We’re in the home stretch of 2023, and with that comes a plethora of tasty new trends to look forward to. This year was all about casual caviar, dirty soda and experiential dining, but even we couldn’t have predicted the meteoric rise of tomato girl summer. So what’s next? From savory cocktails to celebrity food collabs (and yeah, more viral TikTok dishes), these are the six food trends we predict will be sizzling in 2024.
6 Food Trends That We Predict Will Reign Supreme in 2024
Bring on the pizza pot pie
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1. Plant-Based Foods (and Protein) Wear the Crown
We weren't surprised when Whole Foods Market's Top 10 Food Trends Forecast predicted that 2024 would put the "plant" back in plant-based. Mushrooms, walnuts, tempeh and legumes are leading the charge for vegetarian products, rather than mystery concoctions that are modeled to imitate meat. Mushrooms in particular are starring in better-for-you coffee drinks and other immune- and brain-boosting products too. Instacart notes that shoppers are adding more and more 'shrooms and mushroom supplements to their carts, as well as a wider variety of produce (purple broccoli! mangosteen! red dragonfruit!).
Simultaneously, high-protein foods—like tinned fish, cottage cheese and Icelandic yogurt—are on the rise. An Instacart survey found that 39 percent of us want to eat a higher protein diet, and the app's purchase data reflects that we're shopping as such.
2. Shoppers Will Become Even More Climate-Conscious
Eco-friendly products are nothing new, but it seems sustainability is becoming a greater driving force in the products that shoppers choose—especially young ones. According to a survey from the Hartman Group, 69 percent of Gen Z consumers base their food and beverage purchases on environmental or social well-being issues at least some of the time, says FoodMix.
There's also an uptick in upcycled foods in an effort to reduce waste. (Think cacao pulp being used to make jelly, bacon fat being baked into biscuits and tableware being created from leftover sugarcane fiber.) Whole Foods also highlights a focus on water conservation, made possible by regenerative agriculture that includes restoring coastal ecosystems and coming up with water-saving products, like dry shampoo and laundry detergent sheets.
3. Celebrity x Food Collaborations
Olivia Rodrigo's Cone Takeover at Jeni's Ice Cream. The Cardi B & Offset Meal from McDonald's. Ice Spice and Ben Affleck teaming up for a Dunkin' Super Bowl commercial. The stars—they eat just like us. (If you're willing to see designer brands as celebrity entities, the Erewhon x Balenciaga fashion show is another surreal example.)
They don't even need to formally endorse a product for brands to take advantage (see Taylor Swift snacking on nuggets with ketchup and "seemingly ranch" and Heinz using it to promote its Kranch condiment, which has been around since 2019). We see brands continuing to lean on pop culture to promote new products—and boost old ones—in 2024.
4. Affordable (Edible) Luxury
We're eternally indebted to TikTok for "little treat" culture. Whether your luxury of choice is boba tea, macarons or kombucha, we all deserve something that sparks joy between meals, as noted in Whole Foods Market's Top 10 Food Trends Forecast.
This affordable luxury trend is closely tied to food-focused travel. Booking.com notes that tourists are planning with budgets in mind rather than skipping trips to save money, but one thing they consistently have the dollars for is food: 78 percent of travelers seek new flavors while on the road and half plan trips around specific restaurants or dishes, with 61 percent of them prioritizing learning about a destination's signature dish. If bypassing the bougie hotel spa in favor of a street food splurge isn't affordable luxury, we don't know what is.
5. Ooey-Gooey Mashups
Remember when French onion pasta took over your TikTok feed earlier this year? Ready your taste buds for more cheese-infused hybrids that are bound to go viral with the help of social media. Pinterest notes search increases for "pizza pot pie" (55 percent), "carbonara ramen" (165 percent), "cheeseburger tacos" (255 percent) and "burger quesadilla" (80 percent).
6. Savory Cocktails on Restaurant Menus
Yes, boozeless beverages will continue to dig in their proverbial heels in the coming year. But savory cocktails with booze have been storming the drink scene. After the reign of sweet drinks like the dirty Shirley and espresso martini, bitter, complex and even hearty cocktails have taken over. (See the caprese, chicken soup and spicy pickle martinis of New York Times fame.)
"Balancing cocktails with more bitter (bitters, amaro, digestif) ingredients as opposed to just citrus is becoming more evident on cocktail menus," says Greg Innocent, beverage director at The Hampton Social. "I see the infusion of other culinary components to the cocktail scene, [like] fatty oils [and] cheeses to provide a silky cocktail on the palate."