“Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready.” This is a lesson that was instilled within me by one of my favorite track coaches years ago. Staying ready in our industry means remaining privy to the trends and constantly evolving consumer spending habits. Providing a beneficial resource to help buyers anticipate upcoming trends, KeHe Distributors has released its list of Macro Trends to Watch in 2022, gathered by KeHE experts.
First up on the list of trends is food adventuring. While many consumers find comfort in familiar flavors, shoppers are also searching for unique twists in taste, experimenting with trending flavors such as yuzu, hibiscus, ube, and tzatziki as cuisine exploration remains on the rise. KeHE experts also noted that while Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines dominate as the most-reached international cuisine types, younger generations are driving consumption of African and Mediterranean cuisines and making them more mainstream, according to the release.
In the next year, KeHE experts also predict the continued rise of plant-based varieties like ready-to-eat meals and alternatives, and anticipates an increase in demand for sugar replacements and new categories utilizing food technology.
Similar to Whole Foods Market’s predictions for 2022 shopping trends, KeHE has also noted “mindful drinkers” will be driving demand throughout the year, as more shoppers go in search of alcohol-free specialty drinks.
Also on the list of this year’s predictions is dual purpose offerings, as consumers have become more concerned about how their food purchases impact the environment, as well as farming practices and regenerative agriculture. KeHE predicts that shoppers will continue to look for products that are upcycled, zero waste, and have a reduced carbon footprint.
Another trend not dying down any time soon is the demand for convenience, which was dramatically impacted by pandemic restrictions. Anticipating these at-home food habits to continue, KeHE expects shoppers to keep gravitating toward time-saving products and grab-and-go snacks. In addition, chef-inspired prepared meals, home delivery meals, and refrigerated entrees and appetizers are also expected to see growth.
Next on the company’s extensive list of trends is blurring diet lines, as KeHE expects consumers to be more proactive with their health while remaining flexible in their diets, leading to the trend of picking and choosing from diet fads and customizing them to meet consumers’ personal needs.
Permissible indulgence has also made its way onto this year’s predictions list. According to KeHE experts, consumers are increasingly seeking indulgent options that are guilt-free. Ingredient and nutritional callouts that make an item feel both decadent and healthy are sure to appeal to shoppers in search of a sweet treat.
Continuing its rise in popularity is the demand for local products. The trend toward shopping locally does not seem to be slowing down, and buyers can optimize signage, shelf tags, and other merchandising tools to draw attention to locally sourced offerings.
Next up on the list: grains! Over the last several years, there has been a growth in the popularity of oat milk, which has sparked interest in other categories as an alternative ingredient. KeHE experts anticipate a rise of barley, hemp, pistachio, and buckwheat as future grain alternatives as well.
Last but not least, KeHE has also pointed out a change in consumer behavior sparked by macroeconomic issues, such as inflation and supply chain shortages. As consumers look to get the most out of every food or beverage, ingredients that are naturally beneficial or immunity-boosting are capturing more attention and dollars. For example, mushrooms have made their entrance into the beverage, coffee, creamer, and snacking categories.
For more information on each of the predicted trends, click here.
Deli Market News will keep a close watch on these trends throughout the course of 2022, so keep clicking back to find out where the retail opportunities lie.