07 July 2022, 08:40 AM
  • Settle in for a journey through the flavours, cuisines and products that are hot right now
Key food and drink trends in 2022

Keep the following trends in mind when you refresh your stock and displays and you’ll be on the button for the rest of 2022.

Fish alternatives
Vegan fish sounds like a contradiction in terms. Yet multinational food companies are launching innovative, fake fish products onto the market just as they’ve done with meat-free burgers and dairy-free milk and cheese. Waitrose reported that sales of their vegan Plantlife range – which includes vegan fish – were up 21% in 2021 compared with 2020.

Try out calamari made from oyster mushrooms, or smoked Zalmon made from thinly-sliced carrots in a smoky marinade. Waitrose sells Plantlife Thai-style No Fish Cakes made with jackfruit and Ocado will deliver Vegan Zeastar Lemon Shrimpz, a frozen product.

A great-tasting vegan fish dish on your café menu can make you a destination restaurant, especially if your area is poorly served and you appear on vegan forums.

Find out more about the vegan fish trend here

The power of sour
The ingredients retailer Souschef saw sales of balsamic vinegar and yuzu soar in 2021. Balsamic vinegar was up 80% compared with 2020 and yuzu – fragrant Japanese citrus juice – up 57%.

Brits’ love of Levantine cuisine shows no sign of abating and interest in Asian and South Asian cuisine is strong, so this trend isn’t going anywhere. 

There’s also evidence taste buds are moving away from unsophisticated, one-dimensional sweetness. For proof, look at the number of producers launching sharper tomato ketchup alternatives.

Showcase sour ingredients in takeaway and café dishes and don’t limit sourdough sales to savoury bakes. Sourdough starter gives sweet bakes like cinnamon raisin bread an addictive tang.

Discover the growth of the sour trend here.

The rise of Nolo wine
Research from Wine Intelligence has revealed that almost 40% of regular wine drinkers are actively moderating their consumption, with some consumers switching back and forth between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks during the same occasion.

When it comes to stocking, don’t be afraid to sell no/low wine with high price points. A non-alcoholic drinks customer will know that the beverage has been made using the same processes and be looking for a product that is a treat.
Try high-quality bestsellers from Wise Bartender such as Darling Cellars Shiraz from South Africa, and Oddbird’s Low Intervention Organic Red No. 1 and Domaine de la Prade Organic Merlot Shiraz.

Once you’ve got a range of low/no wines to rival the real thing, positioning is the next step to success. Move your new wines around the store to see where works best – establish whether your customers would be more likely to pick them up with the alcoholic versions or in amongst the soft drinks.

Explore the no/low trend here.

An appetite for umami
Who would have thought monosodium glutamate (MSG) would come back into fashion? You’ll find it described as umami powder, a cult ingredient, on the Souschef website. “Try adding a pinch to soups, stews and sauces to add extra body and depth” reads the copy.

Key drivers are plant-based eating, wellness and interest in world cuisines. Glutamate-rich ingredients such as seaweed and dried shiitake mushrooms give meat and dairy-free dishes a flavour leg-up while fermented foods like miso, kimchi and pickles are associated with wellness.

To steal a march on the supermarkets, go for novelty as with Clearspring’s new Chickpea Miso, or choose products which deliver a double whammy such as the award-winning Black Garlic Miso from Craic Foods. Craic also makes three miso and salted caramel sauces; the sweet-savoury combination is hard to resist. Luxuries like these make great foodie gifts.

Read about umami here.

New Mexican wave
Whether consumers are buying fajita kits for home loading, a takeaway from Chiquito, or sharing carnitas, the famous Michoacan pork dish, at El Pastor taqueria, they can’t get enough of south-of-the-border cuisine. In a social media survey of the 32 most viral food trends, Birria tacos (Google them) came fifth, (YOY to end April 2022, Beanies Coffee). 

Tequila has moved from being a stag night staple to a sophisticated sipping serve and is now the top trending spirit for 62% of bartenders globally (Bacardi Report) and the second fastest growing spirit category in value around the world. Hand-held, spicy food is a crowd pleaser and after lockdown, we’re overdue a party. Self-assembly fajitas with choice of filling suit omnivore and vegan alike.

To cash in on the trend, display cookbooks such as Thomasina Miers’ new Meat Free Mexican with ingredient bundles such as ready-mixed Mexican seasoning, tomatillos and refried beans.
Customers can’t get enough of chipotle chillies (smoked jalapenos). Try Rubies in the Rubble or Hunter & Gather chipotle mayo or the award-winning Chipotle Sriracha from My-Chilli.

Get creative with Mexican trends here.