6 food predictions for 2024
It’s another New Year, which means it’s time for your annual goal-setting, exercise session, and desk cleaning.
It also means that it’s time for us to make a bunch of predictions!
The next hot superfood: Buckwheat
Gaining popularity as a cover crop to support soil health, buckwheat is a superfood seed rich in protein, carbs, and fiber. Buckwheat is a nutrient-rich, gluten-free grain that serves as a complete protein source, making it beneficial for heart health and suitable for those with gluten sensitivity.
Its high fiber content supports digestive health, aids in blood sugar control, and contributes to feelings of fullness, making it a nutritious addition to a well-rounded diet. It also benefits from antioxidant properties to boost overall well-being. Expect to see buckwheat in products ranging from alternative milk and pasta to crackers and granola.
Alternative morning fuel
In 2024, more folks will try out and adopt caffeine alternatives. We expect people to try new ways to boost their energy levels as the demand for clean caffeine alternatives continues to grow. Anticipate a wave of clever coffee and energy drinks infused with mushrooms, probiotics, and more. A few popular brands that are poised for a big 2024 include Four Sigmatic’s mushroom coffee blends, Bulletproof and Half Day probiotic teas.
Tough times for the meat market
Heading into 2024, the meat industry faces challenges amid shifting demand and environmental concerns. Inflation and pressure from activists may lead to a decline in meat production — particularly in beef. Some analysts anticipate the beef industry to experience a 4.5% decline in production and a 3% drop in consumption. On the other hand, the poultry industry is projected for slight growth — about 1.5% to 2% in 2024 — driven by consumer concerns about affordability. The growing plant-based and cultivated meat markets also don’t help the 2024 outlook for animal-based meat.
Water conservation and regenerative ag
Food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods brands are starting to take water conservation more seriously.
Some water brands are using water from fruit by-products that would otherwise go to waste, aligning with the growing practice of regenerative agriculture. Some brands are vying for Regenerative Organic Certification, which not only emphasizes soil health initiatives but also contributes to water conservation.
Beyond traditional conservation efforts, other NGOs are championing farmed oysters, using aquaculture to filter water and restore coastal ecosystems. Other lifestyle brands are introducing water-conscious products, ranging from dry shampoos to shampoo bars to laundry detergent sheets — all of which highlight a collective effort to support water conservation across different industries.
Complex spice options
Get ready for a spicy revolution in 2024. Whole Foods predicts that complex heat and spices will take over the culinary scene. From Scorpion Peppers to Guajillo Peppers or Hungarian Goathorn Peppers, you can expect a variety of spicy delights in fresh, whole, ground, or pickled forms.
Keep an eye out for heat not just in your food dishes but also in your drinks, as pepper-infused beverages — including canned tepache — offer a refreshing kick beyond kombuchas and juices. Familiar products like Tajín are starting to venture into new territories in the grocery store, spicing up items ranging from sushi to desserts.
Plant-based meat returns to … plants
As we discussed in a past edition of the Quick Sip, the alternative meat space is getting quite … err …creative. 2024 will bring the focus back to plants among plant-based options. Expect a surge of innovative protein-forward products featuring mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh, and legumes as alternatives to traditional meat and complex, lab-grown meat.
Notably, plant-based milk alternatives are also undergoing a transformation. Some brands are simplifying to just two ingredients, catering to the preferences of the vegetarian purist.