CINCINNATI -- Kroger has revealed its predictions for food trends that will steer the market in 2019.
The supermarket retailer teamed up with its private-brand developers, chefs and innovators to gain insight into which attributes are poised to be most desirable to consumers in the coming year.
Many of these trends line up with the "mega-trends" Kroger revealed at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Food Forward event earlier this month, in which the retailer also revealed the launch of its Peculiar Picks ugly produce program.
1. Regional Flavors
Consumers can expect to see more products inspired by U.S. regional as well as global flavors, from regional barbecue sauces to potato chips inspired by the likes of Nashville hot chicken and southern Appalachian pimento cheese, according to Kroger officials.
2. Plant-Based Foods
As more consumers make an effort to incorporate plant-based options into their diets, whether they are vegetarian or flexitarian, eating meat-free more often or on certain occasions, an increasing number of these items are expected to pop up on shelves in 2019.
3. Eating Styles
More of its customers are purchasing better-for-you products and subscribing to diet styles such as vegetarian, flexitarian, keto and paleo, said Kroger. In response, the retailer plans to innovate new products that make living these lifestyles easier.
4. Gut-Healthy Foods
More consumers are seeking foods that support self-care and healthy immune systems more than ever, leading to an uptick in demand for products rich in probiotics, Kroger said.
5. Low-Sugar and Natural Sweeteners
Consumers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce or eliminate sugar from their diets with alternate sweeteners such as honey and agave, spurring the innovation of new solutions that are flavorful yet low in sugar.
The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, has 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banners.