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The 2019 food forecast

Industry insiders share their predictions for next year’s biggest trends.

Last year, Furthermore experts forecasted that oat milk would become ubiquitous—and it certainly did become a celebrity favorite and a widespread fixture in coffee shops. In 2019, Equinox experts and other nutrition pros anticipate trends like DNA diets, an emphasis on healthy convenience foods, and CBD-laced artisanal products.

Cassava will be the gluten-free flour of choice.
Cassava is a root vegetable that’s common in Latin American cuisine. Tapioca, often used to add texture to dishes, is a starch extracted from cassava. “We’ll see more of cassava and tapioca,” predicts Katzie Guy-Hamilton, Equinox’s New York City-based director of food and beverage. Since cassava is more allergen-friendly than nut flour, she explains, it will be a popular ingredient in breads, snacks, and other baked goods. “We have been using tapioca flour for centuries, and learning how to leverage the product is on trend. I see cassava pancake recipes and muffins in our future.”

Small batch foods will be in demand.
Consumers will become more attracted to traditional production methods combined with a creative twist, like the craft-brewing trend, says Libby Mills, MS, RDN, and Philadelphia-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Small-batch foods like granola, meat jerky, and bean-to-bar chocolates will continue to be pervasive, and the producers will take even more opportunity to celebrate origins, slowed-down artisanal processes, and innovative and unexpected flavor combinations.

Good-for-you convenience foods will explode.
“More companies are working to help simplify customers’ lives—to cut down on meal prep or provide clean food for when you don’t have time to cook,” says Guy-Hamilton. “Hungryroot expanded from zoodles and is in the prepared-foods business, with sauces and pulses that are better for you and plant-based. Haven's Kitchen, one of my favorite cooking schools and community spaces, has launched a line of prepared products using real food ingredients.” Michelle Tam, Palo Alto–based author of Nom Nom Paleo, predicts that healthy convenience foods like avocado oil mayonnaise and riced cauliflower will be even more widespread in the marketplace.

Low-emission protein sources will be embraced.
Bethany Snodgrass, New York City-based operations manager at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute, expects a shift toward more sustainable food options—proteins like nuts, bugs (such as crickets), seeds, and beans—that require lower emissions to produce.

Designer DNA diets will become more common.
More and more companies are emerging to assess one’s DNA and to offer an additional service of developing a personalized dietary plan tailored to the DNA results,” says Deanna Minich, Ph.D., Seattle–based Equinox Health Advisory Board member and author of The Rainbow Diet. “Preliminary research suggests that personalized diets may fare better when it comes to compliance and outcomes. It may take the guesswork out of eating for some.”

Tea will take over.
“Tea and its medicinal quality will continue to stake claim with both function and ceremony,” anticipates Guy-Hamilton. “Learning to harness chamomile, mint, fennel, pollen, rose, roots, and oregano and delivering it in a soothing product, which is tea, is not only calorie-friendly, it is a self-care habit that can be built into an energizing morning, stabilizing afternoon, or evening wind-down routine,” she explains. “Tea is also flavor, so where you would use water or broth, try adding tea.”

Food companies will respond to consumer awareness.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly educated about food, ingredients, and farming practices, and what that means for their bodies,” says Brandon Marcello, Ph.D, a high-performance strategist in Sarasota, Florida, and member of Equinox’s Health Advisory Board. “As a result, there will be a lot of pressure on food companies to shift their business practices toward making better-quality food. As an example, Heinz responded to consumer pressure around the ingredients in their ketchup [and introduced] Simply Heinz, which goes back to the original recipe: Tomatoes, spices, sugar, and vinegar. No artificial colors, flavorings, or preservatives.” Marcello notes that more companies are bowing to consumer pressure, offering more organic and non-GMO products and shifting away from items like high-fructose corn syrup. While not every food company will change their practices, he expects that many will, and that new food companies will pop up to meet consumer demands.