Kroger Reveals 10 Food Trends for 2022

Kroger released its fourth-annual Food Trends Report, which predicts emerging food trends, consumer behaviors, and popular items for 2022. This report centers on the continued dominance of at-home meals, powered by convenience, affordability, social gatherings, and the desire for sustainable and nutrient-rich food items.

Kroger’s food experts developed the Food Trends Report – from Our Brands product developers to culinary specialists, said the company in a press release. The report contains 10 top trends that will influence consumer food purchases in 2022 while uncovering the “why” behind the trends.

Overall, the trends can be broken down into emerging flavors, food item premiumization, and behavior shifts, which paint a picture of what consumers are sourcing and how they are preparing food in 2022.

The findings show that consumers continue to have an increased passion for home-prepared meals, an awareness of their health and the planet’s, and a desire to seek comfort through food, which directly correlates to what will be on shopping lists this year.

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“Last year, even as many Americans returned to work and eased back into social gatherings, it became apparent that new habits were formed in 2020 and that they are here to stay – including cooking more at home. 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.

Consumers can find the latest tastes and freshest food trends on and in the aisles of the supermarket chain’s stores.

Kroger’s top 10 food trends for 2022 can be broken down into three categories: emerging flavors, item premiumization, and behavior shifts.

Emerging Flavors

  1. Umami away! Umami is the taste that just makes things taste…better! Asian cuisine has long understood how ingredients high in umami help elevate other ingredients and round out flavors in a dish, but the umami trend is exploding across new products, multicultural cuisines, traditional cooking, and hybrid mash-ups.
  2. “Everything” is … everything. ‘Everything’ seasoning is the trending flavor for 2022, as consumers top their favorite meals with a savory touch. Be on the lookout for ‘everything’ inspired foods from the bakery, to dips and even specialty cheeses to follow the trend.
  3. Tastes of tequila. The biggest beverage taste of 2022 follows the umami trend – savory tequila. As consumers continue to host at home, tequila is a shareable spirit that opens the door to experimentation. With tons of mixes to explore and custom cocktails to create, consumers are using tequila as a base to delight guests with diverse palettes.
  4. #TBT flavors. As consumers cook more at home, recipes from their childhood are delivering comfort and joy to people. Think of the nostalgic 90s comeback but apply it to meals.

Item Premiumization

  • 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. 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. Customers can also recycle flexible plastic packaging from Kroger Our Brands products through our national partnership with TerraCycle.
  • Grocery glow up. Cooking at home isn’t just about convenience anymore; emulating restaurant and travel experiences at home with upleveled, “Instagram- able” meals is trending today. Consumers are raising the bar when recreating dining experiences at home and have been met with the premiumization of frozen food as well.
  • Hyper-local. Consumers are more conscious about the environmental and social impacts of their food purchases and 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 – so everyone can support and enjoy their local farms – and in-store bakery items are providing consumers a chance to support small businesses.

Behavior Shifts

  • Natural health & beauty. Consumers are seeking out natural products to increase beauty from the inside-out. Eating for beauty and medicine is trending with food and beverage products that have health and beauty-boosting benefits are trending in 2022, with examples including fermented kombuchas, collagen-rich bone broths, antioxidants, probiotics, reductions of sugar, and additions of omega-3s.
  • Good enough to share. Whether you’re vegan, organic, gluten-free or otherwise, you can have your cake and share it too. Foods for specific diets or eating styles taste so good when everyone can enjoy them and no one is left out of a great eating experience.
  • All aboard 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. As “boardies” start or end their day, breakfast and dessert boards open a world of food flavors without the commitment to a single dish.