Whole Foods Releases 1st Plant-Based Trend Predictions

Plant-based foods continue to expand at U.S. grocery as shoppers focus on better-for-you products. According to a recent study of 2,313 U.S. adults age 18 and older by The Hartman Group, nearly half (48%) of respondents look for products labeled “plant-based.” To help shoppers get a leg up on what the biggest plant-based trends will be this summer, Whole Foods Market has revealed its first-ever plant-based trend predictions.

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.

“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.”

Whole Foods Market’s top five plant-based trends for the summer:

1. Alternative Cheeses Go Gourmet. Summer charcuterie boards will get 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.

2. BBQ for All (Yes, Even Vegans). Get ready 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 BBQ. From algae-based casing to hickory smoke concentrate, Whole Foods said that these vegetarian options have unique ingredients making it easy (and flavorful) to incorporate more plants into cookouts to satisfy both meat lovers and vegetarians.