Kroger announces 10 food trend predictions for this year

FILE: A charcuterie board is literally the easiest thing to throw together and, when done right, makes a gorgeous and delectable centerpiece. Pick 3 different kinds of cheese, three different meats, grab some figs, a handful of grapes, a few rosemary sprigs and you are in business. CONTRIBUTED BY KAITLIN SKILKEN

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FILE: A charcuterie board is literally the easiest thing to throw together and, when done right, makes a gorgeous and delectable centerpiece. Pick 3 different kinds of cheese, three different meats, grab some figs, a handful of grapes, a few rosemary sprigs and you are in business. CONTRIBUTED BY KAITLIN SKILKEN

Food experts who work for Kroger say working from home and easing back into social gatherings has caused new food habits to be formed. Food trends can be broken down into emerging flavors, food item premiumization and behavior shifts, Kroger said in a news release.

The trends “paint a picture of what consumers are sourcing and the ways in which they are preparing food in 2022.”

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“Customers are enjoying the convenience, affordability and just plain fun that comes from preparing meals at home,” said Stuart Aitken, Kroger’s senior vice president, chief merchant and marketing officer. “Unlocking these trends allows us to prepare for the year ahead, adapt our offerings, and innovate ...” he said.

Emerging flavors

1. Umami. The umami trend is exploding across new products, multicultural cuisines, traditional cooking and hybrid mash-ups.

2. “Everything” seasoning. Consumers top their favorite meals with it to make it savory. It is inspiring foods in the bakery, dips and specialty cheeses.

3. Tequila. A shareable spirit that opens the door to experimentation. Tons of mixes to explore and custom cocktails to create.

4. #TBT flavors. Think of the nostalgic ‘90s comeback, but apply it to meals. Comfort foods such as Fluffer Nutter Ice Cream, sandwich cookies, mini pizza bagels, pimento cheese spread, corn dogs and more.

Item premiumization

5. PLANeT-based foods. Consumers continue to focus on the health of the planet, not just through plant-based foods, but also by reducing their waste impact with upcycled ingredients and more recyclable packaging, Kroger said. Plant-based foods are now being purchased for indulgence, comfort, and nostalgia, rather than being solely known as the healthier choice for our bodies, while still helping consumers lower their carbon footprint.

6. Grocery glow up. “Instagram- able” meals are popular and Kroger says consumers are raising the bar when recreating restaurant dining experiences at home.

7. Hyper-local: Consumers are making it a point to purchase products grown or made close to home. Alternative farms have created a way to get locally sourced, natural ingredients at their peak freshness.

Behavior shifts

8. Natural health & beauty. Eating for beauty and medicine, with food and beverage products that have health and beauty-boosting benefits. Examples include fermented kombuchas, collagen-rich bone broths, antioxidants, probiotics, reductions of sugar and additions of omega-3s.

9. Good enough to share. Whether you’re vegan, organic, gluten-free or otherwise, foods for specific diets or eating styles are made shareable to allow others to enjoy different tastes.

10. Charcuterie. Charcuterie has created a board craze, especially when it comes to breakfast and dessert. Boards have branched out beyond appetizers to offer consumers a variety of small portions to make the most out of every meal.