After feasting and indulging in festivities over the holiday season, it’s refreshing to view the new year as a clean slate – even if the slate is only clean for a couple of weeks, considering the average person breaks their New Year’s resolutions in just 32 days!
Many prioritize their lifestyle and wellness in the first few weeks of the new year, which often involves implementing healthier, more nutritious eating habits. As people journey into a brand new year with similar intentions, it’s interesting to find out exactly what kind of dietary adjustments they plan on making, considering the constant refresh of healthy food trends and the growing wellness market.
In fact, the U.S. is the most significant wellness market on a global scale at $1.2 trillion, almost double the size of the second-largest market (China: $683 billion). From functional fizzy drinks (like kombucha and kefir) and non-alcoholic buzz-free beverages; to sea-based plants (like seaweed, kelp, and dulse), food research continues to spotlight the latest discoveries when it comes to health-beneficial food trends.
We surveyed over 1,000 people across the country to determine America’s favorite new year food trend for 2023.
Overall, the #1 most popular health food trend for the new year was superfood smoothies. The term ‘superfood’ refers to foods offering maximum nutritional values and health benefits while containing minimal calories. The busy lifestyle often associated with the new year, as businesses and schools resume after the holiday season, may explain why superfood smoothies are a popular food people gravitate towards at the beginning of the new year. The grab-and-go nature of a smoothie is perfectly suited to this busy lifestyle.
In 2nd place were herbal, non-caffeinated drinks, such as hibiscus tea. According to the National Coffee Association, Americans consume 491 million cups of coffee per day. While people tend to enjoy the pleasant aroma, as well as the energy boost, more than a third (37%) are concerned about the health effects of too much caffeine. However, the ritualistic nature of sitting down for a cup of coffee can be replaced by caffeine-free alternatives, such as herbal teas and other non-caffeinated drinks, which can offer functional benefits, including focus and productivity, without the unwanted caffeine-induced side effects.
Alcohol-free drinks emerged in 3rd place. After a festive season filled with indulgence (and possibly, holiday hangovers), it’s no surprise that many people aim to reduce their alcohol intake in the new year. In fact, in 2022, it was found that more than a third (35%) of legal-aged adults in the U.S. took part in Dry January for the entire month – a 14% increase as compared to the previous high in 2019. Thanks to a growing selection of high-quality non-alcoholic drinks – like alcohol-free beer, spirits, wine, and mocktails – it’s more accessible to enjoy a booze-free beverage without making social sacrifices.
Plant-based milk, cheese, or butter came in 4th place when it comes to popular new year food trends. Sustainability is an overarching theme when it comes to food trends for 2023, which includes plant-based product swaps. A recent study found that small shifts in Americans’ food choices can have significant benefits to both peoples’ health, as well as the planet. The dairy industry contributes 2% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions, therefore, swapping to plant-based products helps contribute to decreased emissions. Additionally, many foods with high environmental costs also come with a high health burden. Therefore, even swapping out 10% of these per person can reduce an individual’s food-based environmental footprint by more than 30%. With a fresh outlook on the new year, it’s understandable why plant-based milk, cheese or butter are popular food trends for the beginning of 2023 for those trying to improve their health, as well as contribute more positively towards environmental preservation.
The 5th most popular food trend for the new year were meat alternatives, such as plant-based burgers. Reducing meat consumption is a personal and immediate choice many can make to help the climate crisis. Therefore, a trend toward more plant-based meat alternatives is a positive step, considering around 40% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to land-use changes, such as deforestation and agriculture, and red meat production is a large contributor to this issue. A recent study found that if each American reduced their meat consumption by a quarter, it would contribute positively towards reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 1%. Although this may not sound like much, this would have an amplified domino effect on the environment in multiple ways, including reduced water use and improved biodiversity.
The boam research team analyzed multiple sources to compile a list of trending healthy foods. We then surveyed more than 1,000 people across the country, asking them to pick all the healthy options they will be gravitating towards in the new year. These results were analyzed to determine which health foods will be trending most at the start of the new year. (Pollfish, December 2022)