America enters 2023 at a unique juncture, when influences and events in the larger world are having a new impact on culture, the economy, travel, and food. Climate change and shifting attitudes on sustainability have combined with the looming potential of recession to affect how and what people are eating. From ready-to-eat meals and plant-based products to new flavors inspired by cultures around the globe, here are some of the trends to expect from the food industry in the coming year.
Social Impact of Food Choices
Consumers are perhaps more aware than ever of the impact of their purchasing power and its potential impact on the world around them. This means that how products are made and where the ingredients are sourced will be a much more important concern in 2023 and beyond. This is in part driven by the widespread adoption of smartphones and social media platforms; these days almost anyone has the ability to develop a following and exert influence over what is perceived as beneficial for the climate, farmers, or livestock animals. The social impact of food choices also extends into the realm of how various types of foods or ingredients impact our health and wellbeing. Just one example is the continued rise of natural food coloring in everything from baked goods to pasta.
Plant-Based Alternatives Continue to Grow
2023 is also highly likely to see a continuation of the growing interest in vegetarian and vegan options. What was once a fringe lifestyle choice has become mainstream in the United States and countries around the world. And even those who aren’t fully embracing vegan or vegetarian lifestyles are developing hybrid expressions of those eating patterns sometimes labeled “flexitarian.” The increased interest is due to both the potential health benefits of plant-based proteins as well as its ability to be sustainably produced. Veggie burgers and other meat substitutes have been being developed and reimagined for years, but the next frontier will be in plant-based seafood substitutes.
Gourmet in Less Time
The COVID-19-related time in isolation and the explosion of online sources for new recipes has prompted many people to explore new types of food to prepare and new methods for how to prepare it. At the same time, peoples’ lives are busier than ever, especially as we transition to this post-pandemic existence. This has created new opportunities for convenience foods, recipe boxes, and meal kits that feature ingredients that are high quality, healthy, and sustainably produced. This trend has made premium dry ingredient producers like Silva ideal sources for the kinds of easy to prepare and good-for-you meals that consumers are craving.
Searching for Sustainability
Large companies like Starbucks have been switching to paper straws and other compostable or recyclable packaging for the last few years partly because of the growing body of evidence about how plastic is damaging the environment and partly as a response to consumer demands. The trending topic of sustainability looks to continue in 2023 as more and more consumers become aware of and concerned about their individual impact on the environment. But the changes in packaging have increasingly been linked with broader changes to how food items are produced and the resources used to produce them.
Food for Health and Wellness
One of the most notable trends on social media in the last couple years is influencers who opine on foods that are healthy or unhealthy to eat. Though these opinions aren’t always borne out by scientific research, the fact that it has become such a popular genre speaks to the widespread interest in eating with health and wellness in mind. This trend will undoubtedly continue in 2023, and food producers are finding new ways of reformulating familiar brands and developing new ones that meet the needs of consumers.
One of the ways this is already being seen is in products like pasta and bread that have been fortified with protein and other additives that are known to have health benefits. A similar trend involves “hidden” vegetables in products that aren’t normally associated with vegetables; examples include kale being mixed into smoothies or cauliflower being incorporated into pizza dough. Adding vegetables into products like this infuses a variety of nutrients into foods that people eat everyday without having to feel like they’re “eating their vegetables.”
In the same way that popular films and television shows have been regularly rebooted and remade in recent years, many food items are making a comeback. Much of this trend is driven by the desire to recapture fond food memories from childhood for consumers of different generations. Snack brands like Pop-Tarts, Fritos, and Doritos are bringing back previously discontinued flavors and products to try and tap into this potent sense of nostalgia.
Yet even though nostalgia has probably always been a motivator, a different take—known by some as “newstalgia”—is another trend to look for in 2023. This new approach involves taking a well-known brand or recipe and reimagining it for the present time. There are many examples in the realm of snack foods, but it’s a trend that can also be seen in familiar but upscaled ready meals or a plant-based version of an old favorite. The goal is to combine a desire for new flavors with something that is comfortable and memorable.
Travel By Food
For many Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic meant an abrupt end to global travel plans. While we’re undoubtedly moving out of that era, there has still been somewhat of a lull in international travel. But that hasn’t stopped consumers from wanting to try out new flavors and experience foods from different cultures. Whether through cooking at home or visiting local restaurants that feature different cuisines, consumers are continually on the lookout for flavors and cooking techniques that come from other cultures.
Along with the desire to experience international cuisines is the emerging trend of adventurous flavor and texture combinations. One example of this is the combination of sweet and spicy foods. Foods as diverse as breakfast cereals and mixed nut blends are, for instance, pairing chocolate with spicy chile peppers. The adventurous flavor trend is also expected to take on an international flair, with combinations like Cajun and Vietnamese food that spices like cayenne and paprika with lemongrass and garlic.
At the Cutting Edge with Silva
The year is just getting started, but there are many reasons to believe that 2023 will see a whole new set of trends in food that expands the horizons of consumers’ culinary experiences. Silva International lives at the cutting edge of these food trends, and we are always on the lookout for new applications for our high quality ingredients. If you’d like to work with us in developing your new recipe, please contact us today. We are passionate about providing only the best ingredients so that you can keep delivering excellent products to your customers.