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Whole Foods Names Top 2017 Product Trends

Exotic health elixirs, products made from byproducts and purple foods are among a number of 2017 trends predicted by buyers at Austin, Texas-based natural and organic grocer Whole Foods Market. Together the buyers boast more than a century of collective experience in sourcing products and tracking consumer preferences.

For 2017, trends include:

  • Wellness Tonics: The year’s hottest picks go beyond the fresh-pressed-juice craze, having roots in alternative medicine and global traditions, as well as drawing on beneficial botanicals and other ingredients such as kava, turmeric, adaptogenic herbs, medicinal mushrooms and apple cider vinegar.
  • Products from Byproducts: Food producers are finding new ways to give new life to byproducts, whether they’re leftover whey from strained Greek yogurt or spent grains from beer. For instance, Sir Kensington’s is adding leftover liquid from cooking chickpeas to vegan mayonnaise, while Eco-Olea is using water from its olive oil production as a base for a line of household cleaners.
  • Coconut Everything: While coconut oil and water have been popular for several years now, coconut flour tortillas, sugar aminos and more are new and on the rise. Coconut sap is turned into coconut sugar as an alternative to refined sweeteners; coconut oil is used in a growing list of natural beauty products; and the white flesh of the coconut is now present in flours, tortillas, chips, ice creams, butters and other products.
  • Japanese Food Beyond Sushi: Condiments such as ponzu, miso, mirin, sesame oil and plum vinegar; seaweed-based products such as dried kelp, wakame and nori; and Japanese-style pickles are among the Japanese products beyond sushi that are gaining in popularity. The trend also will impact breakfast and dessert, with shoppers experimenting with savory breakfast bowl combinations and a growing number of mocha flavors such as green tea and matcha, black seasame, and pickled plum.
  • Creative Condiments: Traditional global recipes and brand-new ingredients alike are taking center stage in the condiment category, including black sesame tahini, habanero jam, black garlic puree, beet salsa, piri piri sauce and Mexican hot chocolate spreads.
  • Rethinking Pasta: Pasta today has less influence from Italy and more from popular plant-based and clean-eating movements. Alternative-grain noodles made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas are becoming favorites, while grain-free options such as spiralized veggies and kelp noodles also are on the rise. Still, fresh-milled and seasonal pastas are experiencing their own rise in popularity, showing that pasta, overall, has something to offer everyone.
  • Purple Power: Purple foods such as varieties of cauliflower, asparagus,  sweet potatoes and corn; elderberries; and acai are popping up everywhere, with the color often indicating nutrient density and antioxidants.
  • On-the-go Beauty: "Athleisure” isn't just a fashion trend, but now also is reflected in natural beauty products. Multitasking ingredients and simple applications are allowing natural beauty brands to blur the line between skin care and makeup products, as well as simplifying routines by eliminating the need for special brushes and tools.
  • Flexitarian: Instead of following strict vegan, Paleo, gluten-free and other special diets that have gone mainstream, consumers will embrace healthy eating that’s less rigid, making conscious choices about what, when and how much to eat. Examples include eating vegan before 6 p.m., eating Paleo five days a week or eating gluten-free whenever possible.
  • Mindful Meal Prep: People aren’t asking themselves just what they’d like to eat, but also how meals can stretch their dollar, reduce food waste, save time and be healthier. Trends to watch include the “make some,/buy some,” approach, like using pre-cooked ingredients from the hot bar to jump-start dinner, or preparing a main dish from scratch and using frozen or store-bought ingredients as sides.
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