Veggies are topping the 2017 food trend prediction lineups of everyone from Whole Foods Market to leading food research firms to the James Beard Foundation.
Mintel’s Global Food & Drink Trends 2017, for example, projects that preferences for natural, simple and flexible diets will drive further expansion of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused formulations, with 30 percent of U.S. adults who purchase vegetables trying to eat a more plant-based diet. The researcher’s Global New Products Database tracked a 25 percent increase in vegetarian claims and a 257 percent rise in vegan claims in global food and drink launches between 2010 and 2016.
The surging veggie momentum has also pushed kale consumption to a peak, prompting trendier types to look for the next “hot” vegetable. But the industry is still debating the identity of the next kale. The Food Marketing Institute, for instance, expects the volume of blue-green algae spirulina used in food and beverages to quintuple in 2020 compared with 2014. For more down-to-earth options, restaurant consultant Baum + Whiteman’s yearly trend predictions include food waste-friendly beet greens, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens and carrot tops.
Baum + Whiteman’s 2017 report also calls vegetables “the new comfort food” and points to an analysis of Pinterest’s users suggesting that “people are sifting the concept of comfort away from ‘emotional’ dishes like mac-and-cheese to those reflecting more healthful considerations. The word ‘veggies’ in Pinterest comfort food searches jumped 336% in the last year . . . while lasagna, macaroni and stroganoff were off 69%, 55% and 50%.”
- Bigger percentage of meat-free dishes in prepared entrées
- Three or four sides plus salad bundled as a meal deal
- Expanded salad greens that include root tops, like turnip and radish greens