In 2022, plant-forward trends drastically gained traction in the food and beverage industry, and as we explore 2023, that's still a megatrend we can expect to see. After multiple discussions with leading food journalists and top industry chefs, we've determined that natural foods will continue to gain popularity throughout the year. Plant-forward trends are taking over the industry and changing the game when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle without compromising the delicious taste of many consumer-favorite dishes.
Let's take a look at some plant-forward trends that we can expect to see this year and review how natural goodness is expected to make an impact.
2022 Trends VS 2023 Natural Goodness
Natural goodness advantages are bountiful in what they offer for consumers that are seeking to create more healthy food habits. Plant-forward trends have a natural sense of empowerment, often including powdering foods and many fermented food trends. They offer more control over what you're consuming and retroactively give back to the local community, helping boost the local economy.
In 2022, we saw growth surrounding Chinese and Japanese regional cuisines, known for being hearty meals that are plentiful with natural herbs and spices. Their flavorful components have catapulted the popularity of more natural products, only furthering the growing trend. Now, in 2023, Southeast Asian cuisines have become more sought after throughout North America. With more herbaceous, savory flavor profiles, natural foods are easily becoming consumer favorites and play directly into locally sourced goods.
With ethical food sourcing, vegetables, and spices are commonly being used in upcycling in order to reduce food waste through composting. This is a great way to get even more use out of ingredients that may have previously been tossed away and discarded. In a sense, the growing popularity of veganism has given food trends a makeover and is continuing to bring out a chance for creativity for many chefs. It's changing the game altogether and paving a way for natural goods to be more inclusive in restaurants and retail.
What Does Natural Goodness Mean for the Industry?
In previous years, we've seen consumer desires shift towards more and more organic, healthier eating styles. In 2022, veganism began heavily expanding into different types of cuisine and the exploratory attempts to create menu items with alternative meats and more organic options have set up 2023 with food that's designed directly to be vegan. Rather than altering simple recipes with plant-based ingredients, class comfort foods are being reinvented entirely. Created from the get-go with meat alternatives, there's no lack of flavor and no worry that the taste of a dish is going to be compromised with replacement ingredients.
That's not all that natural goodness offers though. While plant-forward flavors are a major player in the grand scheme of the growing trend, it's also about ethical food sourcing and making a change for the better. The bigger picture is more than simple flavor profiles, and with climate concerns and supply chain issues that we've seen consistently for the last few years, 2023 is the year for natural goodness.
When supplies fall short, locally sourced produce helps ensure that top natural flavors and ingredients are always readily available. Benefits of this can be seen in the fresh natural flavors of menu favorites like salads and dressings, or even in seasonal fruits and veggies that allow you to offer a rotating menu. Cater to the trends with top natural ingredients that are interchangeable and dependent on the time of year. Natural goodness is a form of preservation for the industry. It gives you great taste while reducing and helping eliminate waste.
Flavor Profiles of Natural Food Trends
Natural food doesn't mean you have to settle for less or compromise delicious flavors. Ethical produce and ethical slaughter are actually a big part of current trending flavor profiles. Local sourcing is helping provide a finer, more distinctive taste for food favorites such as beef, river fish, grains, various vegetables, and more. This gives consumers fresher and more potent ingredients to enjoy.
From farmer's market produce to other locally sourced goods, accessibility to sustainable ingredients is trending. Consumers want that farm-to-table experience, and they also want transparency about what they're eating. From flavor profiles to health benefits, knowledge of food trends is power.
An interesting trend shift from 2022 is reduced interest in bitter and smoky flavors. While smoky flavors are definitely still popular, it's becoming trendier when they're used for multi-layered flavoring and offer more of an umami taste.
Other flavor trends for natural goods surround seasonal ingredients such as summer fruits like watermelon and mango or winter flavors such as peppermint. Consumers are seeking savory and sweet ingredients. For example, fresh vegetables that can give an earthy lightly bitter taste while offering a balanced and colorful appearance are quite popular. Culinary and beverage favorites include pink pineapple, mustard frills spicebush, dill pollen, and more. These plant-forward ingredients lean on the organic food trends while adding rather than compromising flavors.
Top 2023 Natural Trends Recap
With consumers looking for more transparency in understanding what they're eating and seeking out more sustainable lifestyles, it's no surprise that 2023 is pushing toward more natural food trends. This makes keeping up with key themes for megatrends even more important. From the reinvention of comfort foods to fermenting food trends, reducing waste, and better food preservation — plant-forward food trends are taking over.
When it comes to ethical food trends and natural goodness, the key to current food trends revolves entirely around:
Grown/made in-house ingredients,
Locally sourced produce,
Upcycling and composting, and
Looking for more food trends in 2023? Be sure to look over our series dissecting other key food trends themes such as premium indulgence, emotional discoveries, and healthy lifestyle. We're breaking down all of the need-to-know details about flavor profiles, consumer interests, and much more. Find out how you can uncover the secrets to top natural ingredients, master the art of trending flavors, and stay on top of all of the year's mega food trends
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