As the year comes to an end and we look ahead to 2024, it's fun to try to predict what food trends will shape our culinary experiences next year. After viral 2023 trends like girl dinner, cottage cheese everything, and ice cream fruit rollups, we can't wait to see what the new year has to offer!
We dove deep into research by Pinterest, Whole Foods, and market research company Mintel and found what we believe will be the biggest food trends in 2024. Join us for a sneak peek into what our plates might look like in the coming year as we explore nine exciting food trends we predict will blow up in 2024:
1. Mouthwatering Mashups
In 2024, get ready for some extraordinary culinary combinations. Food enthusiasts are experimenting with mashups of their favorite dishes, creating delightful hybrids like "burger quesadillas" and "pizza pot pies." Pinterest reports that searches for "pizza pot pie" already increased by a whopping 55%!
This trend is all about merging familiar flavors and textures to create exciting new dishes, in the hope that one plus one really does equal three. But this trend is not entirely new - recipe creators at alwaysusebutter.com caught this trend early, and created the Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla as early as 2020.
2. Putting the "Plant" Back in "Plant-Based"
The plant-based movement is transforming in 2024. It's all about putting the "plant" back in "plant-based" and opting for more natural options over overly processed ones.
According to a 2022 study by Mintel, many people would eat more plant-based alternatives if they were less processed, and producers are taking note. Instead of complex meat alternatives that have become common in recent years, we'll see a resurgence of natural ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh, and legumes.
Plant-based nutritionist Katie Trant supports this trend and points out that there's plenty of protein in natural vegetarian options: "While those fake meat veggie burgers can be great from time to time, I always prefer to eat real, whole food sources like black beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh. I like knowing exactly what I'm eating, and these plant foods are packed with protein, dietary fiber, and essential nutrients. For example, a one-cup serving of black beans contains 15 grams of protein as well as 15 grams of dietary fiber."
3. Faux Fish
The rise of plant-based options continues with a focus on seafood. Plant-based caviars have been popular in recent years, and now the time has come for other plant-based seafood. Imagine "salmon" made from carrots, "scallops" made from mushrooms, and sushi topped with root vegetable "tuna" - it might sound strange, but in 2024, this is what we'll be ordering.
4. Tropical Temptations
2024 will bring a tropical twist to our dining tables; think "Hawaiian sheet pan chicken" and "pineapple mocktails". And to drive the point home, searches for the latter are already up 70%! Not surprising, as it's the perfect combination of two other trends we've seen over the past few years: the move toward less alcohol-centric beverages, and the wish to experience tropical bliss without adding to our global footprint.
5. Fun with Spices
Get ready for a fiery trend in 2024 as niche peppers continue to take over grocery store aisles. Not only will we find specialty peppers in various sauces and condiments, but we will also be drinking them!
Spicy kombuchas and juices have been on the shelves for a few years now, and in the coming year, we'll see even more spicy beverages join them. This trend is not for the faint of heart, but spicy food lovers will be happy to know they’ll have an abundance of new flavors to explore next year!
6. Noodle Glow-up
Instant ramen has been a beloved cheap comfort food for years, and many of us have developed our own way of dressing it up. From adding eggs and Sriracha sauce to fresh vegetables and proteins, there are a million ways to do it.
In 2024, that won't be necessary, though, as instant ramen is getting a much-needed glow-up. Brands have taken note and are starting to offer gourmet options, complete with exceptional flavors, quality ingredients, and fewer preservatives.
7. Bring on the Buckwheat
Buckwheat will rise from obscurity to center stage in 2024, and for good reason!
Nutritionist Katie Trant says: "I love buckwheat for its delicate, nutty flavor, but as an added benefit, it's a great source of manganese, magnesium, copper, and dietary fiber. And since buckwheat is not a cereal grain, it's also a great option for those who are sensitive or intolerant to gluten."
This nutritious grain is commonly used in soba noodles but can be used for much more, from porridge and crackers to plant-based milk. And it's not just good for you - it's also great for the environment. Buckwheat contributes to soil health and aids in the growth of other crops, and we will definitely be seeing more of it in the years to come.
8. Little Luxury Treats
TikTok has created many trends in the past few years, and 2024 will be no different. A recent trend is "little treats", where you enjoy little luxuries daily. This "luxury treat" could be a tasty beverage or small cookie, anything that gives your day that silver lining without breaking the bank.
In 2024, brands are responding to this trend, creating more small products you can grab for a quick treat. How about a hot beverage on your morning commute, a tiny macaron with your afternoon coffee, or an individually wrapped praline for an after-dinner treat?
9. Caffeine Reinvented
The past few years have seen increased popularity for alternatives to caffeinated drinks, whether probiotic beverages or "coffee" made from mushrooms. Well, in 2024, we go for the double.
Combine those natural ingredients with your favorite caffeinated beverage, and there you have it. It's a caffeine boost, but so much more. From coffee with Lion's Mane mushrooms to prebiotic green teas and "energy" sparkling water, we predict you won't need to sleep until 2025!
In conclusion, 2024 promises to be a year of culinary innovation and adventure. From mouthwatering mashups to tropical temptations, the trend toward more natural and less processed food continues. Throw a few new viral TikTok trends in the mix, and we are in for an exciting culinary year!