How are the predicted food trends of 2019 holding up so far in the US?

And then, all at once, they weren’t.

Not on the supermarket shelves, not in the coffee shops.

In fact, it was all sold out.

It was too much demand, all too soon and Oatly was struggling to keep up, in fact, they still are.

They’re trying their best though and have plans to open their new factory in Millville, New Jersey to help cope with the demand.

Hopefully, the next time you check your local coffee shop or grocery store, you’ll find it.

Introducing oat milk to the American market through coffee shops was a smart decision on Oatly’s part.

It’s much easier to say ‘yeah, sure, why not?’ when your barista asks if you would like to try oat milk instead of soy or almond today, compared to heading to the supermarket and picking up a whole new carton or bottle of oat milk instead of your regular choice.

The latter is the strategy pea milk tried out and based on the data, it doesn’t seem to be working so well.

Add descriptionPea… milk?Yep, you read right.

Pea milk.

No, it isn’t a mushy green liquefied mess and no it doesn’t taste like the vegetable either.

The drink is made out of yellow peas.

The peas are milled into flour and then water is added to that flour, resulting in pea milk.

Some say it has a taste comparable to almond milk but has a tangy after-taste, meanwhile others say it tastes like soy milk.

The company that invented pea milk, Ripple, was founded in 2015 and the product has been on the shelves for several years.

However, it hasn’t had quite the success oat milk has had.

Photo by Dr.

Archer Atkins at archerfriendly.

comPea milk is higher in protein and creamier than almond and soy milk (it has thickeners as part of its ingredients list too) so, it could potentially be an up and coming strong contender in the dairy alternatives market but, it still isn’t seen much in coffee shops.

Neither is it generating as much interest as oat milk has been considering that pea milk’s popularity dropped by 1.

4% in 2019.

Perhaps there’s still some apprehension to the idea of pea milk.

After all, I’m sure most of you conjured up the image of a green mushy liquid when you first read the words pea milk.

That and maybe the after-taste has people turning away from pea milk.

With oat milk showing no signs of slowing down, it looks like pea milk might have to step up their game in order to capture a larger portion of the ever growing plant-based milk market and with Ripple’s recent introduction of their barista style plant-based milk, they just might.

All they have to do now is to get the coffee community behind them.

Who knows?.The baristas might just lead another revolution in the dairy-free milk industry.


CeltuceThis thick stemmed and green leaf vegetable has many names such as asparagus lettuce and stem lettuce, but the name celtuce itself, coined by W Atlee Burpee, the man who introduced the vegetable to America, comes from the combination of celery + lettuce, yet some still call it celery lettuce too.

Sometimes, the vegetable is also referred to as Chinese lettuce as well since it’s found mostly in Chinese cuisine.

Though, the Chinese themselves call the vegetable wosun or qingsun.

Photo by Vmenkov, Wikimedia CommonsDifferent types of celtuce are found in different areas in China and the type determines whether mainly the stem will be used in the dish or both the leaves and the stem will be used.

The leaves are said to be delicious stir-fried but the stem however seems to be the centre of attention when it comes to this vegetable.

The stem is said to be crunchy, crisp and even tastes a little nutty.

In Chinese cuisine, the stem is sliced up and either pickled or stir-fried, both resulting in delicious dishes.

Most of the time, in America, the vegetable is found on the menu of high-end restaurants as the vegetable isn’t really widely available at your local supermarket.

Instead, you usually find them at the local Asian grocer, along with other produce you probably haven’t heard of before.

Celtuce has been recommended on many year-end food trends prediction lists, mostly for the fact that it has been on countless menus of fine-dining restaurants (e.

g: Kinship, Melisse & etc.


They’re predicting that the trend will now trickle down through to the masses.

Though you will have a hard time finding celtuce at the grocers, the quaint vegetable seems to be popping up more frequently at the farmer’s market now considering that they are a rather easy crop to grow.

However, it isn’t just celtuce that has been gaining popularity, in fact greens in general seem to be having a good first quarter of 2019.

Rise of the vegetablesThere was a time where meat reigned supreme but vegetables seem to be stealing the spotlight as of late.

Vegetarian and vegan options on a menu were scarce just about a decade or two ago but now it is nothing but a norm.

Nowadays, people are looking for more ways to include vegetables in their diet, curious to try out different greens instead of the regular lettuce and broccoli.

Though, that’s not to say meat has completely fallen off its pedestal but vegetables surely are climbing their way up.

Take a look at some of the vegetables taking 2019 by storm.

With the exception of beets, all vegetables saw individual growth in popularity between the two years.

However, a large percentage increase doesn’t mean that it is more popular overall.

Take the celtuce numbers for example.

More people are interested in celtuce in 2019 vs.

2018 but that doesn’t mean more people are interested in celtuce over beets.

Beets are still popular overall, it’s just that fewer people are interested in it this year compared to the last.

But, what exactly has caused this shift in consumers seeking out more vegetables though?.The answer is keto.

Seeing that for many of the vegetables, the related queries have been about whether these vegetables are in accordance with the keto diet, a low carb, high fat diet, it’s got to be keto.

With more and more people following the keto diet, it is apparent that low carb vegetables are in while high carb ones are out, which probably also explains why the high carb beet has dropped in popularity.

However, an anomaly to this theory is cassava which is a high carb vegetable.

Cassava has seen an increase in popularity this year by 30.

1% to be exact.

This is mostly due to the rise of cassava flour and the fact that it can be used to make tortillas.

Compared to corn flour, cassava flour is grain-free and gluten-free thus making many make the switch.

Although the high carb flour does not meet the keto diet requirements, it meets the requirement of another popular diet called peganism, which stands for paleolithic veganism.

The paleolithic diet has been making its rounds for a while now.

In case you aren’t quite sure what it is, the paleo diet is a diet plan where you eat foods that you would have during the Paleolithic era when humans were hunters and gatherers.

This means that their diet consists of lean meats, fish, vegetables and grains.

Peganism is essentially an offshoot of this diet where you draw key points from both diets.

It’s the paleolithic diet but with a focus on veganism.

So pegans will eat mostly vegetables, grains etc.

but unlike vegans, they are allowed to eat meat and dairy products, however, only sparingly though.

I know, I know, with so many diet trends fading in and out, it’s hard to keep track sometimes with what’s hip and what’s not.

To make things easier, here’s a look at three diets expected to do well this year.

So far, it’s looking good.

Add descriptionAs can be seen above, keto is still by and large the most popular diet, but both peganism and semi-vegetarianism are showing upward trends too.

Although not pictured, the paleo diet saw a decrease of 0.

3% which shows that these diets that have a strong focus on consuming vegetables seem to be leading the way in 2019.

Though semi-vegetarianism also known as the flexitarian diet shows the lowest percentage increase for this quarter compared to the other diets, it could very well pick up steam as the months roll on.

It is the only diet of the three that isn’t exactly restrictive.

The flexitarian diet, like the others, asks that you consume more vegetables but it does not condemn the consumption of meat or dairy, instead it endorses the act of introducing more plants and grains into your diet, encouraging you to gain most of your protein from plants and beans such as lentils and etc.

Essentially, it’s like vegetarianism but without the commitment.

Casual vegetarianism, if you will.

These diets, and the general trend of moving away from meat has much influence over the public’s general interest in the items on this list.

In fact, it could explain the rise of the next item too.


FonioNative to West Africa, this grain has been hailed as the next quinoa.

It comes in two types, that being black fonio and white fonio.

However, the latter is the more popular one.

Traditionally, in Senegal, it is prepared similarly to rice and eaten with mafé, a peanut sauce.

Photo by Yolele Foods at yolelefoods.

comLike quinoa, it is an alternative to the standard white rice.

Compared to rice, fonio has a higher protein and fiber content.

It is also rich in amino acids, particularly methionine and cysteine which are two amino acids that are typically lacking in many other popular grains.

Iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins, are also higher in fonio than in rice.

This is important as those who choose to exclude meat from their diet sometimes struggle to obtain enough of these nutrients from their diet.

Though definitely better than rice, how does it shape up next to one of the most popular rice alternatives, quinoa?Add descriptionWhen compared individually, fonio had a higher percentage increase in popularity.

However, in terms of general notoriety, quinoa is definitely the more popular one.

This is no surprise considering the limelight that it has been enjoying for the past few years.

Quinoa although technically a seed and not a grain, has been hailed as a superfood for quite some time now.

It’s high in protein and fibre, and packed with nutrients & fibre.

Compared to fonio, it’s actually higher in fibre and in most cases, depending on the product, higher in protein too.

Both are gluten-free though, so that’s a relief for all those who have celiac disease.

But if fonio is meant to take the title from quinoa, where then does fonio clearly stand-out?Minerals, that’s where.

Data from Gatom FoodsCalcium, iron, magnesium, zinc.

Fonio bests quinoa in terms of content of those 4 minerals but why does that matter though?.What do these minerals do for us anyway?Well, iron is needed for the formation of red blood cells while zinc is needed for the body’s immune system.

Calcium on the other hand, ensures that your bones stay strong and healthy while magnesium is necessary for energy metabolism and helps in muscle contraction as well as blood clotting.

Ensuring that you reach the average requirement of these minerals are beneficial to the body.

However, a national US survey conducted by NHANES for 2007–2010 showed that Americans were generally consuming inadequate amounts of these 4 minerals.

Magnesium being the highest where 52% of the general population was found to be consuming below the estimated average requirement while for calcium, zinc and iron, that value was 44%, 11% and 7% respectively.

With more and more Americans moving towards vegetarian or vegan diets, this is worrying.

Considering that meat is a good source of magnesium and iron, and the fact that milk is usually the main source of calcium in the average diet, cutting these products out of your diet could spell trouble for most.

However, by turning to products like fonio, one can obtain the nutrients needed while still maintaining a vegetarian/vegan diet.

Minerals aside, vegetarians/vegans also struggle with getting enough protein when they cut out meat because they are used to low protein vegetables like broccoli, asparagus and other leafy greens.

That’s why they turn to grains like quinoa or fonio to ensure they get enough proteins.

Other vegan/vegetarian friendly options are popular ones such as tofu, seitan and more recently, plant-based meat.

Here’s a quick look at how these alternatives to meat stack-up against each other.

Tofu and seitan which were once the go-to replacements for meat due to their high protein content, however they find themselves taking the back-seat this year with a decrease in popularity by 0.

4% and 14% respectively.

Seitan, a food made from gluten has seen a substantial drop in popularity as more and more consumers move towards gluten-free foods.

Tofu on the other hand which is made out of fermented soybeans has long stood supreme, but with the rise of plant-based meats, there’s been a slight decrease in popularity.

However, do keep in mind that tofu still is more popular overall compared to both seitan and Beyond Meat.

Though, that may change soon.

Meat but plantsBeyond Meat, a company that specializes in plant-based meat has seen a surge in popularity this year with general hype surrounding the industry lending to an increase in searches.

The term has a seen a whopping 58.

2% increase compared to 2018.

Now some of you might be scratching your head at the term plant-based meat because how is that even possible?.Oh, but it is and it’s taking the country by storm.

Beyond Burger, Photo by Beyond MeatIn recent years, the meat industry has come under harsh criticism due to issues such as animal cruelty to sustainability.

Videos of cramped cages and mistreatment of the animals were shared relentlessly over social media and post after post on the environmental impact meat production circled around the net.

From the inefficient land use, to the water needed to generate the feed needed for livestock to the greenhouse gas emissions from cattle, it seemed like there were so many environmental cons to producing meat.

Yet, for many, it was hard to give up meat because there was no alternative that tastes like it.

Enter plant-based meat.

First there were patties that looked just like beef patties.

Then there were meatballs, sausages, taco meat, and with each month, there seems to be a new product.

Companies such as Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have been the pioneers of the plant-based meat industry, with new companies cropping up at every turn.

But, let’s back up a little bit here because it’s interesting that they have all these products but how exactly to they make plants look and taste like meat?Well, for the patties, Impossible Foods uses soy protein isolate while Beyond Meat uses pea protein isolate (thus it is a soy-free product).

These are the base of the patties and is also responsible for much of the protein content of the patties.

Then ingredients like canola, coconut or sunflower oil helps give it that juicy texture that we are accustomed to when eating meat.

Potato starch, methylcellulose, xantham gum, gum arabic and etc.

help bind the patty together to keep it from crumbling apart.

It also helps to provide the right texture to mimic that of a beef patty.

To really top things of, these plant-based meat patties even bleed like beef patties.

They have that classic red-pink hue that red meat has.

To achieve that, Impossible Foods uses heme.

They use soy leghemoglobin to be specific and they do so by using genetically engineered yeast to mass produce it thus making it more sustainable and time efficient than extracting it from soy itself.

The compound not only confers the red colour to meat but it is also what makes the patty taste like red meat.

According to Impossible Foods, heme is the compound that’s found in high quantities in animal tissues and is what gives raw meat that bloody taste.

During cooking, heme catalyzes which thus gives meat the meaty taste and aroma.

So, really, they killed two birds with one stone… or perhaps three because heme confers colour, taste and aroma.

Beyond Meat on the other hand, takes a different approach, the non-GMO approach.

They use beet juice extract to give their patties that red, meaty look.

The juice is pressed and then dehydrated in order to concentrate the colour.

For taste, they isolate molecules in meat that give that meaty taste and aroma and then they pinpoint and match them to similar molecules found in plants.

These are then used to give their patty a similar taste to that of red meat.

Perhaps all together it is a lengthier process but some people shrink away at the mention of GMO or anything related to genetic engineering so, being a GMO-free product draws in customers who are seeking products that align with their beliefs.

Taking the leapIt was hard to get people to give plant-based meat a chance at first.

The texture wasn’t right, there was a weird after-taste.

But as time went on, and new formulations were put out, the public seemed to gravitate towards the product.

From crumbly patties, to juicy ones that even bleed like meat, the industry has grown leaps and bounds.

What once was a novel product found in select restaurants, now finds itself on the menu at big fast food chain restaurants like Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, Carl’s Jr.

’s Beyond Burger and Del Taco’s Beyond Taco.

Even LinkedIn’s very own Jeff Weiner is a fan of the Impossible Burger.

LinkedIn’s CEO, Jeff Weiner and his thoughts on the Impossible Burger.

Predicting trends aren’t too easy but in this case, it seems like analysts and journalists alike had gotten it right.

Just last week, Beyond Meat went public with its IPO price placed at $25 per share.

By the end of the day, the prices had soared to 163% above that at $67.


This made Beyond Meat the best-performing IPO in about two decades.

So now, everyone wants a piece of Beyond Meat.

With plant-based meat gaining widespread consumer acceptance, more companies are looking into releasing their take on it.

Tyson Foods expects their products to be released in the coming months, Whole Foods will be stocking Lightlife’s plant-based burgers soon and surely there will be a host of announcements from various companies that will follow suit.

Despite the looming threat of competitors racing to take a piece of the pie themselves, Beyond Meat’s CEO, Ethan Brown, seems unfazed.

In fact, he likes it.

“I think competition is good — it helps to grow awareness of the sector,” He said to Vox’s Sigal Samuel.

Perhaps he’s right.

The sector only seems to garner more interest with every day.

Yet, there are whispers of another competitor that’s attempting to take away from the traditional meat industry.

Lab grown meat, an obviously sustainable alternative to actually raising a cow.

When it becomes commercially accessible to the masses, will plant-based meat be a thing of the past?.Guess we’ll have to wait a few more years to find out.

Trend or Fad?There is no true science to predicting food trends.

Some analysis is involved and a lot of guessing is done because humans, we’re often an unpredictable bunch.

With food trends, sometimes it’s hard to tell which one will stay for years to come and which one will fade into oblivion after just a few months.

Sometimes all it really takes is one viral video to sway it either way.

Are we all going to be oat milk drinking, celtuce crunching, fonio munching people by the end of the year?.It’s hard to say.

In any case, these food trend predictions lists will continue to be churned out at the end of every year and many will flock to read them… only to forget about most of the items by the time mid-January swings by.

Yet, I think it’s interesting to follow these lists, to see how some of the items eventually do win out over the others, solidifying its place as a food trend.

They always seemingly appear out of nowhere, but if you look closely enough, there’s always a story behind them.

Methodology:This project used data from Google Trends.

Data regarding each item was extracted for months January — March for both 2018 and 2019 for the USA region before being compared to each other.

Graphs and charts were made using Tableau and edited in Photoshop.


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