In 2013, a Whole Foods store opened in Brooklyn, N.Y., with a Gotham Greens greenhouse on top, providing fresh and sustainably grown herbs and salad greens in greenhouse systems using sunlight and 100% renewable electricity. Since then, innovation in indoor farming has ballooned, from hydroponics and aquaponics to mushrooms grown above the retailer’s grocery aisles — and even fresh produce grown by robots. Producers are finding new, boundary-pushing ways to grow hyper-local crops and maximize efficiency.
Tart and sour yuzu — a lesser-known citrus mainly cultivated in Japan, Korea and China — is a tangerine-sized fruit popping up in vinaigrettes, hard seltzers, mayos and more. In restaurants, chefs are using its lime-lemon-grapefruit flavor to accent their soups, veggies, noodles and fish. It’s poised to take the culinary world by storm, both on and off the grocery aisles.
Plant-curious eaters who aren’t ready to give up meat entirely are trying “reducetarianism” — reducing consumption of meat, dairy and eggs without cutting them out completely. When animal products are on the menu, reducetarians make them count, opting for premium grass-fed meat and pasture-raised eggs.
Meanwhile, Whole Foods released its first-ever top five plant-based trends at the start of the summer for those all in on plant power.
Hibiscus has a long history in the world of teas, and customers have historically kept it in their rotations for its vitamin C content. Now producers are harnessing its sweet, tart flavor in the form of fruit spreads, yogurts and beyond. Beverage makers are also keeping up, leaning on hibiscus to craft drinks that adopt its signature hot-pink hue.
The dialed-down spirits category experienced record growth in Whole Foods stores this year. With Millennials and Gen Z-ers dabbling in “drysolation” during the pandemic, the retailer doesn’t see the sober-curious mindset going away any time soon. A new lineup of drinks are entering the space, providing the taste and sophistication of cocktails without the buzz.
Grocery grains are refocusing on the environment in 2022. These grains are grown via agriculture practices and farming processes that help address soil health. Kernza – a perennial grain developed by The Land Institute with a sweet, nutty flavor and long roots – helps with nutrient cycling and overall soil ecology. It can be found in cereals and even beer.
Sunflower seeds are making their way into crackers, ice creams and creamy cheeses. Delivering protein and unsaturated fats, Whole Foods’ trend watchers said that these little seeds are poised to transform the 21st-century snack game. Plus many sunflower seed–based products are made without nuts, which means parents can use them as allergy-friendly school snacks.