What’s Hot Now: Food Trends in 2019
Food trends come and go. Some are worth embracing and some are questionable. With the calendar rolling over to January, health authorities are weighing in with their predictions for the hottest food trends for 2019. Many pick up right where 2018 left off.
For example, prebiotics and probiotics were on last year’s list. Plant-based proteins? They were hot, too. What’s different this time around is how manufacturers are packaging these foods — and helping you get more of them.
2019 Food Trends
Without further ado, here are my six picks for the most prominent food trends in 2019:
- Shelf-stable probiotics: To date, scientists don’t fully understand how probiotics work in the body, but certain live active cultures seem to be beneficial for our gut microbiome. The rub: There are literally millions of these organisms, and we don’t yet know which are important. But that hasn’t stopped food manufacturers from crafting new, shelf-stable probiotic products like nut butters and granola bars. I’d suggest saving your money and sticking with known foods that contain probiotics such as yogurt with live active cultures, kefir and sauerkraut.
- Plant-based proteins: As more and more people are looking to add more fruits and vegetables to their diets, plant-based protein products continue to flourish. The difference this year? An increasing number of these products look and taste like real meat. From mushrooms to pea- and soy-based proteins, manufacturers are focused on making plant foods look like ground beef. They’re also grinding up nuts and legumes for pasta and even incorporating both into desserts. For your own rendition, try our cocoa date truffles made with black beans or cookie dough dip with white beans.
- Oat milk: Interest in plant-based milks shows no signs of waning and oat milk seems to be the new darling because of its creamy consistency and nutritional makeup. Unlike cow’s milk, which has no fiber, oat milk has 2 grams per cup. Plus, oat milk (like oats) contains B vitamins and critical minerals, including copper, magnesium and manganese.
- Non-alcoholic beverages: January is a popular time to take a break from drinking, so it’s no wonder manufacturers are stepping up with non-alcoholic drinks to help consumers achieve that goal. The problem? Most of these drinks (including fruit drinks, sodas, flavored sparkling waters and coffee drinks) are expensive, loaded with sugar and lacking nutrients. If you’re cutting back on alcohol, drink from the tap. (You can even infuse it with fruit.) You’ll spend nothing and get a host of benefits.
- Less sugar: Americans consume more sugar than we should – the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that sugars make up less than 10 percent of total daily calories. Consumers know they should be cutting back. So the trend for products with less sugar will continue in 2019. Manufacturers have tried to disguise sugar by using ingredients such as maple syrup, honey and brown rice syrup (which are all just forms of sugar). With the new food labeling law, manufacturers will be required to list the amount of added sugars in the nutrition information. This means that if a sweetener does not occur naturally in a product (like lactose in milk or fructose in fruit), it will have to be called out on the label.
- Ugly fruits and vegetables: I’m hopeful this trend sticks around for years to come, as it helps reduce food waste. The idea: Instead of trashing imperfect fruit and vegetables, search it out. If you want to be really trendy, snap a picture, post it on social media and then enjoy it! I’ve noticed a lot of folks posting fruit that look like hands or other shapes, embracing the lumpy and bumpy. People are beginning to accept that fruits and vegetables that don’t look perfect still hold their nutritional value and their taste.
Related Topic: 10 Foods That Seem Healthy But Aren’t
Even food trends dating back to 2017 are still part of the culinary landscape. Some, such as bowl meals, ancient grains and hot spices may stay on the scene indefinitely. Which brings some welcome variety to our diet.
Bethany Thayer, MS, RDN, is director of the Henry Ford Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Earning a bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Michigan State University and a master’s degree in exercise science from Oakland University (OU), Beth chose her career path because she was always intrigued by the blending of art and science to positively impact health. She enjoys communicating with people about healthy living and eating and was a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for 9 years. Beth was named as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year by the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2012 and served as their president in 2015-2016.