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    ‘Caffeine with added benefits, Mexican food to trend in 2024’

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    Caffeine with added benefits and putting plant in the plant-based category are some of the major food trends expected to create wave in 2024.

    Whole Foods Market’s Trends Council have unveiled their top eight anticipated food trends for 2024 in the retailer’s ninth-annual Trends predictions report. The report highlights caffeine with added benefits, going back to basics in the plant-based category, complex heat from global peppers, and water conservation and stewardship as among the food trends expected to rise in popularity across the industry in the next year.

    Each year, the Trends Council – a collective of more than 50 Whole Foods Market team members from the US and UK team, including foragers, buyers and culinary experts – compile trend predictions based on decades of experience and expertise in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences, as well as in-depth workshopping with emerging and existing brands.

    “The OGs of plant-based cuisine are making a comeback, putting the ‘veggie’ back in your veggie burger and shrinking labels all over the plant-based category. We’re seeing new and emerging protein-forward products with mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh and legumes in place of complex meat alternatives,” states the report.

    “Brands across the aisles are promoting water conservation, and consumers are listening. New water brands use water from fruit by-products, which would otherwise be discarded. As well as the growing trend of regenerative agriculture, non-governmental organisations are also showing their support of farmed oysters, leveraging aquaculture to filter water and help restore coastal ecosystems. Lifestyle brands are also pushing water-conscious products like dry shampoos, shampoo bars and laundry detergent sheets.

    Another trend mentioned in the report is gourmet options.

    “Shoppers have been finding ways to dress up their instant ramen at home for years now, but as brands step up their game, noodle lovers can take on less of the workload. Even better, brands are creating more gourmet options to rival the classics without certain preservatives and added MSG.

    “TikTok creators have brought “Little Treat Culture” into the zeitgeist, and we’re on board. We know firsthand the power of a treat, like an impulse macaron buy or a fizzy, functional and flavour-forward drink. Brands are getting in on the trend by considering both cost and format—like individual serving packages that add joy without breaking a budget.”

    The report also talks about Mexican ingredients and foods, saying consumers are exploring flavours of Mexico beyond the taco—and in new formats, too.

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