Foodbydesign_Food trends for 2022

In this blog we share five food trends for 2022. This is a little hint of our on-going food trend work. Curious about the whole story tailored to your category or market, please let us know.

Food trend 1 #The biological revolution

After the industrial and the information revolution, we are now on the eve of the biological revolution. The latest discoveries about DNA and RNA make it possible to tinker with the code of life. These developments are accelerated by artificial intelligence and the discovery of Crispr Cas. This bespoke gene editing technology makes it relatively easy and cheap to edit traits of living organisms.

This biological revolution is accompanied by many ethical discussions, in which it is important to realise that Europe has a conservative position, while in America and China developments go faster due to less strict legislation. Leaving legislation aside, let’s have a little brainstorm about what the possibilities are for the future. On one hand, this development will affect how we produce our food, but on the other hand, it may also affect how we consume, digest and experience food.

In the cultivation of our crops and cattle, many applications can be re-imagined. Think about juicy watermelon berries, celery root with parmesan cheese flavour, grain without gluten, mushrooms that do not turn brown and corn that can better resist drought. Or coffee and chocolate that can grow in the Dutch climate. This technology enables us to become real fruit, vegetable and grain designers.

But also think about our own genes in relation to food. Perhaps one day we will be able to turn off the gene that triggers excessive consumption of alcohol or sweet, we might discover which genes influence our sense of smell and taste, and we will be able to program these in such a way that we will enjoy vegetables and fruit as intensely as chocolate.


The biological revolutions has just begun – Image: Unsplash

Food trend 2 #Future milk

Milk is perhaps the most interesting ingredient of the next 20 years. It will get reinvented! Because it is used so frequently in many recipes and formulas but has a large eco-footprint at the same time. Today’s plant-based milks are just the beginning. Alongside soy, oat and nut milk, potato milk has recently joined in. But let’s be fair, most plant-based milks cannot be compared with the real thing. Neither in taste nor in nutritional value. A new milk brand that is really serious about the taste is ‘Notmilk’. This milk re-inventor uses Giuseppe, an artificial intelligence chief, to analyze the product structure at molecular level and replicate it with plant molecules. This results in a milk made from more than 8 ingredients, including unexpected ones like pineapple, chicory and cabbage. CEO and founder Matias Muchnick says: ‘In the case of NotMilk, pineapple and cabbage brings the dairy taste notes that we are used with regular milk.’

The above stated food trend ‘the biological revolution’ is already underway in milk! All kinds of micro-organisms are used in laboratories all over the world that help to create the white gold on a molecular level. This milk will be a perfect copy in terms of flavour, nutrition and functionalities. In our own country, the eyes are focused on the vegan cowboys who are searching for the fungus that can turns grass into milk within in a robot stomach. In the US, Perfect Day is also well on its way. The inventors claim that the footprint (CO2 emissions can go down up to 97%) is many times smaller and that much less agricultural surface is needed, while the taste and nutrition is just as good. Of course, you can also make cheese, ice cream and yoghurt from this milk. If this development becomes technical feasible on a large scale, this could be mega disruptive for the food sector!


Milk is perhaps the most interesting ingredient of the next 20 years – Image: NotCO, USA

Food trend 3 #Ethnic blending

Naan tacos, sushi pizzas, Kimchi pasta carbonara and a Yuzu meringue pie. These are just a few of the currently popular and creative dishes and food designs that have sprung up all over the world in street food joints, food trucks, festivals, pâtissier shops and restaurants. One takes a taste success from one corner of the world and puts it into the shape of a popular dish from a completely different corner of our planet. These dishes create surprise and at the same time give recognition and a confirmation on top flavours. Here and there, the creators do get a little too creative, which can lead to hilarious creations like the burgushi (hamburger + sushi). But in general, it gives a spontaneous, cheerful, and global feel to the dishes that especially Millennials and gen Z love.

Food trend 4 #Seamless food journeys

Online and offline are increasingly merging. This also applies to food offerings and experiences. Quickly ordering something online, picking it up yourself or the other way around. More and more often, we order via apps on the terrace, and we can walk out of shops or restaurants without pulling out our wallet; the bill is paid automatically when we leave the premises. In Malaysia, Tiger beer organised a virtual street food festival at the time of the pandemic. People could chat and play games live and win or order real drinks and snacks, which were delivered within a 15 km radius. As a food company, you need to ask the question on how to shape your food (brand) experience in both the real and digital world. Generating digital appetite is crucial. But the rules of the game are different online. Read our blog Digital Food Innovation and Branding. Innovative food brands can take advantage of this with elastic strategies and creative phygital concepts. Those who execute this fluidity successfully make their seamless user experience their number one selling point. Offering convenience, nourishment, excitement, and inspiration all in one click.

Food trend 2022 _ Virtuel Food Festival

Tiger beer organized a virtual street food festival, blurring the physical and digital world – Image: Tiger Street Food 2020, MY

Food trend 5 #Rewilding food, rewilding farming

The term ‘rewilding’ is a theme that is winning momentum. In our lifestyles and in the way we look to food. It describes the efforts to roll back human interference with nature. The idea is to give ecosystems more room, so that the plants and animals in it can thrive. It is perhaps the opposite of trend 1 (Yes, trend stories are never consistent! A trend and its counter-trend can exist side-by-side). There are already plenty of experiments going on around the world to allow nature to re-take its course and mix with agriculture, from regenerative farming to food forests.

At a brand level we also see that ‘re-wilding’ is an upcoming theme. For example, the recently launched tea brand Wilder Land. They have a mission to make wilder land with weed tea that restores biodiversity. But we also see ‘wild wonder’ tomatoes, wild pizza, wild beer and wild bread catering that always serves food in a different place.  The ‘wild’ is translated into a less perfect, less uniform, looser, rawer and more diverse way of eating, drinking and it’s presentation. Let’s get wild in 2022!

Food trends 2020 - rewilding-food-rewilding-farming

Re-wilding is becoming an upcoming theme – Image: Wilderland, NL

Curious about the whole story and all food trends for 2022? Feel free to contact us to see how more insight in food trends can help you to be one step ahead of the market. We are also happy to tell you all about our innovation method FoodbyDesign in order to innovate in an inspiring way.


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