Fitness & Nutrition

Food and Supplement Trends for 2022

Expect these healthy developments to continue to grow in the new year
TIMEDecember 31, 2021

When we look into our crystal ball to get a glimpse of 2022, we’re seeing the words “functional,” “practical,” and “sustainable” a lot. It seems that being in the midst of a pandemic has made a lot of people change how they look at themselves, their health, and their future. These new perspectives have had a big impact on the trends for 2022.

Here are a few of them:

More Immune Support

Concerns about staving off colds and flu were once reserved largely for the beginning of the school year or the arrival of winter. No more. What was once a habit that consumers followed for a few months out of the year has turned into a year-round effort. In 2022, consumers will be looking for, researching, and buying more supplements that support immune health.

Their options will be plentiful if not a bit overwhelming. In addition to buying the standard vitamins and minerals, we can expect to see more herbal remedies, enzymes, probiotics, and other products or services remain popular, including those that emphasize the importance of supporting gut health and the microbiome for people of all ages.

The New Oats

It appears 2022 is the time to take an old classic—really old—and give it a whole new identity. We’re talking about oats, like the ones your grandmother used to make for you with milk and sugar. Although oat milk and a few other oat-based food items are already on the shelves, get ready for even more.

Oats are attractive for several reasons, including that they are gluten-free (in their pure, unadulterated form), versatile, high in fiber (beta-glucans), and help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. So don’t be surprised when you start seeing a host of new oat-based foods such as oat pizza dough, pulled oats, oat-based chocolate, oat milk pudding, and oat-based cheese and butter.

Functional Mushroom Foods

Medicinal mushrooms—as food, therapeutics, and supplements—have been around for a long time, but now there’s a growing interest in using mushrooms as a functional ingredient in a whole array of foods ranging from snacks to beverages, desserts, protein powders, and energy bars.

Among the medicinal mushrooms on the market are those with immune-system-boosting properties. These properties are a big reason why food producers are working to get chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, maitake, and reishi on the ingredients list of their foods and formulas marketed to help with brain health, immune function, and stress.

Alcohol-Free Beverages Get Cooler

When non-alcoholic beverages were first introduced to the market years ago, they were met with some skepticism. Now, these drinks, which were somewhat niche, have moved into the mainstream. A growing number of people are turning to alcohol-free beverages because these savvy consumers are more concerned about their health. The wealth of choices makes it an increasingly attractive option also. There are now beverages ranging from hop-infused waters to fermented juices and mocktails with ingredients such as cayenne, watermelon juice, jalapenos, and agave syrup. Expect more of these beverages to contain herbal ingredients, vitamins, minerals, or aminos as health trends continue. Staying sober never tasted so good!

Real Sugar, but Better

Opinions on dietary sugar have been on a wild rollercoaster over the years, especially as processed sugars became a staple ingredient in processed foods and sugar consumption skyrocketed. Eating and drinking too much added sugar has been shown to contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

Artificial sweeteners were offered up as a solution, but mounting research suggests they cause more problems than they solve. Fraught with health concerns, consumers turned to natural substitutes such as monk fruit and stevia to get a lower-calorie sweet fix. But forecasters say real sugar, although in more modest amounts and from more sustainable and responsible sources, is making a comeback.

In particular, they point to chocolate, where companies that are certified organic and fair trade are marketing dark chocolate high in cacao and very low in sugar (as low as less than 3 grams per serving). However, since sugar is so ubiquitous in our food supply, experts foresee consumers demanding real sugar that is responsibly sourced.

Bottom Line

These are just a few food trends consumers can expect to see in 2022. It’s likely we’ll also see trends around eating fewer animal foods and more whole foods continue, as well as waste-free cooking and eating for brain health.

Lisa Roth Collins is a registered holistic nutritionist and also the marketing manager at NaturallySavvy.com, which first published this article.