Kroger, America’s largest grocery chain, announced the company’s fourth annual Food Trends Report, and predicts plant-based foods will once again lead as a top grocery category.

The report, which forecasts emerging trends and popular products in the upcoming year, says plant-based purchasing is largely driven by consumers’ concerns for the health of the environment. In addition, consumers are seeking out plant-based products for indulgence, comfort, and nostalgia rather than basing their buying decisions on perceived healthiness or health labels alone.

In the comfort food category, Kroger offers a plethora of product options, including plant-based cookies, cheesecake, cupcakes, and Mac ‘n Cheese.

Overall, the shift to at-home meal preparation continues to dominate as more consumers turn to convenience and affordability, and return to social gatherings. Restaurant and travel-inspired cooking are especially attractive, as is the rise in umami-flavored products.

The report’s other major trends include:

  • The rise in natural health and beauty, led by fermented kombuchas, antioxidants, probiotics and omega-3’s
  • Diet-specific foods such as vegan, organic and gluten-free
  • Hyper-local fruits and vegetables purchased from alternative farms

Thanks to Kroger’s extensive Simple Truth line of plant-based foods, the chain’s shoppers have more options than ever for indulgent vegan cooking.

“Last year, even as many Americans returned to work and eased back into social gatherings, it became apparent that new habits were formed in 2020 and that they are here to stay – including cooking more at home. Customers are enjoying the convenience, affordability and just plain fun that comes from preparing meals at home,” said Stuart Aitken, Kroger’s senior vice president, chief merchant and marketing officer.

He added, “As at-home meals remain a staple, Kroger is proud to provide customers with fresh food options that meet them where they are in the kitchen – whether that’s a fresh heat-and-eat meal on a busy school night or a four-course recreation from your favourite restaurant you’ve missed.”

Original source: https://vegconomist.com