It’s out with the kale smoothies and in with the … cannabis? As we head into a new year, we can look forward to fresh fads in the food world. Here are 10 nutrition trends industry experts predict will heat up in 2019.
KIND Healthy Snacks surveyed nearly 5,000 nutrition and food industry experts to predict the top trends of 2019. And it found hemp is ready to have a greater impact on the health and nutrition world. “We’ve already seen hemp’s presence within coffee, cocktails and even olive oil in 2018,” according to KIND’s forecast. “Next year, we anticipate hemp to permeate into other formats such as yogurts, soups and even salad dressings.” Likewise, Food Network’s report from the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo suggests more nutritionists might consider the benefits of cannabis as they work with patient care teams. Many people report that hemp has helped them with ailments such as arthritis, joint and chronic pain, seizures, anxiety, and many other ailments.
The plant-based compound lutein — found in spinach, kale, collards, pumpkin, peas, broccoli and more — stands to gain more awareness in 2019. “[Lutein] plays a major role in the health of your eyes and more recent research is also looking at lutein’s relationship to cognitive function and brain health,” according to Food Network. Plus, according to the Natural Grocers forecast of 2019 nutrition trends, lutein also can protect our eyes against damaging blue light. “Lutein preferentially accumulates in the macula, the part of the retina responsible for central vision, where it filters damaging blue light and increases macular pigment density,” the Natural Grocers forecast says.
- Plant-based snacks
Snacking looks to be taking a healthier turn in 2019. Food Network anticipates “better-for-you versions of snack foods made from beans, coconut, nuts, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.” The goal is to create tasty snacks that aren’t just empty calories — feeding people’s growing desire to make more health-conscious choices.
- Potatoes Healthier snacks might be coming to offer alternatives to potato chips, but potatoes still can have their moment in 2019, as well. According to Food Network, people will look to “the easily digestible and nutrient rich carbs in potatoes” to help fuel their workouts. “Use potatoes in breakfast burritos, rice bowls and even muffins to help fire up muscles for exercise and aid in recovery post activity,” Food Network says. Just remember a greasy, fried potato isn’t what the nutrition experts are talking about.
- Mushrooms The Natural Grocers forecast sees people embracing mushrooms in 2019, as research continues to pile up about their health benefits. “Mushrooms hold the power to support the immune system, blood sugar balance, brain health, liver health, respiratory health, hormone balance and can even boost energy levels,” according to Natural Grocers. Consequently, the food and nutrition industries are introducing more mushroom-centric foods and products. “We’ll continue to see the category grow, with more mushroom teas, tonics, broths and coffees making an appearance in 2019,” Natural Grocers says.
- Seed butters Alternatives to the stalwart peanut butter — including almond, cashew and walnut butters — have recently gained traction. And for 2019, KIND predicts seed butters will have their time in the limelight. “Keep an eye out for sunflower, pumpkin and watermelon seed butters — which share the same good fat profile of nut butters, but may offer an alternative for those with nut allergies,” KIND says. Even so, nut butters’ popularity doesn’t look like it will diminish anytime soon.
- Infused water
While coconut water has been trendy for a while now, other infused waters are gaining popularity, as well. Consumers are looking for methods of hydration that can add more vitamins and minerals to their diets, compared to plain old water. “Such options will include maple water, which contains less than half of the sugar of coconut water, as well as cactus water, which is promoted for skin revitalization,” according to the KIND forecast.
- A focus on ingredients
With the growing health-conscious trend comes a stronger focus on ingredients in 2019. In fact, Natural Grocers predicts consumers will focus less on nutrition facts and counting calories — and more on the actual ingredients list. “2019 will foster a friendlier relationship with food that focuses on simple, clean ingredients in products made with whole, real foods,” according to the Natural Grocers forecast. Plus, KIND says consumers will place greater importance on transparency regarding what’s going into their food. And food companies will have to be even more open about their practices.
- Sugar awareness
A stronger interest in the ingredients list also means a new awareness of unhealthy components that sneak into our foods. And in 2019, added sugar is in the crosshairs. Some foods you might not expect to have an unhealthy amount of sugar are certain condiments, tomato sauce and even breads. According to KIND, consumers aren’t turning on all sugar — but rather that added sugar, which doesn’t naturally occur in foods. “Research has shown that dietary patterns lower in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease — stressing the need for individuals to be mindful of their intake,” KIND says.
- Sustainable choices
People are becoming more aware of the effects their food choices have on the environment. And that will continue to grow in 2019. According to Food Network, consumers will look to cut down on food waste by planning meals and properly storing food to make it last longer. And KIND anticipates people will turn away from Instagram-perfect dishes in favor of “ugly” foods — i.e., items that are slightly flawed but nonetheless perfectly edible. This also will help to cut down on food waste. Plus, KIND predicts more people will choose to consume less meat and dairy to diminish their climate impact.