From ‘Phat fats’ and shelf-stable probiotics to faux meat snacks … Whole Foods unveils top 10 food trends for 2019

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

From ‘Phat fats’ and shelf-stable probiotics to faux meat snacks …  Whole Foods unveils top 10 food trends for 2019

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Pacific Rim flavors, shelf-stable probiotics and faux meat snacks will all gain traction in 2019 according to buyers, product developers, category managers and chefs at Whole Foods Market, which has just unveiled its annual list of 10 trends to watch in the year ahead.

On this list to watch (in no particular order) are…

1 - Pacific Rim flavors

Look out for flavor inspiration from the Pacific Rim, says Whole Foods, with ingredients such as longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste, and jackfruit as a meat alternative (eg. instead of barbecue pulled pork); along with tropical fruits such as guava, dragon fruit and passionfruit.

In the coming year, Whole Foods will launch a limited collection of products inspired by Pacific Rim fruits, including guava tropical vinaigrette, pineapple passionfruit sparkling mineral water, mango pudding mix and passionfruit coconut frozen fruit bars under its 365 private label.

2 - Shelf-stable probiotics

In 2019, expect more innovative probiotic integrations in food — and not just in the supplement or refrigerated aisles, says Whole Foods. “New strains of probiotics such as Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 and Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856 are making more shelf-stable applications possible. Wellness-focused brands are making it easier to get more probiotics in your day by adding functional probiotic ingredients to your pantry staples through products like granola, oatmeal, nut butters, soups and nutrition bars.”

3 - Phat Fats

Fats are making a comeback with the rising popularity of keto, paleo, grain-free and ‘pegan’ (paleo + vegan) diets, says Whole Foods. “Along with these phat fats, higher protein and lower-carb combos will continue to trend across simple and easy snacking categories. New integrations of fat sources — like keto-friendly nutrition bars crafted with MCT oil powder, coconut butter–filled chocolates, snacks affectionately called “fat bombs” and a new wave of ready-to-drink vegan coffee beverages inspired by butter coffees — are busting on the scene allowing consumers to get their fat fill with convenient treats.”

Look out for “popcorn made with grass-fed ghee, multiple flavors of ghee that range from sweet to savory, plus new variations on traditional meaty snacks like chicken chips and thin, crisped beef jerky​.”

4 - Next level hemp

While CBD is not allowed in foods and supplements, acknowledges Whole Foods, “retailers, culinary experts and consumers can’t miss the cannabis craze when visiting food industry trade shows, food innovators conferences or even local farmers markets. But there’s more to this trend than CBD. Andalou Naturals has introduced hemp plant stem cells in their CannaCell body care collection.

"Non-cannabis-derived sources from the endocannabinoid system (which are named after the cannabis plant that inspired their discovery), like phytocannabinoids that exist in nature, are also becoming more visible and prevalent due to thegrowing trend. It’s clear that hemp-derived products are going mainstream, if not by wide distribution, then by word of mouth.”

5 - Faux meat snacks

Expect to see more craveable plant-based ‘meaty’ snacks this year with appeal to vegans/vegetarians and meat eaters alike, says Whole Foods. “Mushrooms like king trumpet will play a key role here, flexing their flavor and texture powers in tasty jerky, ‘pork’ rinds and ‘bacon’ snacks (used in both Pig Øut​ Pigless Bacon Chips and Snacklins Cracklins Without the Pork) to offer up a satisfying crunch.  

6 - Eco-conscious packaging

Dozens of like-minded brands in the OSC​Compostable Packaging Collaborative​ have pooled their efforts to make important advances in flexible product pouches, says Whole Foods. “Some companies are making commitments to ban straws, while brands like Whole Foods are setting up regional pilots to test recyclable strawless, sipper lids made from PET, without increasing the plastic content of a lid/straw combination.

“Expect to see an emphasis on reusing, with more produce departments going “BYOVB” (bring your own vegetable bag) and traditionally single-use packages going multi-use, like multi-use (and compostable!) food wraps made from beeswax, as well as waxed canvas or silicone alternatives to the usual plastic storage bags that can be used for sandwiches and snacks.”

7 - Trailblazing frozen treats

New pints are exploring innovative bases including avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water, says Whole Foods. “Look down specialty frozen aisles and you might find plant-based frozen desserts like CocoWhip Soft Serve and ice creams with savory swirls of artisanal cheese...

“Globally-inspired frozen desserts are taking the stage — possibly sparked by 2018’s mochi ice cream obsession​ and a Thai rolled ice cream craze — with icy indulgences like airy Taiwanese snow ice and Mexican nieves de garrafa, not to mention stretchy, chewy, Turkish ice creams that get their unique texture from mastic and other unique sources. Popsicles and gelatos won’t be left out of the fun — they’ll get some buzz with boozier infusions coming to market.”

8 - Marine munchies, beyond seaweed


Sea greens are showing up in dishes such as seaweed butter and kelp noodles while “puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives with algae ingredients, crispy snackable salmon skins with omega-3s, and kelp jerkies are just a few testing the waters.”

A salty sea fennel and olive blend will debut on Whole Foods Market olive bars in 2019, and brands such as Ocean’s Halo include kelp as an ingredient in its miso and ramen broths, condiments and sauces, says Whole Foods.

9 – Snack time, upgraded

smash crispy

Snacking “will take a turn toward the fancy,” predicts Whole Foods. “Snacking has become an occasion of its very own — think charcuterie or cheese boards for one, one-ounce portions of Cypress Grove cheeses paired with demi-baguettes as desk snacks and more mini meals. More takes on snacking nod to the comforting treats of your second grade lunchbox, with better ingredients.

“Portable snack packages will feature bites like prosciutto and aged mozzarella, and artisanal versions of classic snacks like cheese or peanut butter cracker sandwiches... Upgraded retro treats will star on 2019’s shelves — candy-coated Project 7 Organic Chewies burst with intense fruit flavor and are gluten free; Smashmallow’s marshmallow and puffed rice treats are gluten free and made with organic sugar; Little Secrets Crispy Wafers are long crunchy rectangles dipped in fair trade chocolate.”

10 - Purchases that empower

wholefoods-eco packaging

Shoppers will continue to expect more from the brands and businesses they choose to support, says Whole Foods.

“In 2019, thoughtful consideration behind purchases moves beyond (but doesn’t exclude) environmental stewardship and animal welfare, and becomes more people-focused.”

Greyston Bakery​ practices an open hiring model — no questions asked — to practice what they call “radical inclusion,” which includes anyone who has faced barriers to employment.

Kuli Kuli​ produces moringa powder which is often grown and processed by women, and has provided more than $1.5 million in income to women-led farming cooperatives, nonprofits and family farmers around the world through their organic moringa supply chain. 

Whole Planet Foundation​ partners with suppliers such as Chobani, Frontier Co-op, Naked Juice, Wallaby Organic, Papyrus-Recycled Greetings and more to alleviate poverty through microcredit loans for the world’s poorest people — mostly women — who become empowered microentrepreneurs lifting themselves and their families out of poverty.”

This year’s predictions came from Whole Foods Market’s in-house specialists​ with expertise in cheese, specialty, grocery, meat, seafood, prepared foods, produce and body care.

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