Food Trends for 2019


Food trends in 2019 are expected to continue to move towards healthier, more sustainable and increasingly convenient foods. But not by hearkening back to the days of yore for a simpler life. Instead, bold new food frontiers in laboratory- developed proteins and meats from cells, plants and insects, new plant based packaging, and potions and superfoods are taking foods in new directions. Replacing meat as the primary source of proteins is a dominant effort, while getting CBD and other cannabis extracts into all manner of foods and beverages is an obsession. Below you will find the primary trends in food for 2019 currently being discussed by various experts in the industry.

More Environmentally Friendly Foods


Consumers have long been looking for sustainable options to replace beef and poultry — and they've found it in the form of cricket powder.

It takes much less land, water and food to raise crickets than it does cows, offering an environmentally friendly alternative protein source to the typical American livestock.

While crickets haven't quite taken off with mainstream consumers, there are plenty of instances of cricket powder appearing in protein bars, pancakes, breads and even dog treats.

Oak Milk

Oat milk doesn't need as much water as almond milk to make, which is enticing to consumers who are conscious about conservation. Oat milk is made by soaking steel cut oats in water, blending the mixture and then straining it. The result is a creamy beverage that can be used over cereal, in lattes or just in a cup.

 Laboratory Proteins

Laboratory-grown proteins will enter the mainstream. KFC, Tyson Foods and Cargill are investing heavily, and the products are catching on so fast that ranchers have started campaigns to stop the engineered proteins from being called “meat,” according to Forbes.


“Jackfruit is a popular meat alternative already being used in place of items like barbecue pulled pork,” according to the Whole Foods trend report. The fruit is native to Southeast Asia, and is also grown in parts of Africa and South America. Americans have been using it as a meat substitute for a few years now (thanks to a stringy texture that mimics pulled pork or beef), but 2019 will be the year that pulled jackfruit really takes off.

The Cannabis and Hemp Craze

Cannabidiol-infused foods and beverages are becoming more trendy in the culinary world.

CBD, as it is more commonly called, is a cannabis compound that is believed to help relieve anxiety, help people sleep and stabilize moods. Although there have been few scientific studies to prove these benefits, CBD is becoming more mainstream.

But CBD is just the beginning. Marijuana is also an up-and-coming food and beverage ingredient. Currently legal in some form in 33 states and Washington, DC, industry watchers predict full federal legalization of marijuana by 2021. According to a report on the cannabis edibles market from BDS Analytics, which specializes in granular market research on the substance, spending on cannabis edibles is expected to grow to $4.1 billion by 2022 from $1.5 billion in 2018.

New International Flavors

In recent years, Mediterranean and Asia Pacific flavors have become more mainstream, with diners indulging in the Hawaiian dish poke and falafel rice bowls.

However, in 2019 you'll likely see more of a North African and Middle Eastern influence. No need to get rid of your poultry seasoning and ground cumin, but plan to make room for flavor-packed seasonings like harissa, berbere, dukkah, and ras el hanout, all of which are heavily used in African cuisine.

A More Healthy Gut

Kimchi and Other Fremented Foods

If it has to do with fermenting, probiotics or gut-friendly food like kimchi, you will likely be eating more if it. Smoothies with kefir will be popular, and kombucha will show up in unexpected places like salad dressings.

Vegetables are on Top

Salad-making robots will show up in hospitals and airports, where freshly made food is not easy to find at all hours. The systems rely on chilled containers of fresh ingredients that are restocked during the course of the day. Push a few buttons on a keypad and the robot makes a custom salad topped with dressing.

Mushrooms - which have acquired what food marketers call a health halo and are expected to pop up in teas, desserts, jerky and cocktails — and sea vegetables, which most people just call seaweed are experiencing the fastest growing demand. Seaweed is wildly popular across many cuisines in Asia, and this marine plant will gain more traction in the U.S. in 2019. We expect eaters all over the country to be adding it to their DIY salads and bowls to reap the benefits of the plant’s good-for-you vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Because of the E-Coli scare with romaine lettuce, expect to see little-known lettuce varieties showing up on menus, and an explosion in lettuces grown hydroponically, many of them in urban container farms. Some chefs are rallying around celtuce, a lettuce with a leafy, bitter top and a stalk that’s kind of a cross between celery and asparagus.

Current Diet Fads

The "keto" ( the name of a high-fat, low-carb diet ) diets may be losing steam but is still the top diet fad. The term “pegan” — a cross between a paleo and a vegan diet — will take hold.

Water Lily Seed  is a traditional Indian superfood (known as phool makhana) that US consumers are view as a vegan/paleo/gluten-free snack food that has protein content and assists in weight loss. It is being promoted as a puffed snack by two Indian-US brands.

Interest in MCT oil, a distillation from coconut and other natural sources, exploded after it was widely used as a supplement in paleo and keto diets. Now, products are being introduced with MCT oil as a featured ingredient to promote weight loss and other features. It has no flavor or odor and is also used as an additive in coffee, smoothies and other drinks.


Cooking dinner in foil packets is poised for popularity as it requires barely any clean-up and is a blast from the past (camping trips). Millennials want convenience - they love easy when it comes to food. Millennials are the drivers behind meal kits, grocery delivery services, food trucks, online ordering and the growth of heat-and-eat options at grocery stores. 

Looking ahead, a new wave of food preparation shortcuts will be available offering new conveniences such as single serve meal kits at retail and a new generation of prepared meals, sauces and sides that emulate the foods found at restaurants. Millenials consider themselves foodies but they still want convenience.

Nut Butter Gives Way to Seed Butter

Peanut butter is a classic, and alternative nut butters like almond and cashew have been popular for years. And, while seed butters like sunflower seed butter and tahini (sesame seed) are nothing new—in fact, tahini has been a staple in Middle Eastern cuisine for centuries—expect to start seeing them everywhere in 2019.

“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,” reads the KIND 2019 Healthy Snacking Trend Report.

Sustainability Issues

In recent years, U.S. consumers have been looking for some form sustainability from food industry practices. From packaging to production, shoppers have been willing to pay more to feel like they are helping the environment. As sustainable business practices across the food and beverage industries become the norm, companies have begun to change their ways to gain a competitive edge and boost profits.

According to the 2018 EcoFocus Trend Study conducted by EcoFocus Worldwide, grocery shoppers have greater expectations of packaging than ever before – especially when it relates to healthy food and beverages – and greater expectations for brands and grocers.Whether it is related to the topic of recyclability or the use of less plastic, 68% of grocery shoppers say it is extremely or very important “to choose foods or beverages that are packaged responsibly.” This is up five points in four years. Just over half of grocery shoppers agree or strongly agree that they have changed what they were buying due to the type or amount of packaging.


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