Whole Foods Market buyers forecast top 10 food trends for 2017

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Whole Foods Market
Photo: Whole Foods Market

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Whole Foods Market’s global buyers and experts compiled the trends to watch in 2017. From purple foods, to products from byproducts, to mindful meal prep, here are just a few top predictions according to the trend-spotters (you can catch the full list HERE).

Products from Byproducts

“Whether it’s leftover whey from strained Greek yogurt or spent grains from beer, food producers are finding innovative – and delicious – ways to give byproducts new life,” ​the forecasters wrote. Included in this category is WTRMLN WTR​, made from the fruit’s flesh and rind, which pop sensation Beyonce invested in​ back in the spring. 

Products from byproducts. Photo: Whole Foods Market

Other examples Whole Foods Market’s buyers mentioned are Eco-Olea, ​which uses water from its olive oil production as the base for a household cleaner line, and condiment brand Sir Kensington’s, which is repurposing leftover liquid from cooking chickpeas in a vegan mayo.

Coconut Everything

Coconut oil and water have been on the rise, but the forecasters see many new formats this fruit can be turned into. “Coconut flour tortillas, coconut sugar aminos and more unexpected coconut-based products are on the rise,” ​they wrote.

“Virtually every component of this versatile fruit-nut-seed (coconuts qualify for all three!) is being used in new applications. The sap is turned into coconut sugar as an alternative to refined sweeteners; the oil is used in a growing list of natural beauty products; and the white flesh of the coconut is now in flours, tortillas, chips, ice creams, butters and more.”

Examples include coconut flour Paleo wraps, 365 Everyday Value Fair Trade coconut chips and Pacifica Blushious Coconut & Rose Infused Cheek Color for cosmetics.


“In 2017, consumers will embrace a new, personalized version of healthy eating that’s less rigid than typical vegan, Paleo, gluten-free and other “special diets” that have gone mainstream,” ​the forecasters wrote.

And CPG brands are already starting to cater to these ‘flexitarian’ shoppers—data from Innova Market Insights revealed that 5% of new food and beverage launches in 2015 to featured vegan claims​. “The snacks, cereals, ready meals, bakery, and soft drink categories together account for half of US new product launches tracked with a vegetarian and/or vegan claim between 2011 and 2015," ​said the Innova report.

Examples include: ​365 Everyday Value Riced Cauliflower (used for clean-eating favorites like gluten-free pizza crusts), Epic Bison Apple Cider Bone Broth, and Forager Cashew Yogurt.

Rethinking Pasta

Modern Table's bean pasta meal kit represents a crossover of two trends: Rethinking Pasta and Mindful Meal Prep. Photo: Whole Foods Market

“Today’s pastas are influenced less by Italian grandmothers and more by popular plant-based and clean-eating movements,” ​the experts forecasted. 

“Alternative grain noodles made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas (which also happen to be gluten free) are quickly becoming favorites, while grain-free options like spiralized veggies and kelp noodles are also on the rise. That said, more traditional fresh-milled and seasonal pastas are having a moment too, which means pasta is cruising into new territories with something for everyone.”

Purple Power

“Richly colored purple foods are popping up everywhere: purple cauliflower, black rice, purple asparagus, elderberries, acai, purple sweet potatoes, purple corn and cereal. The power of purple goes beyond the vibrant color and often indicates nutrient density and antioxidants.

Back to the Roots Purple Corn Cereal, Jackson’s Honest Purple Heirloom Potato Chips, Que Pasa Purple Corn Tortilla Chips, Love Beets and Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes are all examples of this fast-growing trend.”

Mindful Meal Prep

In a recent interview with FoodNavigator-USA​, CEO of Cultures for Health Julie Feickert said DIY food kits are “the future of our society,” and Whole Foods Market’s buyers seem to concur.

“People aren’t just asking themselves what they’d like to eat, but also how meals can stretch their dollar, reduce food waste, save time and be healthier,”​ they wrote. “Trends to watch include the ‘make some/buy some,’ approach, like using pre-cooked ingredients from the hot bar to jumpstart dinner, or preparing a main dish from scratch and using frozen or store-bought ingredients as sides.”

Examples in this category include Modern Table Meals’ bean pasta kits​, as well as Grainful’s savory steel-cut oat sides and frozen meals​.

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