Trending High: What to Watch in 2023

Trending High: What to Watch in 2023

December 21, 2022
Annette Maggi

By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Every day from now until the end of the year, news feeds are filled with trend predictions, including those related to food and nutrition. To consider what trends you need to watch closely and consider incorporating into your programs and services, consider these trend watches.

Janet Helm, MS, RDN, has long been providing her predictions on emerging trends and this year she does so in the U.S. News and World Report. This fan girl’s favorite is her mention of the joy of food. Yes! Nutrition and health can be paired with messaging on the pleasure and enjoyment of food, and retail RDs are the talented communicators and educators to drive this movement forward. Helm also acknowledges what nutrition professionals have seen coming – that consumers have seen through the hype of plant-based foods that mimic meat. They now understand these foods are often highly processed and are moving on to plant foods grown in nature.

For more than 20 years, McCormick has published their Flavor Forecast. Full flavored fats are one of their 2023 highlights, with plant and animal fats being used to “impart mouthwatering flavor and creaminess into everyday dishes and drinks.” Several trend watch groups, including McCormick, have addressed consumer demand for a more complex spicy experience. Does heat build? Does it linger? What’s the perfect flavor pairing to high heat? This drives towards growing shopper interest in cuisines like those in West Africa and India.

The nostalgia of food is a continuing trend, according to the Food Institute and others, which is strongly tied to the emotions connected to specific dishes. Consumer seek comfort and safety, and food memories that tie to home are driving their choices. Companies are capitalizing on this trend, with Kellogg’s bring back Frosted Grade Pop-Tarts, which were discontinued in the 1990s, and McDonalds offering an adult Happy Meal complete with a toy. The opportunity for retail RDs is to tap into these emotional foods but elevate the way they are prepared (roasted vs. boiled veggies) and improving the dish’s nutrition (squash added to mac and cheese).

Whole Foods presents there list of top ten food trends each year and notable on this year’s list are kelp products and climate-conscious callouts. The two trends are tied together as grown kelp can help absorb carbon in the atmosphere, grows quickly, and doesn’t require fresh water.

As you develop plans for 2023, consider which of these trends are likely to attract new shoppers to your programs as well as those that may suggest the need for a new, longer term initiative at your retailer.