Sustainable Food Trends for 2022

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Infographic Source: Chetu – Food Safety And Quality Management Software

By Elin Östman, Guest Contributor

The world is changing. The way we live our lives, the things that we purchase, and how much time we spend with friends and family are all different than they were just a few years ago. One thing that has not changed? Our food needs! We need to provide food for ourselves, whether it’s in the form of vegetables or meat (or both), and we want it to be nourishing and energizing as well.

A recent study by the World Resources Institute predicts that in 2022, sustainable food will be a $2 trillion industry. This is largely because people are demanding more plant-based foods. Fast-food companies are now offering plant-based meat alternatives so customers can order what they want without feeling guilty about it.

This means that food trends in 10 years will be all about sustainability. More people than ever before are looking for ways to live healthier lifestyles which means they’ll turn to plant-based diets. Plant-based milks are projected to hit $14 billion in sales over the next 12 years!

Food trends come and go. But some food trends seem to be gaining more momentum than others. One of these is a sustainable food system. In this article, we’ll talk about some sustainable food trends that will be popular in 2022.

Food Waste in 2022

One of the biggest challenges for the food industry in the next five years will be cutting down on food waste. In a study by Feeding America, 59 percent of Americans said that they had experienced food insecurity in their lifetime.

In turn, a whopping 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted each year, which totals over 60 billion pounds. This includes both loss and spoilage. The issue is further complicated by drought and climate change producing unpredictable weather patterns around the country.

Food waste isn’t just an environmental problem; it’s also a social problem with financial consequences for both families and businesses. As we get closer to 2022, food waste will likely become more prominent as an issue, and sustainable solutions will continue to develop and grow in popularity among consumers.

Upcycling low-value foods into higher-value products

Some companies are looking for ways to turn that wasted food into something else that can be eaten or used, which we call upcycled foods. For example, some restaurants create dishes using low-value foods like black beans and barley to help their chefs experiment with new recipes while also reducing food waste.

Others are turning this wasted food into compost by finding new ways to use it as fertilizer for plants or donating it to animal feed operations instead of finding new uses for it.

The growth of sustainable food

What is sustainable food? There are many different definitions for sustainable food, but it has come to mean food grown in an environmentally friendly way, tastes good, and doesn’t harm the environment.

Sustainable food is typically grown organically or locally to reduce the environmental footprint of harvesting, processing, and shipping. For example, the Environmental Working Group recommends foods grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.

The movement towards sustainable food can be traced back to people wanting their food to be healthy— not just tasty. As more people are looking for ways to live healthier lifestyles, the plant-based movement has taken off in recent years. Plant-based meat alternatives are expected to reach $5 billion by 2024, while plant-based milk will hit $14 billion in sales over the next 12 years.

Innovation in plant-based foods

Plant-based meat alternatives and products made from plants are expected to grow $5 billion over the next four years.

Companies are disrupting the industry. They’re providing consumers with plant-based alternatives to meat, chicken, and fish that have a taste and texture as close as possible to their animal-based counterparts. Both companies have seen exponential growth in their stocks over the last few years. And if their success continues, it’s no wonder that more plant-based food brands are popping up.

One example of a success story is Beyond Meat, which sells plant-based products like beefless burgers, chickenless nuggets, and eggless eggs. The company was valued at $1.6 billion after its latest round of funding this year.

People are looking for healthier lifestyles, so it’s no surprise that plant-based milk sales are expected to hit $14 billion by 2028, with a global market share of 20 percent. This will be driven by demand for almond milk and soy milk, which is projected to maintain their position as the most popular plant-based milk for another five years before giving way to plant-based coconut milk.

In 2022, one expects to see an increase in the number of sustainable food product launches from various companies — a direct response to consumer demand.

Sea plants

If you’ve been following news about sustainable foods, you may have heard about “sea plants.” Sea plants are a great example of how food production is adapting to climate change.

In particular, sea plants supply a significant amount of protein for humans—and they’re good for the environment too. In the next few years, new developments will likely focus on how sea plants can be produced in large quantities with minimal strain on resources. Learn more about this healthy trend by diving in here.

Plant-based grazing boards

One of the top food trends and most popular ways to get more plant-based food into your diet is by incorporating meatless dishes into your weekly meal plan.

Meatless plates are not only easier on the environment, but they also offer a lot of benefits for our bodies. If you’re looking for new ideas for recipes that will boost your health and support sustainable living, check out this article on plant-based charcuterie, very on-trend for 2022.

A broader view of foods for immune support

Worldwide, an increasing number of people are experiencing immune system issues. In 2022, more emphasis will be placed on finding foods that support immune health. The growth in this market is expected to be so significant that it’s predicted to surpass growth in other food markets by 2024.

While many people have been turning to traditional Western medicine for treatments, which may not always be effective or sustainable, a growing number of people are seeking out holistic remedies. This includes natural remedies and dietary changes that support the immune system.

Some examples of natural remedies include taking a probiotic, eating a high-antioxidant diet, and eating fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.

Carbon-labelling

Some food brands, like Oatly and Quorn, are implementing carbon labelling on their products to combat climate change. Carbon labelling refers to labeling products with a measure of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with producing and transporting them.

The carbon footprint of foods will also be more comprehensively tracked with new global standards for carbon labelling on food products. The labelling will help customers understand their food choices’ impact on climate change and emissions into the environment.

Increased focus on food safety

In 2022, health continues to be in the spotlight, and in particular, food safety will be a hot topic. Food manufacturers will have to improve their standards and methods to get more people on board with sustainable foods. This means paying closer attention to sanitation and ensuring your products are free from pathogens.

This will happen by providing consumers with more information about how they make their products. This transparency should give customers peace of mind when deciding if a product is right for them.

Did you know? On Jan. 5, the US FDA published a new, interactive public data dashboard that allows anyone to view historical data from the Reportable Food Registry (RFR), a tool that helps sound the alarm if there is a food-related safety issue. The RFR program helps state and local entities better determine when to issue health alerts, take steps to remove harmful food from the market or other actions to protect public safety.

Sustainable food packaging

The development of sustainable packaging for food is one key to the success of the plant-based movement. With more and more people looking for healthier lifestyles, companies are investing in new and sustainable packaging materials.

Plant-based meat alternatives will use packaging made from plant-based material such as cashew or coconut oil, while dairy products such as milk will be packaged in paper cartons or glass jars. Packaging will be compostable and recyclable so that these products can easily be disposed of without harming the environment.

The future of sustainable food

One of the key factors in the rise of a plant-based food system is offering a healthy alternative to meat. The benefits of a plant-based diet have been well documented, and it’s not just health-conscious consumers that are choosing this lifestyle.

In fact, according to a recent report from market research company Mintel, 22 percent of all American consumers now consider themselves vegetarian or vegan.

The future of sustainable food is looking very promising. As more people become interested in healthier lifestyles and environmentally friendly options, we will see even more developments in the plant-based movement over the next few years.

Conclusion

There’s no question that sustainable food is on the rise. The demand for healthy, organic, fair trade, non-GMO foods has skyrocketed and spawned a slew of new food trends about sustainability.

That’s why we’ve compiled the future of sustainable food trends that are sure to make their mark over the next few years.


Dr Elin Östman is the Chief Scientist Officer of Good Idea, promoting blood sugar balance in every meal. She had spent 15 years of research identifying and testing food concepts with positive health benefits. Find more about her on LinkedIn.


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