Whole Foods Market Trends Discovery Box - How did they do?

In 2021, Whole Foods brought out their trends discovery box which included items that their team considered would be trends in 2022.

We love the concept of food discovery, however, the Whole Foods way (and what we often find in the marketplace) can lead to food waste because they include the whole retail unit (multi serving sizes), not just a sample size. This is also unapproachable to small brands because of the costs associated. That's why we started NakiNoku to help you discover new products by tasting before buying!

Lets take a look at the top trends Whole Foods identified and what we think of it! 

Top Trends for 2022 according to WFM

1. Ultraurban farming (often vertical or other forms of hydroponic farming)

2. Yuzu (Asian citrus fruit)

3. Reducetarianism (that's a mouthful - basically meaning reducing your meat intake rather than replacing with plant based protein)

4. Hibiscus

5. Buzz-less spirits (could have been worded in a buzz-less way, basically non alcoholic versions of spirits)

6. Grains that give-back (I can't make these up, honest. It's just a buzzy way of saying uncommon grains for the market)

7. Sunflower seed

8. Moringa

9. Functional fizz (sparkling drinks with functional ingredients)

10. Turmeric

 

Our Hot-Take

Now, some of these are no-brainers - for instance ultraurban farming. A lot of recent advances in robotics and technology allow quick deployments of urban farms, which reduces shipping times, carbon emissions and food waste, so it's not so much a trend as an inevitable outcome.

Some of the novel (to the wider market anyway), food ingredients and categories such as functional beverages, turmeric, moringa, sunflower, hibiscus, ancient grains and yuzu, likely will follow the trajectory of previous "trends". Massive uptick in products with those ingredients, subsequent reduction due to market saturation and the explosion of the next trendy ingredient, and the remnants (often the less exotic and cheaper ingredients) incorporated into the mainstream in specific niches or within some segments. (For example, sunflower seeds in the cracker segment). We are great supporters of this, because we need more variety in the aisle (in terms of choice and flavors!).

Some other trends look to gain some market share as they are just variations of existing products that will likely grain enough traction to stick around (reducetar.. I'm not spelling that out, it's a ridiculous name). For the meat eaters, would you be willing to buy sausage or burgers with some mushroom or bell peppers in it, as a way to reduce your meat intake and improve flavor? Of course, because that already exists without a "trend-definition". You may see that kind of mixes make its way into the ground meat aisle - it makes sense, and is a natural extension. 

The final trend to cover - buzzless spirits. Again, trendy name for a concept that has been around. These will continue to grow as the trends towards healthy/alcohol free lifestyles grow and wane, but the rush to this marketplace means there will be some consolidations and closures before this trend settles into long term.

Conclusion

This is all just our take - we've seen trends come and go. The idea behind the trends box has merit. No one wants to buy something with "moringa" in it without tasting it. And much as I know turmeric has functional benefits, it also has a strong flavor and can be overpowering. These are not things you can identify just through fancy packaging, so tasting a sample before buying is the only way forward for packaged food! So go browse some samples, buy a sample box, or make your own sample box.

 

Picture Credit : Whole Foods Market