These 7 Food Trends Are Going to Be Huge In 2023

|Updated Dec 20, 2022
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After a season of indulging that starts at Thanksgiving and lasts through the end of the year, it is no surprise that 45 percent of Americans are expected to make New Year's resolutions to improve their diets and get back on track in January 2023. We do this year after year, despite the fact that most of our healthy-eating resolutions will fail within weeks or at most, months.

It's not our willpower that fails, but our approach to trying to be healthier in the first place, experts tell us. Instead of trying to set unrealistic goals or cut out entire food groups, the best way to achieve healthy eating goals is to think about the foods you can or should eat, such as plant-based ingredients, whole foods, and natural fruit like dates to sweeten desserts. Luckily new food trends coming our way in 2023 are going to make it easier than ever to keep your clean-eating goals and succeed. Here are ones to watch for, and embrace in the year ahead.

What food trends are going to last in 2023 and how can we use this to help us keep our resolve to be healthier and stay on track? Read these 7 food trends, and find out how you can be more successful in your efforts to eat healthier and follow a more sustainable diet in the year ahead.

One macro trend is toward eating more plant-based diets, and avoiding meat wherever possible. Eating healthier plant-based foods became increasingly popular in recent years, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic where millions of consumers felt inspired to eat healthier to strengthen their immune systems and fight inflammation. But this trend extends beyond fake meat or fad diets. Since 2018, plant-based food sales have significantly outpaced other food categories, according to the Good Food Institute.

One reason for the continued interest in eating a more plant-based diet: It's better for the environment. Consumers are far more educated about environmentally sustainable and healthier foods than in previous years. Younger generations feel actively anxious about climate change, reporting that they feel "very" or "extremely" worried about the planet with more than half noting that the concept makes them feel "powerless" or "afraid." More than ever, consumers want their purchases to reflect their beliefs.

There's no doubt that 2023 will be defined by plant-based foods since about 1.6 million Americans have now purchased plant-based products in recent years. But more importantly, this next year will be defined by new meat alternatives, cleaner ingredients, and foods that help protect the planet. Here are our predictions for food in 2023.

1. Vegan Seafood

Innovative alternatives for chicken, pork, and beef changed how shoppers could introduce plant-based protein to their daily routines, but now, the vegan seafood industry is picking up momentum.

The plant-based seafood market is expected to reach $1.3 billion by 2031. This growth can be attributed to the massive amount of new companies focusing on perfect seafood alternatives, including Good Catch –– which recently was acquired by Wicked Kitchen to further expand its product distribution and portfolio.

Yves Potvin –– the founder of meat-free brands Gardein and Yves Veggie Cuisine –– revealed recently that he was launching the first frozen vegan sushi and onigiri to give consumers the chance to enjoy planet-friendly sushi at home. Brands such as Povin's Koncious Foods and Vegan Zeastar are aiming to make seafood delicacies available to plant-based shoppers everywhere.

2. Cultured Meat

Cultured meat –– also commonly called cell-based, cultivated, or lab-grown meat –– could be available far sooner than consumers expected. For years, this innovative and sustainable alternative to animal-derived meat has been in experimental development, but late this year, the Food and Drug Administration gave Upside Foods the first "green light" for commercial sale.

About 80 percent of consumers are open to trying cultivated meat products, and companies including Upside and Eat Just have developed chicken alternatives that give consumers a chance to eat meat with minimal environmental tolls.

3. Non-Alcoholic Beverages

About 70 percent of Americans drank alcohol last year, but liquor is increasingly linked to damaging mental health and threatening physical well-being. Younger generations are looking to adopt healthier diets that also exclude unnecessary alcohol consumption, but that doesn't mean they don't want to try an exciting new drink.

Approximately 46 percent of regular drinkers intend to reduce their alcohol consumption with 52 percent actively replacing alcohol with non-alcoholic drinks, and a growing "sober curious" trend is being driven primarily by younger Americans, according to consumer insight platform, Veylinx. This coming year, resolutions about reducing alcohol consumption might stick better than before.

4. Cleaner Ingredients

The clean ingredient trend also pertains to processed meat alternatives such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods. Popular brands that initially propelled plant-based eating into the mainstream will likely be set aside for healthier, whole foods that contain recognizable ingredients and more nutrients.

Beyond Meat's stock is down to under $13 from a high of over $234. but that doesn't mean that plant-based eating is becoming less popular. Now that consumers know more about the healthy foods they are eating, processed brands competing for consumers will likely be overlooked for brands with cleaner formulations.

5. Natural Sweeteners

Research released this year linked sugary sodas and artificially sweetened foods with diseases such as cancer and heart disease. And consumers are looking for healthier alternatives to sweeteners commonly used in sodas like Diet Coke. These added sweeteners include sucralose, saccharin, and steviol glycosides.

This year, food and beverages that showcase natural sweeteners will catch the attention of consumers looking for healthier habits in 2023. Natural sweeteners include agave nectar, stevia, dates, and monk fruit –– but also, drinking less sugar, in general, can help improve your brain health.

6. Kelp as an Ingredient

Kelp is possibly the most surprising addition to this list. Similar to other seaweeds, kelp is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. But most importantly, kelp is a versatile ingredient. Kelp can be used in several ways that provide healthy, low-calorie snacks such as kelp chips for consumers looking to stray away from unhealthy potato chips.

Kelp is a helpful ingredient for plant-based seafood companies looking to replicate the taste of conventional fish products. For example, the Plant-Based Seafood Co. recently launched its Mind Blown selection, featuring kelp as its main ingredient. Other iterations include kelp noodles or kelp-based sauces to replace conventional fish sauces.

7. The Sustainable Diet

About 85 percent of the world is experiencing the effects of climate change directly, and plant-based foods can help consumers reduce their food-related environmental footprint by 61 percent.

This year, more consumers than ever claimed that sustainability inspired their shopping and dietary preferences. One survey claimed that 55 percent of shoppers browse the grocery aisles with sustainability in mind. For 2023, diets that prioritize sustainability will define how shoppers think about food and shopping choices.

Whole Foods' Food Trend Predictions

This October, Whole Food Market released its predictions for 2023, highlighting how sustainable and plant-based options will take over the mainstream food industry. Whole Foods noted that environmental labels will begin showing up on foods, giving customers an idea of the environmental toll their diets place on the planet.

For more plant-based happenings, visit The Beet's News articles. 

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