Healthy Eating

The Biggest Food Trends of 2024

All things “swicy,” guilt-free treats, mocktails, personalized nutrition, and more!

By: Lexy Parsons

Driven by data from trends experts like Whole Foods and Pinterest, consumer preferences — particularly for easy-prep recipes made from wholesome ingredients — and a global commitment to sustainability, the anticipated 2024 food trends are looking healthier and more delicious than ever. In response to a growing demand for transparency, expect to see product labels shift back to basics with short and simple ingredient lists that emphasize real, nutrient-dense foods. And while taste remains a top priority, it’s anticipated that the foodie community will place equal emphasis on environmental impact and nutritional value. From plant-powered dishes made with real plants to personalized nutrition solutions for gut health, immune health, women’s health, and more, the food industry is embracing a holistic approach that considers not only the well-being of individuals but also the health of the planet. With so many promising changes ahead, these forecasted 2024 healthy eating trends are set to positively reshape the way we look at our plate. Keep reading to see what’s in store for 2024!

RELATED: The Top 2024 Wellness Trends 

The Healthiest 2024 Food Trends You’ll Want to Add To Your Plate

Plant-Based Plant Foods

Forget the processed plant foods made with soy and other artificial substitutes; 2024 is giving rise to a new era of plant-based eating, and it’s centered around real, wholesome plants and produce. Made with ingredients like mushrooms, kelp, algae, legumes, walnuts, and other nutrient-dense whole foods sources, expect to see more simplified plant-based products like innovative veggie burgers, dairy-free milk alternatives, protein alternatives, and more.

Here are some plant-based products on our radar:

(Not So) Faux Fish

Another plant-based eating trend expected to take center stage is the trend of faux fish. 

But, much like the aforementioned trend, this vegan alternative is steering away from processed substitutes and embracing healthy, wholesome ingredients that will redefine the plant-based seafood experience. Think: carrots as an alternative to traditional salmon lox, and scallops made from trumpet mushrooms. Plus, veggies will shine in pre-made sushi rolls and poke bowls like Konscious Foods plant-based California and Rainbow rolls, and we’ll even see the emergence of burgers made from sea veggies. 

Botanical Flavors 

While herbs and spices are here to stay, floral flavors with medicinal benefits — like chamomile, lavender, honeysuckle, and rose — are making their way onto our plates. Utilizing the entire plant (including the flowers, roots, and herbs), the rise in botanical ingredients will not only bring forth flavor, but also a variety of health benefits. From mocktails and teas to botanical-infused snacks, be on the lookout for this trend!

Harnessing the Whole Cacao

Cacao has been a superfood staple utilized in our kitchen for quite some time. However, we’ve apparently been neglecting (and even discarding) parts of the cacao plant that deserve some serious attention — namely, cacao pulp and cacao water. So, in 2024, we’re putting the whole cacao plant to use! Brands are now recognizing the untapped potential of these often wasted components and turning typically tossed by-products into upcycled superfoods. Great news for our bodies, and the environment! In addition to cacao powder and cacao nibs, expect to see the rest of the plant used in products like trail mix, granola, tea, and even pure cacao water. 

Buckwheat as a Super Seed

Thanks to its dual benefits in both health and environmental sustainability, buckwheat is a super seed that’s quickly gaining traction as a trending ingredient for 2024. Commonly mistaken for a grain, buckwheat is actually a nutrient-rich seed packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants. The best part? Despite being gluten and grain-free, it’s highly versatile and can be enjoyed in the same ways as typical whole grains like oats and quinoa.

RELATED: What You Really Need to Know About Baking With Gluten-Free Flour

Complex Spices & Global Flavor Infusions

We’re bringing heat into the kitchen in 2024 with an increased infusion of international flavors, including cayenne, chipotle, and turmeric. Plus, peppers will be in their prime as specialty varieties like scorpion and guajillo — appearing in all forms (think: fresh, whole, ground, and even pickled) — spice things up in sauce, condiments, beverages, and more. The theme is bold, complex, diverse, and dynamic!

Sweet Heat

For those seeking a milder experience, there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy a more balanced dose of heat that’s perfectly paired with a hint of sweet. From honey and mango jalapeno dishes to chili chocolate desserts, expect to see “swicy” — sweet and spicy —  flavors take over in 2024.

Functional Foods for Gut Health & Mental Health

As awareness of the gut-brain connection grows, the focus on foods that promote both digestive health and mental wellness is anticipated to remain a top trend for 2024. Expect to see products boosted with adaptogens, prebiotics and probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids — ingredients aimed at supporting cognitive function and emotional well-being. From mood-enhancing snacks to stress-busting beverages, the functional foods market is just getting started.

RELATED: Can an Antioxidant-Rich Diet Ease Anxiety?

Immune-Boosting Foods

As consumers seek out nutrition as a means to bolster the immune system and ward off illness, immune-boosting foods will continue to see a surge in popularity. Enriched with nutrients like vitamins C and D, zinc, and probiotics, immune-boosting foods (like gut-healthy sodas and yogurts) will be plentiful in the year ahead.

RELATED: The 20 Best Immune-Boosting Snacks You Can Buy at the Store

Guilt-Free Little Luxuries

Embracing the notion that treating yourself doesn’t have to come with a side of guilt, this 2024 food trend is all about satisfying your cravings without compromising on well-being. From splurging on trendy lattes to indulging in single-serve sweet treats, consumers are seeking “little luxuries” that offer a dose of indulgence and self-care in a mindful way.

And, this isn’t only about sweet treats! In fact, the 2024 Pinterest trends report revealed that “melty mashups” will become the inspiration for “ooey gooey, treat-yourself favorites,” referring to dishes that marry two comfort food dishes into one (think: Cheeseburger tacos and Burger quesadillas).

Dairy-Free Diversified

The demand for dairy alternatives continues to grow, with an even wider array of plant-based options on the horizon. Beyond almond, coconut, and oat, expect to see new alternatives like buckwheat milk and milk tea. Plus, going back to simplicity, many brands are expected to reformulate their products, with the goal of shortening ingredient lists and eliminating unnecessary additives.

Clean Coffee & Caffeine 

Say hello to the era of clean caffeine, a 2024 healthy eating trend focused on pick-me-ups that not only provide energy, but also added health benefits. From mushroom coffee beverages to botanical-boosted teas, to sparkling energy water, and more. 

RELATED: 11 Ways to Make Popular Coffee Shop Orders Healthier at Home

Innovative Instant Noodles

A new take on noodles, where convenience meets health. Embracing a shift towards better-for-you packaged meals, instant ramen options are about to get a whole lot healthier. Made without preservatives or added MSG, brands like Momofuku and Mike’s Mighty Good are meeting the demands of consumers with options like Spicy Soy Noodles and Ramen Chicken Soup.

Sweet Peach Flavor

Anticipated to trend as both a flavor and ingredient, peach is set to star as a focal fruit in the upcoming year. While already a fan-favorite in many kitchens, this versatile and juicy fruit is expected to appear in new ways. Think: condiments, baked goods, jams, sauces, dips, spreads, and more.

A Taste of The Tropics

According to the newly-released Pinterest trends report for 2024, tropical flavors like pineapple and coconut are soaring in searches. From pineapple mocktails and Hawaiian sheet pan chicken to coconut almond protein shakes and recipes infused with hibiscus, there are so many ways to indulge in tropical flavors while supporting your health goals.

Simple Soups

Already trending on TikTok, easy-prep soup recipes made from simple ingredients are poised to be a top 2024 healthy eating trend. From mason jar soups to lasagna soup to simple one-pot soups made in a slow-cooker, expect to see more comforting recipes on the internet and store-bought options appear on the shelves.

Plus, The Top 2024 Healthy Eating Trends to Keep in Mind

Regenerative Agriculture

When it comes to sustainability, the 2024 spotlight is on regenerative agriculture. Aiming to improve soil health and promote biodiversity, expect to see an increase in products labeled as “regeneratively sourced,” as brands make a conscious effort to go green and commit to sustainable farming practices and water conservation.

Female-Focused Foods

This year gave rise to trends like seed cycling, sleepy girl mocktails, and eating based on your menstrual phase — trends that acknowledge the unique needs and cycles of the female body. Building on the momentum of this year, expect to see more products and supplements specifically designed to address the nutritional needs of women, with snacks for menstrual health and products designed to support pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause. 

A Push For Local and Sustainable

Whether obtained from the farmer’s markets or local artisans — or even grown in your own home garden — we’re continuing to embrace foods that are seasonal and locally sourced. Not only are we supporting local vendors and farms, but we’re also reducing our carbon footprint, and gaining access to food during its peak season (meaning tastier and more nutritious options!).

Zero-Waste Cooking

Sustainability isn’t just about the sourcing of ingredients — it’s also about minimizing food waste, bringing about the era of zero-waste cooking. Consumers and brands alike will explore new ways to use every part of an ingredient, from root to stem. We’ll see this carried out through trendy social media recipes and hacks, new products, and even new menu items when dining out. 

RELATED: 22 Genius Ways to Make Healthy Recipes Using Leftover Food Scraps

Mocktails Maintain Momentum

Securing a place on the market (and proven to be more than just a passing trend), the demand for mocktails and alcohol-free beverages is clear. As consumers increasingly seek health-conscious alternatives, the mocktail market will continue to grow with new flavors, products, and recipes. Infused with functional ingredients, global flavors, and with sustainability in mind, be on the lookout for booze-free beverages that cater to all your needs.

Simple, Sustainable, and Science-Backed: The Foodie Future for 2024

From infusions of sweet, spicy, and tropical flavors, to functional foods designed with well-being in mind and plant-powered meals made from real plants, the anticipation of 2024 is a cause for celebration. Appearing to prioritize environmental health and balance nutrition with indulgence, these forecasted food trends signal a positive shift towards a healthier, personalized, and more sustainable approach to food — great news for both you and the planet!