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The Manual predicts 2023’s hottest food trends

Old-school treats and intense flavor explosions are waiting for you in 2023

Man and woman in kitchen
Image used with permission by copyright holder

While we all love the culinary classics, food trends are fun. They just are. People get a kick out of predicting which fruit will soon get all the attention for its “newfound” magical health wonders or what condiment has been sitting on the shelf for too long and is due for a makeover. Old is new, new is out, up is down, and sweet is sour in the unpredictable world of food trends.

Whole Foods recently released their ever-popular top ten predictions of food trends in 2023, and there are quite a few items we’re excited about seeing more of next year. These are a few of our favorites from the Whole Foods list — as well as some of our own.

Cup of herbal tea.

Yaupon

North America’s only native caffeinated plant, Yaupon is a species of holly that’s turning heads for its unique flavor when brewed into teas. In-the-know bartenders across the country are even starting to introduce Yaupon cocktails on their menus. Known for its earthy flavor and many possible health benefits, including reduced inflammation and protection against diseases like diabetes, this little plant is sure to shine next year.

A pile of dates

Dates

This ancient little fruit is overdue for a comeback, and 2023 may finally be the year. Often associated with our grandparents’ dusty cupboards, the date is starting to get some much-deserved new attention for its buttery, syrupy sweetness, and we’re stoked. We’re looking forward to lots of hot dates in 2023.

man working in his garden of vegetables.

Climate consciousness

This one has been on the list for a while, sure. While it may be getting a little repetitive, we’re happy for it to top the list every year. The more awareness we have of environmentally friendly food products and companies, the better, and 2023 seems to be ringing in even more. With clearer labels, more company transparency, and greater efforts by large companies to practice more sustainable farming, we’re hoping this trend only continues to grow!

Bowl of mac n' cheese
SocialButterflyMMG / Pixabay

Old-school cool

This trend has been popping up everywhere for a while. You can’t open TikTok without seeing at least two nostalgia-soaked videos on your feed. Reels titled “10 things you did if you were a ’90s kid” or “5 foods you totally ate if you grew up in the late 80s” are everywhere, and food companies have taken notice. Perhaps because of all of the world’s new hardships, people are itching for some nostalgic comfort foods. According to Whole Foods, retro products are being reinvented with a new generation of consumer in mind and combining the best of both worlds. We should expect to see retro treats like pizza rolls and mac-n-cheese making big appearances, only with healthier ingredients used this time around.

Of course, while Whole Foods is wonderful and they’ve made very accurate predictions in years past, they certainly aren’t the only ones who call the shots. We’ve heard even more whispers. Rumor has it there are a few future food trends that Whole Foods missed, and we’re here to spill the (yaupon?) tea.

Tamales, peppers, and other ingredients

Bold and intense flavors

In the past few years, we’ve seen hot sauce transform into somewhat of a god in the world of condiments. If you can believe it, hot sauce was once something that came in just a few varieties and never really made tabletop appearances anywhere but Mexican restaurants. Now it’s an absolute giant in the world of saucy seasonings. In 2023, we can expect to see many other dressings and condiments hopping aboard that same train. Honeys, syrups, ketchups, and other sauces are all expected to branch out and kick up their flavor options. We’re expecting a lot of heat and a lot of extraordinarily bold, and perhaps unexpected, flavor combinations.

An overhead shot of condiments and dishes on a table.

Globally inspired condiments

This trend has already started to appear in things like kimchi and Japanese barbecue sauce. A more well-traveled world has developed a more diverse palette, leading to us craving a variety of ethnic foods at our fingertips and, therefore, in our grocery store aisles. In 2023, we’re expecting to be introduced to even more international condiments that we can bring home to enjoy.

chocolate and nuts

Sweet plus

As people have become more daring in their eating habits, the popularity of fusion cuisine and unusual flavor combinations has absolutely skyrocketed. The “sweet plus” trend is simply an extension of that. Think “sweet plus heat” or “sweet plus sour.” We’ve already seen a plethora of snacks in this category become immensely popular, such as chili pepper and dried fruit or chocolate-covered nuts. Next year, we expect to find many more unique flavor combinations in things like breakfast cereals, snack foods, and sauces.

Kimchi served in a porcelain bowl beside chopsticks.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Fermented foods

Here is another trend that’s been brewing (fermenting?) for some time. While fermented foods are certainly nothing new, their trendiness has been sneaking in and taking hold of us with things like kimchi and kombucha for the past few years. In 2023, we’re anticipating a bag wave of fermented foods will hit the shelves. This trend ties in deliciously with the “sweets plus” prediction, as many traditionally sweet flavors are expected to fuse with fermented flavors. We’ve begun to see this unusually tasty combination already in products like McCormick’s miso caramel seasoning, which launched just this year.

With all of these predictions, it’s looking like 2023 will be anything but bland.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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