Sustainability, plant-based top food trends for 2022

The top human food trends for 2022—sustainability and its offshoots, plant-based, gut health—all play an increasingly important role in pet food, too.

Sustainability permeates many top human food and pet food trends for 2022. grapestock I
Sustainability permeates many top human food and pet food trends for 2022. grapestock I
2022 white text and light bulb with small plant inside on green grass field over aerial view of cityscape at sunset, vintage style, Happy new year 2022 ecological cover concept

It’s that time of year again: to announce top trends for the coming year. Often, trends for human food fall right in line with ones that pet food experts predict for our market. We’ll have the pet food trends in the January 2022 issue; meanwhile, these top human food trends offer a preview.

Sustainability. Appearing on many trends lists for several years, including for pet food in 2021, sustainability grabbed the top spot on Innova Market Insights’ list of 10 human food trends in 2022 as “Shared Planet,” while “Sustainable Goodness” ranked seventh on a list of eight from ADM.

Innova surveys of consumers in 10 countries (U.K., U.S., Spain, France, Brazil, India, Germany, Mexico, China and Indonesia) showed that health of the planet supplanted health of the population as the top global concern in 2021. In ADM’s consumer research, 47% globally said they are now more attentive to sustainability claims.

Plant-based. The focus on the planet and sustainability links to many other top food trends for 2022, including Innova’s second, “Plant-Based: The Canvas for Innovation.” In asking consumers the reasons they would consider plant-based products, “better for the planet” ranked second after health in 2021, moving up from third in 2020. “Plant-Based Lifestyles” also ranked second on ADM’s list.

Upcycling/renewables/bio-based. In another offshoot, sustainability scored as a chief reason for consumers who prefer upcycled ingredients to consider them higher quality. Innova named “Upcycling Redefined” as its ninth trend, as 35% of consumers said they find products with upcycled ingredients more appealing. Global food and beverage launches with a food waste or upcycling claim increased 54% annually from 2016 to 2020.

ADM found that 38% of “conscientious” consumers globally are willing to pay more for products made with sustainable materials, including upcycled ones and “bio-solutions” (ADM’s eighth trend).

Feeling it in the gut. ADM’s research showed that 58% of global consumers are aware of the benefits of digestive bacteria to their overall health; Innova’s consumer survey showed an even stronger awareness, with 66% believing gut health is key to holistic well-being. Thus, “Microbiome as the Root of Wellness” scored third on ADM’s trends list, and “Gut Glory,” sixth on Innova’s.

All play in pet food, too. Sustainability and its offshoots, plant-based and the microbiome are all increasingly important to pet owners as they seek to feed their furry family members similarly to how they feed the human ones.


More on 2022 pet food trends


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