With a new year on the horizon, there are a bunch of incoming health food trends to get excited about. Activated charcoal and golden milk lattes may have dominated Instagram feeds in 2018, but 2019 will see the rise of fads even more photogenic.
Some of the ones that are going to take off in a big way have already been gaining steam—if you've noticed oat milk's growing popularity in the last few months, prepare to see more of that. Other predicted trends have been staples in cuisines outside the U.S. (tahini) and/or popular in the food world for a long time (orange wine).
As someone who is constantly looking for the next hot food thing, I know a fad in the making when I see one. Here, you'll find everything I think is going to explode in 2019, as well as the predicted trends from Whole Foods Market's 2019 trend forecast. One thing to note is that as with health food trends of years past (we see you, turmeric) plenty of the foods on this list have been part of the culinary traditions of people and communities outside the U.S. for generations, as well as in the U.S. in immigrant communities. Instead, noting these items as trends means that the foods will be increasingly available and marketed within the mainstream U.S. health and wellness scene.
1. Oat milk will get even bigger.
Nearly every year for the past decade has welcomed in a new alternative milk product and 2018 was no different. Oat milk took the world by storm thanks to the fact that it foams just like dairy milk (perfect for lattes) and it tastes pretty similar to boot. Oat milk's reach will spread much farther than the metropolitan areas it currently has under its spell. Before you know it, you'll be able to walk into any supermarket and buy a carton of the stuff, and currently, you can can find Oatly brand products at Whole Foods Market
2. Moringa will take matcha's throne.
If you're not much of a coffee person, but still like to start your day with an energizing morning beverage, then Moringa might be just what you're looking for. Native to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Moringa is a plant that's entirely edible, from the stems to the leaves to the seeds, and is packed with nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. You can buy it in tea form at health food stores (including Whole Foods Market) and it has a sweet, earthy flavor not unlike snap peas. There's no caffeine in it, but frequent Moringa drinkers claim it's energizing nonetheless.
3. Shelf-stable probiotics will start popping up.
Probiotics aren't exactly new, but shelf-stable probiotics are. Whole Foods reports that there will be more and more products containing strains of probiotics like Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 and Bacillus coagulans MTCC 5856, which are two strains that will remain safe to eat when stored at room temperature. Naturally, this means you'll start seeing them in granola, oatmeal, nut butters, soups and more. Even beauty brands will be jumping on the trend by incorporating probiotics into things like lotion and sunscreen.
4. Alternative fats will be huge.
With keto, paleo, and grain-free diets continuing to gain popularity, the demand for dairy-, animal-, and grain-free healthy fat sources has continued to rise. According to Whole Foods, that means alternative fat sources will start to boom in 2019, especially MCT oil (a type of oil extracted from coconut oil), coconut butter, and lots of and lots of ghee, a kind of clarified butter that has been used in southeast Asian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
5. And so will meatless "meat" snacks.
The meatless "meat" market has officially shifted its focus from veggie burgers and vegan chicken to snacks, says Whole Foods. Next year will see supermarket aisles stocked with pork rinds made from mushrooms, and vegan jerky made from soy protein.
6. Be prepared for tons of snacks from the sea, too.
If you love seaweed chips, this news will surely excite you: Whole Foods reports that store-bought snacks will be even more influenced by the ocean next year. That includes puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives made with algae ingredients, crispy salmon skins, and more. The products aren't just limited to snacks, though. You'll also see things like kelp noodles and seaweed butter.
7. Tahini will be the new almond butter.
Tahini is condiment made from ground hulled sesame seeds that has been used for thousands of years in the Middle East and parts of the Mediterranean. It's a major ingredient in foods like hummus and baba ghanoush. In fact it's been used in cooking for thousands of years. As is the case with the process for making most other nut butters, you simply have to blend sesame seeds until they turn into a paste. Even if you don't feel like making it yourself, it's easy to find at health food stores and Whole Foods Market. And you can use it in all the ways you would normally use nut butter. It has a slightly more savory flavor that makes it great for adding to dips like hummus, but it's also perfect in everything from smoothies to baked goods.
8. Frozen treats will get even more creative.
If you thought frozen treats couldn't get more zany, think again, because Whole Foods says that 2019 will be the year of avocado popsicles, hummus ice cream, and coconut water soft serve. You should also expect to find pints of ice cream swirled with artisanal cheese at the store (sure, why not?). And stretchy, chewy Turkish ice cream, Thai rolled ice cream, and Taiwanese snow ice at ice cream parlors and shops around the country.
9. Middle Eastern and North African Spices will be in high demand.
Lately I've been noticing that food bloggers have begun to incorporate more and more Middle Eastern and North African spices into their food. This includes some of my favorite ingredients, like harissa, sumac, and za'atar. There are so many great ways to use these spices, they aren't hard to cook with, and they're finally becoming more available around the country. Keep an eye out for them in the international section. If you have any luck, this recipe for spicy sheet-pan meatballs from Bon Appétit and this recipe for za'atar flatbread will help you use them up.
10. Say goodbye to straws and hello to reusable packaging.
Remember when Starbucks banned plastic straws last year? Well next year, a lot of other companies are going to be making the transition to straw-less sipper lids. But that's not all: Whole Foods also reports that single-use packages will be replaced with multi-use and compostable packaging instead. These reusable kitchen products are some of the types of products you should expect to see more readily.
11. Orange wine will finally see its moment in the sun.
It's clear that Instagram users everywhere have a passion for colored beverages, which is why it comes as no surprise that orange wine will have a moment in 2019. Made from the same grapes as white wine, orange wine gets its distinct hue from letting the juices of the fruit ferment with its skins and seeds. They've been long beloved by wine experts, but will likely take off as they become more and more available in the coming year. As for what they taste like, they're often described as having a rich flavor with notes of honey, apple, orange rind, juniper, and wood.
12. We'll see more products infused with CBD oil.
Now that it's legal in 30 states, food companies are beginning to experiment with CBD oil (also known as cannabidiol or hemp oil), a non-psychoactive extraction from the marijuana plant. Though it doesn't get you high, early research indicates that it has the potential to help curb addictions and reduce anxiety and stress. Whole Foods reports that they'll begin selling more and more products infused with the oil, like as well as products made from hemp seeds, a sister to CBD oil, like this lotion and these seeds.