from. That interest is leading to rising demand for food and ingredients grown and processed locally.
Kroger also sees consumers embracing more premium products as they seek to raise the level of their dining experiences at home. This is leading to interest in grass-fed beef burgers and hot dogs, goat cheese and bacon pinsa crust style pizza, and kimchi meatballs.
Behavioral shifts Kroger sees in 2022 will be around health and beauty, sharing and a greater role for charcuterie in meal occasions. Demand for products that contribute to health and beauty will continue in the coming year as consumers seek collagen-rich bone broths, antioxidant, probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids.
Sharing at meals has been a trend for some time, but Kroger sees family-packs focused on specific dietary needs like low carbohydrate, plant-based or vegan gaining ground in 2022. Along the same lines, Kroger’s trend researchers predict charcuterie will move from a sharable appetizer to playing a more prominent role at breakfast and dessert.
“Unlocking these trends allows us to prepare for the year ahead, adapt our offerings, and innovate within our brands to ensure we continue to provide customers exactly what they need and want to delight themselves and their guests in 2022 and beyond,” said Juan De Paoli, vice president of Kroger’s Our Brands private label business.