FreshDirect’s top 10 trends for 2019: From oat innovation to CBD-infused food

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

©GettyImages /Hoxton/Tom Merton
©GettyImages /Hoxton/Tom Merton

Related tags Trends Grocery shopping

FreshDirect, an online fresh food retailer based in the Northeast, along with its in-house trendspotting experts have shared its top 10 major trends consumers can expect to see more of in 2019.

1. Bringing fresh into shelf-stable

As shoppers are spending more of their dollars on fresh options, traditional shelf-stable products are migrating away from the center-store aisles to chilled sections in new areas of the store.

“Perfect Bar, the leading refrigerated bar on the market, Union’s Duck L’orange bar, and Haven’s Kitchen’s Red Pepper Romesco sauce are prime examples of new takes on shelf-stable products that use fresh, natural ingredients in convenient and creative ways,”​ said FreshDirect.

“This coming year will bring more innovative, fresh, and sustainable takes on shelf-stable staples.”

2. CBD-Infused Foods

While not legal for use​ in food and beverage products, according to the FDA, CBD  or cannabidiol (a non-psychoactive ingredient derived from the cannabis plant), which has been linked to anti-inflammatory properties is finding its way into more consumables products.

“In 2018, we saw CBD pop up in the form of tinctures and beauty products. In 2019, CBD will break into the food category in full force driven by the help of risk-taking innovators. CBD oil-infused products will first surge in the drinks category, with CBD-infused drinks driving the functional-wellness drink category. CBD will also be prominently featured on more menus next year and as the star of new food products, such as salad dressings,”​ FreshDirect noted.

3. High-Quality Canned Fish

Artisanal, high-quality canned fish has started popping up in restaurants as featured menu items across the nation. The next wave of sustainable fish will be in the canned format,  which allows for unique experimentation and allows consumers to try new species from all over the world, regardless of season, according to FreshDirect

“Grocers will start to carry a wide breadth of high-quality canned fishes, ranging by source, species, and flavor profiles,”​ the online retailer mentioned.

4. Oats

“Nut milk is out, while oat milk is storming in,”​ FreshDirect commented, noticing an increased demand for oat milk within the dairy alternatives category led by brands such as Swedish brand Oatly​, now available at retailers across the US. 

“Oat milk is more sustainable and not as water intensive as other non-dairy milks, while also more abundant and inexpensive, which will help keep high-quality products at lower costs. Oat milk will continue to evolve in 2019 into new dairy-alternative products, such as oat-based yogurts and cheeses,”​ added FreshDirect.

5.Premium Spice Packets

Out are the days of subscriptions, kits, and jars of spices. Next year will see a surge in innovative takes on portion-controlled spice packets and simmer sauces, according to FreshDirect.

Through premium spice packets available through retailers, customers will have nearly any international cuisine available to them and ready in one pan.

“Premium spice packets fit into the developing themes of portion control and one-time use, giving consumers more options with less commitment. Premium spice packets will also make their way into retailer kitchens by being incorporated in more prepared and value-added food offerings.”

6. Organic 2.0

Next year, there will be more tech-enabled local organic offerings developed by vertical farming companies along with more bio-dynamic processes and growing methods such as brands and products in their “transitional stage” of converting from conventional to organic farming practices.

“Although organic penetration has been growing year-over-year, customers have recently evolved to become more enthusiastic about products with positive environmental impact, regardless of whether they carry formal organic certification,”​ FreshDirect found.

7. Cauliflower Power

Cauliflower is overtaking other vegetables in popularity and ability to serve a low-carb alternative to staple foods such as pizza crust, rice, crackers, pretzels, and tater tots.

“Keep an eye out for new developments by emerging brands like Caulipower, whose frozen pizza crusts are FoodKick’s best seller in the category,”​ added FreshDirect.

8. Evolution of Kid Snacks

Next year, will bring serious innovations in the snacks category, specifically in kid snacks. FreshDirect predicts that kid snacks will shift in two ways – there will be more nutritional plays on traditional kids’ favorites and adult staples will also become more kid-friendly.

“Essential snacking items like snack bars, jerky, cookies, and crackers will welcome more child-friendly flavors and textures, with a shift towards more nutritious and clean ingredients. National players will continue to invest in developing cleaner, kid-friendly snacks and there will be a surge in new innovations.”

9. Spreading Local

FreshDirect’s experts are seeing new and exciting twists on local that will gain more penetration in 2019. Vertical farming and its controlled methods will enable new innovations like tropical items sourced locally, as well as out-of-season strains and varietals being grown locally. There will also be a resurgence of sourcing hyper-local fish species that were previously unpopular with consumers, like ocean perch, tilefish, porgy, and blackfish.

Additionally, more retailers will leverage their relationships to create high-quality, custom products with local partners, according to FreshDirect.

10. Better-For-You Beverages

Consumers are starting to lean into better-for-you beverages, especially in the alcohol category. New trends will include natural wines, a surge in ciders (all are naturally gluten-free), more penetration in beverages with lower alcohol volume such as ciders and session IPAs, non-alcoholic spirits like Seedlip, and digestive well-enhancement alcoholic beverages such as Kombrewcha.

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