Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market revealed its first plant-based trend predictions, with nut-based cheese alternatives, banana blossoms and creamy cashew dips topping the list. Looking ahead to summer and beyond, the grocer’s Trends Council pooled members’ industry knowledge, product-sourcing expertise and hands-on work with emerging and existing plant-forward brands to inform the predictions.
The choice to highlight plant-based predictions comes at a time when shoppers are focusing on eating more plants. According to a recent study by The Hartman Group, nearly half (48 percent) of consumers look for products labeled as “plant-based.”
“Plant-based is the grocery category to watch right now as brands continue to innovate by using new ingredients and processes that make plant-based products exciting for shoppers,” said Parker Brody, senior global category merchant for plant-based at Whole Foods Market. “And in the laid-back days of summer, we find that customers are breaking out of their routines and are more open to trying something new, whether they’re longtime vegans or just starting to experiment with plant-based eating. So, expect to see gourmet plant-based cheese alternative spreads at picnics and fish alternatives made from banana blossoms on the grill this season.”
Top five plant-based trend predictions for summer
Whole Foods Market’s top five plant-based trend predictions for the summer:
Alternative Cheeses Go Gourmet – Give summer charcuterie boards an upgraded, plant-based twist with a distinctive assortment of cheese alternatives that are all dairy free. While using nut-based milks and ingredients like black garlic truffle, dill Havarti and chive is unique, plant-based cheesemakers are also replicating the methods used to make dairy cheeses for more authentic textures and flavors.
Try the Trend: Miyoko’s Creamery Artisan Vegan Cheese: Semi-Firm Smoked English Farmhouse, Semi-Soft Double Cream Classic Chive; Treeline Sea Salt & Pepper Soft French-Style Nut Cheese; Kite Hill Spreadable Cheese: Garlic & Herb, Cracked Black Pepper; Cheeze & Thank You: Vegan Dill Havarti, Vegan Black Garlic Truffle Fontina (available only in Illinois stores).
Barbecue for All (Yes, Even Vegans) – Remember when corn ribs broke the internet? Buckle up for more plants hitting the grill this summer that go far beyond the veggie burger: Think plant-based products like hot dogs, Italian-style sausages and even jackfruit barbecue. From algae-based casing to hickory smoke concentrate, these vegetarian options have unique ingredients making it easy (and flavorful) to incorporate more plants into cookouts.
Try the Trend: Field Roast Signature Stadium Dog; Upton’s Naturals: Updog Vegan Hot Dog, Bar-B-Que Jackfruit; Lightlife Plant-Based Italian Sausages; recipe for Spicy Grilled Tempeh from Whole Foods Market.
Pint-Sized and Plant-Based – Gone are the days of pleading with the kids to eat their fruits and veggies. For the littlest of eaters, brands are providing plant-forward options that come in kid-approved forms like nuggets, yogurt tubes and ice pops.
Try the Trend: Ripple Kids Non-Dairy Milk; Miyoko’s Creamery Plant Milk Cheddar Sticks; 365 by Whole Foods Market Plant-Based Nuggets; Kite Hill Kids Strawberry Banana Almond & Coconut Milk Yogurt Tubes; Chloe’s Plant-Based Kids Pops: Avengers, Spider-Man.
Plant-Based Catch of the Day – Ingredients like legumes and banana blossoms are being used to mimic the flaky texture of the real thing. This means alternative fish sticks, no-tuna sandwiches and a whole new depth of flavor in an otherwise simple fish dinner.
Try the Trend: Upton’s Naturals Banana Blossom (a flower that is a fish alternative); Good Catch Fish-Free Tuna: Mediterranean, Oil & Herbs, Naked in Water; Vegan Tuna in Whole Foods Market’s Chef’s Case; Trumpet Mushrooms for recipes like Vallops (vegan scallops) made by one of vegan Tabitha Brown.
Dairy-Free Dips in Disguise – Searching for a creamy dip to pair with a summer crudité spread? Look no further than these buttery-smooth and spreadable dips and cream cheese alternatives. They highlight traditionally milky flavors like French onion, ranch and queso. They’re not just for dipping – smear on bagels, spread on sandwiches or dollop on crusty bread for a midday snack.
Try the Trend: Kite Hill Dairy-Free Dips: Queso, French Onion, Ranch, Tzatziki; Siete Dairy-Free Cashew Queso: Mild Nacho, Spicy Blanco; Credo Plant-Based Strawberry Cashew Cream Cheese (available only in the Southwest region); Whole Foods Market Plant-Based Queso; Bitchin’ Sauce: Original, Chipotle, Cilantro Chili.
For 40 years, Whole Foods Market has been the world’s leading natural and organic foods retailer. As the first certified organic national grocer, Whole Foods Market has more than 500 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.