Whole Foods has released its ninth annual trends prediction report on emerging food trends. The report predicts the 10 top food and beverage trends of 2024, including changes in plant-based foods, gourmet ramen options, coffee with added benefits, and hormone-healthy options for women.
Compiled by a council of more than 50 Whole Foods Market foragers, buyers, and culinary experts, the report provides insight into what people are buying and eating for their health today. Read on for details on what we think are the most interesting food trends, with recipes for trending healthy snacks and meals you can try at home!
Enhanced coffee and probiotic drinks
It’s no secret that we’re a coffee-obsessed culture. Whether it’s a cup of brewed coffee, an espresso, or a nitro cold brew, coffee is the first thing to hit many of our stomachs in the morning, sometimes before we even drink water.
As our understanding of gut health grows, many people are rethinking their caffeine habit. That’s not to say they’re getting rid of it altogether, but rather, enhancing the benefits of coffee and energy drinks while protecting the gut with the addition of adaptogenic mushrooms, gut-healthy probiotics, and more.
Give mushroom coffee a try with this mushroom latte two ways recipe by Minimalist Baker. And if mushrooms in your coffee is a hard no for you (we get it), get the benefits of mushrooms through your food with these must-try lion’s mane recipes!
Putting “plant” back in plant-based foods
If you’ve ever given a plant-based diet a go, you probably know that packaged vegetarian foods at the grocery store can be full of all kinds of questionable ingredients. Plant-based or plant-curious consumers today want to eat less meat without eating more chemicals—hence a growing trend toward vegetarian foods made with mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh, and legumes in place of complex meat alternatives.
At Drizzle, we are believers that vegetarian food doesn’t have to be drab! Whole foods like nutritious fruits, veggies, and nuts are no-to-low-point ingredients that can make some amazing meals.
Just give our vegan pho a try! Tofu and mushrooms with an array of flavorful aromatics and vegetables come together in this flavorful plant-based alternative to a typically meaty Vietnamese soup. Plus it has just 5 WW points per serving!
Embracing whole cacao beans
Countries around the world have been utilizing cacao pulp, a byproduct of cacao powder that is typically discarded, for centuries. Health food companies are catching on and delivering products like jellies, jams, sweet cacao fruit powder, and cacao water to the shelves.
Aside from the pulp, cacao beans can be enjoyed whole as a snack or mixed into trail mixes, granola, and chocolate bars. Want to give these health-boosting beans a try? Enjoy roasted beans on their own, covered in chocolate, or add them to our homemade vegan granola or these mini trail mix breakfast muffins!
Bringing buckwheat back
Buckwheat is not wheat at all, but rather a grain-like seed from the plant of the same name. Often ground into flour, this nutty and earthy pseudo-grain is an excellent gluten-free option for thickening soups, breakfast porridge, pancakes, and more. Buckwheat is rich in protein, healthy carbs, and fiber, too.
Look for buckwheat flour, buckwheat pancake and waffle mixes, savory buckwheat crackers, and more at the grocery store. Buckwheat is also used to make Japanese soba noodles!
Hot peppers from around the world
Hot peppers are hot! And we don’t just mean spicy. There’s an increased interest in incorporating complex heat from new (to us) varieties of peppers from around the globe this year.
Specialty varieties of spicy peppers can be found fresh, whole, ground, and pickled. New chili oils, hot sauces, and pepper-infused drinks are popping up in grocery stores across the country.
Looking to spice things up in your kitchen? Check out our guide to the best fresno chili substitutes to familiarize yourself with some spicy varieties of peppers. Grab some fresh hot peppers from your local grocery store and put them to use in our hot chicken taco dip recipe!
Gourmet ramen at home
Many of us in the West equate ramen with the college staple of instant noodles, laden with salt, MSG, and who knows what else. But a bowl of traditional Japanese ramen is nourishing and delicious.
Consumers have long been dressing up instant ramen options at home, but now food companies are taking on some of the legwork. In today’s market, it is possible to buy a package of ramen noodles that not only tastes delicious but is full of wholesome and nourishing ingredients—yahoo!
Or delight your friends and family by whipping up this 10-minute chili oil ramen recipe from I Heart Umami. It uses packaged ramen noodles and Chinese pantry staples to make a healthy and hearty homemade bowl of ramen in just minutes.
It’s the little treats that count!
According to the report, enjoying “little luxuries” aka little treat culture” is trending, thanks to TikTok influencers. These are essentially little treats—a single cookie or baked good, a milk tea, or a bath bomb—that while you may not indulge in it every day bring great joy to your life.
Of all the trends on this list, little luxuries are among the most relatable for the Weight Watchers community. We know that indulging in your favorite foods and other treats—in moderation—can and should be part of a healthy and balanced lifestyle, without derailing your efforts toward radiant health.
A focus on hormone-balancing foods
Hormone health is a trending topic in the health and wellness sphere, especially when it comes to women. With so many hormone-disrupting chemicals in our food, cleaning products, and personal hygiene products, it’s more important than ever.
The Whole Foods report talks about raw carrot salad for estrogen management, seed cycling energy bites for each cycle phase, and “sleepy girl mocktails” trending on social media. It also says more brands are making products—like snack bars, teas, and other drinks—to support periods, pregnancy, postpartum, menopause, and even sleep.
According to Healthline, healthy proteins, healthy fats, cruciferous veggies, high-fiber foods, and fresh herbs are some of the best foods to eat for hormone health (in addition to limiting refined sugar). This herb-grilled salmon Olive Garden copycat recipe served with our broccoli salad ticks all the boxes!
Final thoughts on food trends in 2024
In general, health-conscious consumers are eyeing cleaner store-bought food options made with wholesome ingredients. Whether you are plant-based or a full-blown carnivore, removing unwanted chemicals and additives from your diet is a great step in improving your overall health and well-being.
As you know from your Weight Watchers journey, cooking at home is a great way to connect with your food and take control over the ingredients you’re eating. We are happy to deliver countless WW-friendly recipes that allow you to do just that! But it’s also comforting to know that when you’re unable to cook, or just want to allow yourself the “little luxury” of buying packaged food from the store, there are more healthy options available than ever.