Can't stop thinking about food today in anticipation of the feast tomorrow? Neither can I, which makes Whole Foods' timing impeccable. The grocery chain just announced their annual end-of-year predictions for food trends to watch in 2019 (hat tip to The Cut).

It's jam-packed with weird-sounding snacks that the company is convinced all of us will suddenly start craving next year. What do you think: appetizing or revolting?

1. Jackfruit as a meat replacement

Whole Foods is seeing a spike in customer interest in food from the Pacific rim, such as flavors from the Philippines or Chile. So far, so delicious-sounding, but the grocery chain says interest is set to go beyond just more nights out at your local Thai restaurant.

"Ingredients like longganisa (a Filipino pork sausage), dried shrimp, cuttlefish and shrimp paste are on restaurant and home menus that span from breakfast to dinner," reports Whole Foods, while jackfruit from the region will become "a popular meat alternative... in place of items like barbecue pulled pork."

2. "Fat bombs"

Sorry bread lovers, Whole Foods sees the trend away from carbs and towards various meat and fat-heavy paleo and keto diets continuing next year. In fact, fat is set to be big in 2019, even sneaking into unexpected snacks. Get ready to find extra fat in everything from coffee to chocolate.

"New integrations of fat sources -- like keto-friendly nutrition bars crafted with MCT oil powder, coconut butter-filled chocolates, snacks affectionately called 'fat bombs' and a new wave of ready-to-drink vegan coffee beverages inspired by butter coffees -- are busting on the scene," clams the chain."Keep your eyes and taste buds open for popcorn made with grass-fed ghee, multiple flavors of ghee that range from sweet to savory, plus new variations on traditional meaty snacks like chicken chips and thin, crisped beef jerky."

3. Vegetarian pork rinds

Jackdaw "pulled pork" isn't the only fake meat craze coming in 2019, according to Whole Foods. With many consumers vowing to eat less meat both for their health and the health of the planet, other traditionally meat-y snacks are getting a vegetarian makeover too. 

"Plant-based foods will continue to surprise and inspire -- this year taking on the meat-based snacking world of jerkies and pork rinds you may associate with the corner store and road trips," notes Whole Foods, which explains that mushrooms are usually the basis of these fresh takes on old road trip favorites.

4. Avocado icecream​

Vanilla is... well, so vanilla. The world of icecream is due for a shakeup, insists Whole Foods, which predicts new flavors like "avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water," coming soon to a grocery store near you.

5. Seaweed snacks

The green gunk that grows at the edge of ponds and beaches isn't immediately appetizing, but Whole Foods is betting that food companies are going to find lots of ways to make seaweed and other lesser known ocean products snack-worthy next year.

"Our experts expect even more ocean influence in the grocery aisles in the year to come," declares the company. "Puffed snacks made from water lily seeds, plant-based tuna alternatives with algae ingredients, crispy snackable salmon skins with omega-3s and kelp jerkies are just a few testing the waters."

These new snack offerings are intriguing for all of us as eaters (you be the judge of whether they sound weirdly delicious or just downright weird), but they are also interesting to business owners in the food space who are looking to keep on top of the latest trends. This group might want to check out the complete release, which includes insights on things like packaging, pantry staples, and cleaning products, as well as snacks.

Published on: Nov 21, 2018
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