Emerging flavors tops Kroger’s 2022 food trend predictions

Retail giant Kroger Co. announced its 2022 Food Trends Report that predicts 10 top trends that will influence consumer food purchases in 2022, while uncovering the “why” behind the trends.

Judie Bizzozero, Content Director

January 26, 2022

3 Min Read
Kroger's top food trends for 2022

The 4th annual 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. The findings reveal consumers continue to have an increased passion for home-prepared meals, an awareness of both their own 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.

Kroger’s top 10 trends for 2022 are divided into three categories: emerging flavors, item premiumization and behavior shifts.

Emerging flavors

Umami away. 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 mashups. New products touting umami include condiments, sweet & spicy chile sauce, plant-based Korean-style meatballs and wild mushroom ravioli.

“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.

Tastes of tequila. Savory tequila follows the umami trend, and 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 palates.

#TBT flavors. As consumers cook more at home, recipes from their childhood are delivering comfort and joy to people. New products banking on nostalgia include fluffer nutter ice cream, PB&J sandwich cookies, pimento cheese spread and mini pizza bagels.

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 also can recycle flexible plastic packaging from Kroger Our Brands products through its national partnership with TerraCycle. New products include egg and Cheddar croissants with plant-based breakfast patties, plant-based cheesecakes, cupcakes and mac and cheese, baking mixes made with upcycled okara flour, and nondairy cheese shreds and slices.

Grocery glow up. Cooking at home isn’t just about convenience anymore but rather emulating restaurant and travel experiences at home with Instagram-worthy meals. Consumers are raising the bar when recreating dining experiences at home and have been met with the premiumization of frozen food as well. Be on the lookout for grass-fed burgers and hot, organic plant-based kimchi meatballs, gourmet pizzas and Ruby chocolate ice cream bars.

Hyper-local. Consumers are more conscious about the environmental and social impacts of their 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 and in-store bakery items are providing consumers a chance to support small businesses.

Behavior Shifts

Natural health & beauty. 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 vegan, organic, gluten-free or otherwise, consumers can have their 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 flavors without the commitment to a single dish.


About the Author(s)

Judie Bizzozero

Content Director, Informa Markets Health & Nutrition

Judie Bizzozero oversees food and beverage content strategy and development for the Health & Nutrition group at Informa Markets (which acquired VIRGO in 2014), including the Food & Beverage Insider, Natural Products Insider and SupplySide/Food ingredients North America brands. She reports on market trends, science-based ingredients, and challenges and solutions in the development of healthy foods and beverages. Bizzozero graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

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