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How fresh produce can hitch up to well-being and immunity trends

Over the past few years, Whole Foods has typically led the charge of food trends predictions for the coming year.

The insightful list is a mix of carefully curated everyday items and wacky things no one but the trendiest of foodies has ever heard of (think of last year’s tiger nut flour.)

Fresh produce typically factors in at least a few of the items, but this year some of the tie-ins aren’t as obvious as usual.

For example, the No. 1 trend is well-being and foods associated with immunity. Here’s how Whole Foods lays it out:

WELL-BEING IS SERVED

The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles, and that trend will accelerate in 2021. That means superfoods, probiotics, broths and sauerkrauts. Suppliers are incorporating functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms and adaptogens to foster a calm headspace and support the immune system. For obvious reasons, people want this pronto.

Try the Trend:Cleveland Kraut: Roasted Garlic, Gnar Gnar; Beekeeper’s Naturals B.Powered Superfood Honey; Om Mushroom Superfood Mighty Mushroom Broth; Navitas Organics Superfood+ Adaptogen Blend Smoothie Booster; Health-Ade Kombucha PLUS: Belly Reset, Beauty, Energy; fresh exotic citrus fruits like Buddha’s Hand

That’s a no-brainer to chose during a global pandemic, of course, and there are so many ways (beyond ORANGES!) produce can latch onto this trend.  

It reminds me of a fantastic slide from Datassential of all of the foods consumers think of when they’re looking to boost immunity. This is a fantastic resource because health claims can be tricky to pin down because of the rules associated with making them. But this Datassential list shows you what CONSUMERS think of when they’re seeking an immunity boost. Here’s a few highlights:

  • Citrus (Not just oranges, but oranges are up 20% and likely will continue this path);
  • Dark leafy greens – kale, broccoli rabe, chard, collard, spinach, and watercress are just a few getting a boost;
  • Superfruits, like blueberries, acai, pomegranates, kiwifruit, mango, and more;
  • Broccoli – Don’t like broccoli? Give it the Brussels sprouts glow-up and roast it!;
  • Garlic – Sopa de Ajo (Spanish garlic soup) combines grandma’s chicken noodle with a punch of garlic;
  • Nuts;
  • Root vegetables – temperatures are dropping across most of the U.S., and root veg begs to be roasted;
  • Avocado;
  • Ginger;
  • Turmeric;
  • Tropical fruit – this one surprises me, but 23% of respondents associate tropical fruits with immunity, so let’s fire up the blender for some smoothies;
  • Peppers;
  • Mushrooms; and
  • Wheatgrass.

produce with pamelaI find it helpful for consumers to be given specific examples, and specific ways to use fresh produce as an immunity booster, rather than just mentioning the item. Right now, in my kitchen, I need someone to practically walk me through step-by-step.

Don’t give me too much credit. I need all the help I can get.

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.