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Five fresh food trends for 2023

google trends kimchi

Identifying food trends is one of my favorite guessing games of the year, and the past few years have given us a lot to chew on, figuratively and literally.

As we’ve navigated abrupt shifts in food at home vs. food away from home, food costs and inflation, the back and forth balance of work from home versus work in-office, and, of course, the juggernaut that is TikTok influencing not only users but every other social media platform out there, a few trends are bold standouts for me.

Jennifer Zegler, Mintel’s director of food and drink, identified food trends based on these criteria: simplicity, versatility, escapism, and resourcefulness, and I agree.

We all want something that’s not too difficult, not too specialized, not too ordinary, and that we can handle ourselves.

Squeezing value from all angles:

Have you googled “egg substitute” yet? With the price of eggs up sharply, you might be soon. Inflation in general has consumers looking for ways to squeeze value out of what they’re buying, from meal planning for maximum usage, smaller portion sizes, value shopping, and battles between fresh, frozen, and canned. I saw it firsthand this week with my sons at the grocery store. They noticed another shopper strip the outside leaves of cabbage from a head to make it smaller, eyes wide with shock. I assured them that anything not sold at unit price was fair game for this kind of treatment, though the produce manager would prefer to cut it in half rather than deal with the discarded leaves. I’m also seeing strong debates about “jarlic” on social media, with some citing “taste tests” claiming most people can’t tell the difference. I assure you, I can. Team Fresh Garlic all the way, but “jarlic” fans make a compelling argument when you consider shelf life and convenience.

Hacks and how to use your cookware:

Consumers are eating at home and preparing meals at home. It’s about time we learn how to use these gadgets. It’s likely there’s an appliance purchased over the past couple of years has lost favor in the kitchen, but new recipes, and recipe hacks, are reinvigorating use of countertop pressure cookers, air fryers, and more. Did you know the reason your stainless-steel cookware is sticking is because you didn’t let it heat up for long enough? I do now, thanks to helpful videos showing up in my TikTok feed. And if you don’t have TikTok, just sit back because the same video will hit Instagram, and then Facebook, and eventually mainstream media. Along with these hacks, I think produce has an opportunity to share the insider info about ripeness, shelf-life extension, “did you know’s,” and more. The more consumers know about how to get the maximum use out of our category, the more they’ll turn to us when they’re shopping.

Authentic influence:

There’s a reason the new wave of video content is vertical. It’s all about the creator’s point of view. Expect to see videos based more on “this is how I make” dish X, Y, or Z, based on “how my mom/dad/grandmother made it.” Consumers want to trust an authentic source, and social media algorithms are responding. We’re going to see a lot of ethnic dishes, particularly Japanese, West African, and Middle Eastern, gain ground as many influencers are out there producing excellent content in these areas.

Kimchi, and other Korean-inspired foods:

Speaking of influencers bringing dishes to new audiences, Kimchi is all over social media right now and is on a steep incline, according to Google Trends.

Other Korean-inspired recipes are following. This will have consumers in the produce department looking for ingredients like Napa cabbage, radishes, Asian pears, and green onions, just to name a few. It’s also helpful that Kimchi has that health and wellness glow, being a fermented food packed with vegetables, because my last trend is:

Health halo food and beverage:

So-called super foods were only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to consumer interest in health and wellness. Anything and everything that can claim some kind of health halo is getting attention. We’ve seen a lot of product development in areas like immunity, gut health, and antioxidants, and now is the time to make sure products have the appropriate call-outs to garner attention. Fermented foods like sauerkraut have been earning shelf space in produce and juice companies are putting out products specifically targeted to certain wellness attributes. What does your product have to offer in this space? People have it on their lists, and few items in the grocery store fit in like fresh produce.


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.