The Top 10 Healthy Food Trends to Expect in 2022

Plant-based convenience foods and nonalcoholic spirits are just a few of the ways food is giving your health a boost in 2022.

No one ever knows exactly what a new year will bring, but the interest in healthier eating that has accompanied the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t appear to be fading anytime soon, and that’s a good thing.

It may come as no surprise that plant-based foods continue to be exceedingly popular, with sales increasing almost twice as quickly as those of overall food sales, per the Good Food Institute. “I am really excited about seeing more people following a flexitarian eating plan,” says Laura M. Ali, RD, a culinary nutritionist in Pittsburgh. “It gives people who may not want to become vegetarian or vegan the ability to eat more plants but still incorporate some seafood, meat, dairy, and eggs occasionally.”

Of course, COVID has continued to affect our grocery shopping habits too. “The pandemic has caused supply chain shortages, as well as an increased awareness of food waste,” says Christina Badaracco, MPH, a registered dietitian in Washington, DC, who focuses on sustainability.

We asked nutrition experts about these and other factors that influence what we’ll be eating in the year ahead, and these are the healthy food innovations and trends they say we can expect to see in 2022.

The plant-based packaged-food category is more expansive than ever — and consumers are excited about this. Indeed, 65 percent of people say that they’ve eaten plant-based meat alternatives in the last year, according to a 2021 report from the International Food Information Council.

“The plant-based movement ties into a number of trending consumer priorities, including health protection, environmental stewardship, and ethically driven eating,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, a registered dietitian in private practice in Los Angeles. “My clients constantly tell me they feel better physically and feel good about how they are spending their food dollars when they eat more plant-based foods.”

“Plant-forward products will continue to be on trend — not only for their known health benefits but also because of their relationship with sustainability,” says Keri Gans, RDN, a nutritionist in New York City and author of The Small Change Diet. “More and more consumers are becoming concerned with where their food comes from and how it affects the environment. Those companies that share a positive environmental story will be sought after.”

When it comes to new finds, keep an eye out for smoothie-ready frozen dragon fruit and passion fruit from Pitaya Foods, pea pasta from ZenB, vegetable-based (think tomato, sweet potato, carrot, and butternut squash) pizza sauce from Otamot, and vegan cookies from Real Cookies. You can do your online plant-based grocery shopping at PlantX’s curated store, and you can even get local plant-based finds — such as hummus shakes from the Hummus & Pita Co. in New York City — shipped to your doorstep via Gold Belly.

“I am loving the persistence of plant-forward eating, along with eating with sustainability in mind,” says New York City–based registered dietitian Maya Feller, author of The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook. “Both of these trends focus on increasing whole and minimally processed plant-based foods that provide a plethora of phytonutrients that impart health benefits.”

Latest articles

Related articles