From regional tastes to plant-based alternatives, the year ahead will focus on flexible eating styles.
That’s the word from Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), which on Tuesday announced its top food trend predictions for 2019, determined by its team of new product developers, chefs and innovators.
Here are the top five trends to expect in 2019, according to Kroger, the nation’s largest operator of traditional supermarkets:
Regional flavors: Consumers will see a growing number of products influenced by local, regional and global tastes. From barbecue sauces to flavorful potato chips, inspiration is coming from Nashville hot chicken, Southern Appalachian pimento cheese and other geographies.
Plant-based foods: Consumers are increasingly incorporating plant-based fare into their daily diets. In 2018, 31 percent of consumers participated in meat-free days once per week.
Eating styles: More consumers are opting for different styles, from vegetarian to flexitarian to keto and paleo. Fifteen percent of the U.S. population identifies as vegetarian or vegan.
Gut-healthy foods: Studies show that a healthy gut is the foundation of overall wellness. Consumers are increasingly turning to products rich in probiotics (good bacteria).
Low sugar and natural sweeteners: Consumers are increasingly eliminating sugar from their diets or consuming alternate natural sweeteners like honey and agave. In fact, 47 percent say they are working to minimize their sugar intake.
Kroger, the largest employer in Greater Cincinnati with 15,668 local employees as of July 2018, has 2,800 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia.