Food in 2022, 5 human-focused trends

This text is part of the special Plaisirs booklet

Our eating habits have changed a lot over the past two years. The COVID-19 pandemic has notably accelerated the emergence of online grocery shopping, boxed lunches and ready-to-cook foods. It also forced people to reconnect with their stoves, their needs, their local products and their artisans. This new paradigm where humans are back at the heart of food now seems to guide consumers towards choices that combine the individual with the collective. So what will be the watchword in 2022, and what food trends will result? Two industry experts answer us.

Each year-end, food marketing specialist and consultant Isabelle Marquis takes stock of what has happened on the Quebec food scene over the past 12 months. “I can advance that the watchwords for 2022 will be three in number,” she said: collaboration, enhancement and simplification. ”Notions which are not foreign to Sylvie Cloutier, president of the Council of the food transformation of Quebec (CTAQ), since several laureates of the Food Innovation Award of the organization, in 2021, reflect this movement. But how will these values ​​be reflected in concrete terms in 2022?

1. Circular economy

Already volatile this year, rising food prices in 2022 will change the purchasing habits of 63% of Canadians, according to the report on the future of the food industry sector, conducted by the Analytical Sciences Laboratory in Agri-Food from Dalhousie University. “Which means that more people will cook at home and limit waste,” thinks Sylvie Cloutier.

But this movement will also amplify, according to Isabelle Marquis, another trend: the revaluation of by-products previously intended for the trash, which is also called the circular economy. Indeed, companies like Loop Mission, which use surviving fruits and vegetables to produce drinks, as well as potato peels to make vodka, are on the rise. We have also seen spent grain, this vegetable by-product from the making of beer, shine in bread, chips and animal food.

“And this is only the beginning”, underlines the expert, who sees the development projects multiply thanks to the collaboration of university research centers.

2. Health

The principle of healthy eating is not new, but it is evolving. Less salt, less fat, replacement of refined sugars by natural sweeteners, such as maple or honey, development of new plant proteins (including insects, to watch out for in the coming years); from cereals to sauces, including frozen foods and desserts, the health trend is spreading. The momentum of teleworking and the related restructuring of our meals have also exploded the offer of more nutritious hybrid snacks that are similar to light meals.

We are also talking more and more about digestive health, with products that go beyond probiotics. “We are witnessing the great return of a thousand-year-old method, fermentation”, confirms Isabelle Marquis, who thinks that in 2022, we will see a lot of drinks, seaweed and fermented vegetables, but also products whose only certain ingredients. will be.

3. Transparency

It is one of the key words of the hour in food. Even though there is still a long way to go when it comes to transparency, for example for fish and seafood with often opaque origins, consumers now want to know what they are eating and how it has been done.

“They are sensitive to the notion of clean label, which promotes a short and clear list of ingredients, the absence of GMOs and artificial agents, and product traceability, ”says Sylvie Cloutier. This principle applies to everything, including plant-based products developed by industry, from veggie burger to cauliflower crust pizza.

“We realize that just because it’s vegetarian doesn’t mean it’s better for health or the environment,” explains Isabelle Marquis. If the plant ingredients of a product are hypertransformed, resulting from monocultures and have been around the world three times, they are no better than a traditional product. “

4. Local and ethnic

Local has been on everyone’s lips and in every grocery basket for two years. The Blanc de gris mushrooms, produced in the Hochelaga district, and the microgreens grown and sold at the Avril supermarket in Laval, are a good illustration of this trend, which the president of the CTAQ fears to see slowed down in 2022 for niche products due to the rising food prices.

We can even speak of ultralocal since we no longer only buy Quebecois, but a region, a neighborhood, the name of a producer.

“They will perhaps be more occasional than daily, but they will continue to be synonymous with pride and belonging,” said the consultant, for her part, who emphasizes that this feeling is also shared by new Quebecers. “We are seeing the emergence of the ethnic here beyond simple restoration,” she says.

Indeed, the success of Neapolitan pizza kits NTHE 900, Marisol paellas or Lili and Gordo tacos, or some ready-to-eat meals from J’ai Feng crystallize the multicultural character of Quebec on our plates. We can therefore expect to see many other initiatives of the kind appear over the next year.

5. Comfort and serenity

Until the arrival of the pandemic, it was always a question of “more everything” food – more explosive, more stimulating, more astonishing, more colorful – but now, according to Isabelle Marquis, we are experiencing a return to basics. From now on, it is the sure, comforting, simple and tasty values ​​that are popular.

When it comes to cereals, sauces, preserves, frozen foods or dairy products, sobriety is once again the order of the day. “It’s even more true for what is drunk,” says the expert. The whole wave of energy drinks is giving way to herbal drinks meant to soothe and refocus us. “

Will the year 2022 be synonymous with herbal teas? Maybe, but we still wish you happy holiday bubbles until then!

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