In the modern world, our eating habits change on a pretty regular basis. Over the past few years, plant-based diets have grown exponentially in popularity, and there was a 24% increase in membership to the Vegan Society between 2017 and 2018. As a result, retailers have been vying to cash in on its popularity and there are more vegan products on the market than ever before.
However, like all things in life, many eating habits are simply a reflection of wider societal trends. I mean, in the not so distant past, people were losing their sh*t over junk food, then reduced calorie meals, and it's more than likely that many new vegans will fall off the veggie bandwagon if it ever falls out of popularity. So, to forecast what will and will not be popular foods in 2019, experts have been predicting what will be on our shelves and it looks like we're in for a seriously scrumptious year.
1. Nut butter will replace seed butter
"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," the KIND 2019 Healthy Snacking Trend Report states.
At this point, it's worth noting that these alternative butters are nothing new (tahini, for example, has been a staple of Middle Eastern food for centuries) and experts are on board with the trend. Miho Hatanaka, R.D. actually recommends steering clear of butters containing added sugars and sticking to those consisting entirely of seeds and sea salt.
2. "Ugly" food will finally have its day
We've already seen hints of this trend in 2018 and it's only going to grow in popularity next year. Unlike in the past when companies trashed food that wasn't "pretty" enough to sell, thanks to the battle against food waste, more and more are now selling these products, often for a reduced price - and as a fan of wonky vegetables, I can tell you that they taste exactly the same.
3. Harissa will be in everyone's pantry
Don't worry, you don't have to throw out your cumin, but flavor-packed seasonings like harissa, berbere, dukkah, and ras el hanout, all of which are popular in African cuisine, are set to grow in popularity next year.
So what is harissa? I hear you ask. It's a moderately spicy paste that's made from red pepper, tomato, chili, and a few other spices and aromatics and it can easily substitute tomato paste in most recipes, packing a similar amount of nutrients.
4. Added sugar will become even more unpopular
While it won't be legally required for manufacturers to list added sugars separately from natural ones until January 2020, the FDA reports, according to KIND an "added sugar" label will be added to most food packages next year. This will definitely do wonders for our health. The USDA dietary guidelines recommend that added sugars should only make up about 10% of our overall intake.
5. Coconut water's getting some competition
For years now, we've been gulping down coconut water because it's a well-known hydration miracle, hangover cure, and generally delicious alternative to plain old water, but in 2019, it's getting competition from some new alternatives.
Namely, "maple water, which contains less than half of the sugar of coconut water, as well as cactus water, which is promoted for skin revitalization," the KIND Healthy Snacks Trend Report states.
However, the Academy of Nutrition Dietetics said that they should be consumed with caution as they won't hydrate you any better than water and contain sugar without fiber, which could lead to a blood sugar spike if enough is consumed.
6. Vitamins and supplements are on their way out
Admittedly, this one's surprising considering how health conscious we are as a society. But the KIND trend report indicates that in 2019, more and more people will be trying to meet their vitamin and mineral needs with whole foods instead.
7. Probiotics are moving from your shelf to your fridge
Research on the health of our guts is growing by the day, and while probiotics are nothing new, according to the 2019 trend report from Whole Foods, "Wellness-focused brands are making it easier to get more probiotics in your day by adding functional probiotic ingredients to your pantry staples through products like granola, oatmeal, nut butters, soups and nutrition bars." Prior to this, the go-to delivery method was fermented foods like kimchi and yogurt, and refrigerated pills and formulas.
8. Jackfruit will be everyone's favorite meat substitute
"Jackfruit is a popular meat alternative already being used in place of items like barbecue pulled pork," the Whole Foods trend report reveals. Native to Southeast Asia, if you have a plant-based diet, you'll know that it' s been used as a meat substitute for a while now (it's got a stringy texture like pork and beef), but it's on track to get really popular in 2019.
9. Your fruit basket will become more tropical
According to Whole Foods, tropical fruits like guava, dragonfruit, starfruit, and passionfruit will be all the rage in 2019. Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet explains that different fruits all have slightly different nutritional profiles but are nonetheless packed with fiber, vitamins, and healthy carbs. In short, we'll be getting our five-a-day in a slightly different way.
10. Faux meat will be people's go-to snack
Thanks to the increased popularity of plant-based diets, good quality meat alternatives are everywhere - and more often than not, they're just as tasty, if not more so, than the real thing. And the Whole Foods report revealed that snacks like mushroom-based faux cracklin', soy-based jerky, and mushroom "bacon chips" will all be growing in popularity in 2019.
11. Grocery shopping will become high-tech
While calorie counting and Marcos works for some, Kroger is trying to take the pain out of healthy eating with their new app OptUP, which keeps track of the foods you're buying and uses your personal information to suggest healthier alternatives.
12. Frozen treats will be invading our freezers
Banana soft serve might have been big in 2016 and we've already had dairy-free ice creams, so, next year, brands will be taking things one step further with alternative ice cream bases like avocado and hummus. "I love this because when your base is something nutrient-dense, like chickpeas or avocado, you're guaranteed to be getting some good stuff," says Allison Kuhn, R.D., director of nutrition at Kroger.
13. Dessert hummus is properly going to be a thing
While there's no doubt that cookie dough is incredible in its own right, Kuhn is entirely in favor of the new hummus dessert options which are appearing in stores these days. "If it's something I crave, I'd rather opt for something a little bit healthier," she explains. And while they do contain added sugar, they've got a lot more fiber and protein than traditional desserts.
14. You could be baking your own bread
According to Pinterest's 100 top trends for 2019, "Bread baking is on the rise, especially when it comes to fermented loaves like sourdough." And while Kuhn admits that it can be a fun and delicious experience, she made a point of saying that there's nothing wrong with buying your own bread too. "On the market today, there are a lot of extremely healthy breads, so you can find great options," she says. Kuhn advises choosing bread that's 100-percent whole grain.
Now, I don't know about you, but after discovering what's going to be hot in the foodie department, I'm seriously excited for 2019. I'd certainly rather have a slightly less guilty hummus dessert, and personally, I'm totally down for giving a breadmaking a go!