In the culinary world, trends often emerge organically out of necessity and then send shockwaves through consumer preferences. Perhaps because of the pandemic-induced isolation and stress, there has been a subtle shift from healthy and delicious options to healthy and delicious options that are convenient and accessible — and that trend isn't going anywhere soon.
Mindful Food & Beverage
At one time, uniquely healthy ingredients with wide-ranging benefits — think black lime and spirulina — could only be found in certain stores and shops, but that's now a thing of the past.
Also known as the "miracle tree," moringa is similar to matcha in its sweetly green flavor. Its nutritional profile is impressive: full of vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and even protein. This versatile ingredient is the star of the show at NYC's Mace in its Moringa Cocktail, where it is effortlessly blended with other earthy flavors like cashew and truffle gardenia.
Millennials especially have fallen in love all over again with the comfort of a hot beverage, navigating from fancy lattes to warm, nourishing cups of tea. Not just any tea, though: they're seeking out adaptogenic blends with reishi and chaga mushroom, as well as ingredients like melatonin and CBD, to naturally ease the mind and body.
In & Out
It's not that young consumers necessarily want to reduce their food and beverage intake to stay healthy and boost wellness; instead, the preference is to enjoy simplified versions of their nostalgic favorites:
Healthier sodas and fresh-flavored seltzers are flying off of the shelves, as they bring a carefree feel without all of the sugar to those wanting to satisfy their craving for bubbles. Kimino, also out of NYC, offers sparkling water in Japanese-inspired flavors like yuzu, ume, and ringo.
Everything is possible with kombucha, it seems — including an ice cream float. This invention by Frice Cream in Miami is a must-try, and finding a way to replicate easy, boutique desserts at home is steadily on the rise.
Inventive Mains and Mocktails
Moon Pizza's nettle pesto (that's right) and dandelion green pizza is balanced and tastes as innovative as it sounds, taking Friday-night pizza to the next level.
Philadelphia loves watermelon refreshers, as they can be found at several locations like Bloomsday Cafe and Ember & Ash, with the latter serving up a spritz with watermelon and white grape juices and house-made turmeric vinegar.
Roots & Fruits
It's becoming more clear just how many different plants, herbs, vegetables, and fruits are out there to add to foods and beverages, and consumers are no longer in the dark about their existence.
Rhubarb and Angelica
The earthy, homegrown flavor of rhubarb blends with mandarin, ginseng, and holy basil in Curious Elixir's alcohol-free No4 out of LA — and from the same city, a bitter red orange, bergamot, and angelica root beverage from Optimistic Drinks that helps to heal the gut instead of harming it.
Specialty Fruits and Berries
Carob is a well-known substitute for chocolate — but did you know it was a fruit? It's also filled with hydroxyproline, an amino acid that helps the body produce collagen. This, along with lesser-known berries like maqui and blackcurrant, are becoming more and more popular in desserts and for use at home.
There's no doubt that the 2022 top trends in North America have been all about the reintroduction to enjoying fresh, new foods and beverages again, and finding fun in that process is essential for everyone after a long period without it.