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Foods, Flavours, and Products for North Americans to Look For in 2022

16 February 2022

The new year is seeing innovative ideas and established trends take over the world of food. Now in the third year of the pandemic, consumers remain focused on their health and are seeking out natural alternatives to old favourites. As travel remains limited for many of us, there is a real desire to explore with one’s taste buds and experience international and fusion cuisines.

Therefore, 2022 brings fresh potential for the development of new products and the introduction of original flavours. Going forward, consumers will demand that producers create healthy, exciting, and novel options to satisfy their curiosities.


Motivated by personal and planetary health, many consumers are reducing their consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs. Although plant-curious, reducetarians aren’t ready (or willing) to go vegetarian or vegan, and animal products are still a part of their lives. They prefer high-quality animal products, such as grass-fed meats and pasture-raised eggs.

With plentiful plant-based options in restaurants and grocery stores, consumers can be flexible with their eating habits, and reducetarians are proof of this. As the interest in eating more plants continues to grow, we will see even more vegan and vegetarian options appearing on both menus and shelves.


Hibiscus is no stranger in the world of teas. Now this vibrantly coloured shrub is making its way into a range of products, such as fruit spreads, yogurts, and drinks. It’s rich in vitamin C, has a delicious flavour, and brings a distinctive hot-pink colour to products.


Yuzu is a small citrus fruit grown in China, Japan, and Korea. About the size of a tangerine, this fruit has big potential in the development of new products! It has a tart and sour flavour (like a lime-lemon-grapefruit hybrid), which is currently being used in vinaigrettes, hard seltzers, and mayos. In restaurants, yuzu is being added as an accent to soups, noodles, vegetables, and fish.

Turmeric (and Other Spices)

From golden lattes to dietary supplements, turmeric has been on an upwards trajectory for several years now. Turmeric was originally used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicines, and in recent years has been heralded for its anti-inflammatory properties. However, in the 2020s, its applications are stretching beyond health and wellness. Turmeric has a unique flavour and colour, which lends itself well to the creation of new products. This year, look for turmeric in cereals, sauerkrauts, and plant-based ice cream sandwiches.

Turmeric isn’t the only spice that will be catching the attention of consumers’ taste buds in 2022. Spice, peppers, and heat will also be on the menu. 2021 was the year of the chilli crisp; this year, will see food voyageurs continuing their exploration of spicy, international condiments. Gochujang, harissa, schug, and sambal will bring a kick to meals and fuel new product development.

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are an incredible substitute for nuts, creating allergy-friendly products that are safe in schools. Like nuts, they are high in protein and unsaturated fats, making them a healthy addition to products and meals. In the coming year, expect sunflower seeds to appear in a variety of items, such as crackers, salads, creamy cheeses, and more.

Fizzy Drinks and Buzz-Less Spirits

Where drinks are concerned, 2022 will see the desire for healthier options continue to grow, with new products being developed to meet this interest. Fizzy drinks, which have long been the antithesis of a healthy lifestyle, are getting an overhaul. Yet consumers can still count on delicious sweetness and fizz—just with a healthier twist. Unconventional ingredients and fruity flavours are being introduced to the sparkling drink world. Sodas and tonics are now being made with probiotics and prebiotics to make these drinks great for your gut.

The pandemic has seen many millennials and Gen Z-ers adopt “drysolation,” choosing to opt out of the booze. For the sober-curious, dialled-down spirits and alcohol-free drinks are here. These products saw record growth in 2021, and this year will see an even wider array of options.

Ultra-Urban Farming

The latest technologies are transforming the way food is grown. Hyper-local crops are now possible even in urban centres because of innovations in indoor farming, such as hydroponics and aquaponics. In some cases, robots are actually growing the produce! More than just ultra-local, these ultra-urban farms are more sustainable and efficient, satisfying the consumer desire for food that is better for the planet and grown closer to home.

Eco-Conscious Grains

Passion for planet health is spurring the development of novel foods and products. Grains are the latest food staple to undergo an eco-conscious mindset shift. Companies are switching to innovative farming practices and introducing new grain varieties in order to boost soil health! Pasta, cereals, and beer can now be made from grains that give back to the environment.


Amidst the stress and departure from normal life brought on by the pandemic, consumers have sought out their comfort foods. Familiar dishes and flavours also offer a way to feel connected to family, even when we can’t dine together in person. The sway of nostalgia has directed consumer cooking and purchasing habits, and several of the dishes expected to rise in popularity over 2022 have this component (for example, chicken tots and apple cobbler).

Drink choices will also be affected by this longing for a simpler, non-pandemic past. The Midori Sour and Long Island Iced Tea (iconic cocktails from the 1980s) will be making a comeback with some adjustments to modern sensibilities. Consumers of today are more health-focused, so these drinks will contain less sugar, more natural ingredients, and even freshly squeezed juices.

Cuisines Beyond Borders

International exploration through the food that we eat will continue into 2022. Just as the pandemic caused many to revisit Grandma’s recipes, it also inspired experimentation with exotic cuisines, ingredients, and flavours. Food is becoming borderless and multi-ethnic dishes are on the rise. With so many Gen Z-ers identifying as non-caucasian, cuisine is adapting to represent multiple cultures.

What to Expect in 2022…

As we enter the third year of the pandemic, the desire for healthy food options is still going strong. Whether seeking out familiar flavours in comfort foods or experimenting with exotic cuisine and international components, consumers want to feel good about their choices.

In 2022, health consciousness and eco-mindedness will guide many product developments and buying decisions. Natural ingredients, flavourful ingredients, alcohol-free drinks, and plant-based alternatives present vast opportunities for new product and food research developments. Consumers are prioritizing health and craving exciting food experiences, balanced with familiar comforts.

To learn more about product development, visit Hela Spice at www.helaspice.com or contact us here.

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