The Hottest Food Trends In 2024, According To Whole Foods

For the past nine years, Whole Foods has released an annual report forecasting the food trends expected to gain traction in the following year. These are not merely retro food trends; they are carefully researched and selected by the Whole Foods Trends Council, a team of 50 Whole Foods associates who predict the foods and beverages likely to capture consumer interest in the coming months. This year, the group has identified 10 trends to watch.

While plant-based foods have surged in popularity, Whole Foods anticipates a shift from meat-alternative products to more veggie-centric ingredients. Rather than relying heavily on processed components to mimic the appearance and taste of real meat in items like vegetarian burger patties, vendors are expected to return to using actual vegetables and plants — think mushrooms, nuts, and legumes.

The second trend centers on chocolate, an item nearly everyone agrees deserves a spot on any food trend list. However, the Trends Council predicts a move towards products made from the cacao bean rather than its chocolate derivative, with items featuring cacao pulp and cacao fruit powder likely to emerge.

Another food expected to garner attention in 2024 is buckwheat. Traditionally associated with flour, this gluten-free seed is rich in nutrients like protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. It is predicted to be used in new forms, such as plant-based milks and snack foods.

Faux fish and elevated instant noodles will reign supreme

We've seen an array of meat alternatives, but faux fish has received significantly less attention — until now, according to the Trends Council. The group anticipates that faux fish made from vegetables will soon gain popularity.

If you reside in a hot, dry climate, you're likely well-acquainted with the importance of water conservation, and it seems the broader food industry is aligning with this concept. A growing number of food brands are becoming conscious of water waste, creating products that actively support conservation efforts, which consumers are expected to notice in the coming year.

Fiery peppers are nothing new to the culinary scene, but 2024 is expected to introduce a variety of peppers previously unknown to many, and these will rank alarmingly high on the Scoville scale. Expect to find them in unexpected places, such as juices, kombuchas, and desserts.

Fans of quick and delicious instant ramen noodle dishes should be pleased to hear that their options are set to expand. However, instead of the typical sodium- and preservative-laden noodle cups, anticipate offerings featuring real ingredients and flavorful ingredients like black garlic and kimchi.

Self-care and natural energy boosts will take center stage

The next anticipated trend could be dubbed "self-care for your taste buds." The Trends Council's crystal ball predicts a rise in people indulging in luxury items, but in individual sizes and at affordable prices. Think mini decadent desserts, small servings of caviar, and effervescent beverages flavored with tropical fruits and spices.

The ninth trend for 2024 focuses on nutrition specifically tailored to women's health, encompassing not just supplements but also beverages and whole foods. Whole Foods foresees women taking a more proactive approach to their nutritional needs.

Lastly, the enduring demand for caffeine is unlikely to wane, but 2024 may bring more natural sources for that energy boost into the spotlight. Sugary, artificial drinks and supplements will likely be supplanted by ingredients from nature. This could be termed "caffeine with a conscience," featuring options like mushroom coffee or sparkling waters infused with ginseng.

Overall, these 10 food trends look to prioritize nutrition, sustainability, and flavor. Even if they don't take off as predicted in 2024, incorporating one or more of them into your lifestyle could be beneficial.