Checking in with my 2024 trends forecast

Checking in with my 2024 trends forecast

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Since 2014, Jane and her team have been identifying, writing and speaking about agriculture, health, nutrition and food trends. Late last year, I created our 2024 trends forecast part one and part two. As we are almost half-way through 2024, let’s check in with the 2024 forecast to see which predictions are on target.

The six trends I predicted for 2024

1) Ingredients taking the spotlight; 2) Gut health; 3) The Blue economy; 4) Sweet heat 5) Women’s health and 6) Prioritizing planet health.

1) Ingredients taking the spotlight

For a decade I’ve been writing a series about unique ingredients called “What the heck is…” for my Grow with Nutrition blog. Similarly, for the past few years, I’ve been writing an ingredient spotlight for my client Canadian Food Focus. Now in 2024, ingredients are in the spotlight with consumers.

Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova identifies that specific ingredients are Taking the spotlight for 2024. “A third of the consumers we polled said they respond positively to certain key ingredients being flagged up,” Williams explains. “This may be for reasons of flavour or texture, for example, or other positive associations – not purely because of any better-for-you benefits,” she says. “Those associations might echo other well-loved products, snippets picked up from social media or potentially many years of online information on healthy ingredients from ‘superfruits’ to gut-friendly bacteria.” In two examples from Innova’s global research, 42 per cent of consumers said that ‘protein’ was the most important ingredient, while main meals featuring mushrooms (or specific mushroom types) as an ingredient grew 12 per cent year-on-year between 2018 and 2023.

Is this trend still on target?

  • Yes, this trend is on target, especially as people focus on the ingredients they want to spend their food dollars on.

 2) Gut health

Gut health is ongoing topic of interest for my business. From presenting on Breakfast Television to writing articles including for Food in Canada, the studies and emerging research on gut health makes it top of mine for consumers.

Puratos, a leading ingredients innovator in the bakery, sweet goods and chocolate industry unveiled industry trends and consumer preferences at its two-day conference, Taste Tomorrow 2023, held in Austin, September 19 and 20, 2023. Using cutting-edge data science and AI to transform raw data into actionable insights, Puratos identified the latest industry and consumer trends including the “Gut Feeling” Trend: Demanding gut-friendly delights for everyday meals. “By monitoring emerging trend signals and predicting their growth trajectories, we are able to gain insight into the future of our industry,” said Jaina Wald, vice president marketing, Puratos USA.

“Our goal is to remain at the forefront of innovation and ensure that our partners and clients stay ahead of the curve. A substantial 76 per cent of North American consumers recognize the essential role of improving gut health for overall health – from a boost in immunity to enhanced mental well-being. In fact, 66 per cent express interest in food products designed to enhance and enrich gut health.”

Is this trend still on target?

3) The blue economy

At SIAL Canada 2023, I presented a general overview of the blue economy and opportunities for the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth while ensuring healthy oceans. Additionally, I addressed the consumer trend of healthy for me, healthy for the planet. This included environmentally friendly foods including sea vegetables which were trending on the SIAL show floor. Likewise,

Oceans of possibilities is number eight out of Innova’s top ten trends for 2024. As we rethink agriculture for 2024 and the future, the blue economy is a concept that refers to the sustainable use and management of ocean and coastal resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and environmental sustainability. It includes a wide range of sectors, such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, renewable energy, shipping and marine biotechnology. It can contribute to economic growth by creating jobs and generating income for local communities. This can be through various sectors such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism and renewable energy.

Is this trend still on target?

  • Yes, this trend is on target. The future of the blue economy is alive and well. Sustainable management of ocean and coastal resources will continue well past 2024.


4) Sweet heat

I’ve been writing about turning up the heat in baking since 2016. Fast forward seven years later and we are discussing complex heat, spicy with a twist and swicy (sweet spicy) as a trend for 2024.

Whole Foods Market’s Trends Council predicts complex heat as one of their top 10 food trends for 2024. Cathy Strange, Ambassador of Food Culture for Whole Foods Market and member of the Trends Council says, “Complex heat continues its evolution with global peppers taking off in every aisle — and the trend is only getting hotter. Pepper-infused drinks are going beyond kombuchas, cold-pressed juices and smoothies, with ready-to-drink beverages like canned tepache filling up the fridge with a refreshing kick. Even Tajín is expanding from candies and cocktails to spicing up grocery store sushi, desserts and more.”

Flavorman, a leading custom beverage development company is predicting sweet heat for 2024. It sees fruity flavour profiles blended with spiciness or sweet heat fusions, gaining popularity among consumers in the year ahead. Flavours in such applications as a mango habanero pressed juice or a spicy margarita are seen gaining traction.

Is this trend still on target?

5) Women’s health

For far too long the medical sciences and research in general (for example automobile safety) have treated men and women as interchangeable subjects. Women make up half the population in both Canada and the U.S. As a result, there is an enormous opportunity to invest in women’s health research leading to product development and formulations specifically designed for women.

In 2022-2023, I partnered with my client Algarithm Ingredients to create research backed article about Women’s health and omega-3 DHA. Omega-3 is essential throughout life and may be particularly favourable for women’s endocrine-hormonal health, pregnancy health, mental health and of course heart health. More women’s health research will lead to practical awareness and treatment in primary care with accurate multi-disciplinary guidelines for prevention and disease treatments specific to women’s physiology.

The Whole Foods Market’s Trends Council predicts Women’s Health: from Taboo to Top of Mind as one of their top 10 trends for 2024. The Council describes seeing more brands making products to support periods, pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and even sleep that address life stages and symptoms previously swept under the rug.

Is this trend still on target?


6) Prioritizing planet health

Sustainability, regenerative agriculture, upcycled ingredients and companies innovating to address waste have been on my business radar for the past twelve years. The Whole Foods Market’s Trends Council forecasts Clean & Conserve: Water Stewardship as one of their top 10 trends for 2024.

From Innova’s global research, a greater awareness of the climate crisis plays out in different ways, and not always through products engaging directly with issues such as carbon footprint. Lu Ann Williams, Global Insights Director at Innova says, “From regenerative agriculture to farming conditions for livestock, brands which highlight a bond with nature and the environment are achieving cut-through with consumers. We identified ‘Nurturing nature’ as our number-two trend, and we feel this type of story can be a tiebreaker between competing products. For example, over the last four years, our analysis found an astonishing 40 per cent annual increase in food and drink products making some sort of water usage claim.”

Is this trend still on target?

Yes, this trend is on target, however as inflation persist, some consumers may struggle to prioritize sustainability over cost of their necessary foods. As a result, the industry will need to focus on making sustainable products more accessible without compromising consumers’ financial commitments.

Final thought – checking in with my 2024 trends forecast

Although none of us have a crystal ball, as an industry thought leader and health professional for over two decades, I am confident to confirm my 2024 trends forecast is on target for the rest of this year.

Contact Jane and her team to assist you on your upcoming projects and speak at your events including podcasts & webinars.

Copyright © 2024 Jane Dummer | All Rights Reserved

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