6 Culinary Trends Spicing Up Grocery

Driven by the need for nourishment and novelty, Americans are passionate about great food.

Millennials in particular are fuelling an extreme grocery makeover, as half of these young adults–who represent an eighth of the entire U.S. population–say they are enthusiastic foodies. Each month Millennials spend an average of $797 on groceries, more than any other generational group. This finding is likely because many older Millennials now have children; younger ones have fewer financial obligations, meaning more disposable income.1

In addition to being influential, these young consumers are also adventurous with their cuisine. More than 40% of Millennials are likely to try a trendy food, including healthy dishes like spiralized vegetables.2

Here are some of this year’s hottest foodie-inspired culinary trends that are impacting consumer packaged goods (CPG) suppliers and grocery retailers.

Aesthetic appeal: Foodies love to share images of their meals, like this colorful bowl of poké, on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


1. Instagram-Worthy Feasts for the Eyes

To share their sumptuous masterpieces with friends, 40% of Millennials have posted photos of their food on social media.3 In an effort to spark user-generated content on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, more suppliers are developing unique, innovative products with aesthetic appeal, such as rainbow bagels, black burger buns and blue algae coffee.45 As proof of consumers’ desire for visual decadence, Brooklyn-based ice cream brand Van Leeuwen’s sales grew by an impressive 50% after the company redesigned its packaging specifically to appeal to Millennials and Gen Zs on Instagram and Pinterest.6

2. Artisan Dairy and Drinks
As we recently explored, shoppers crave handcrafted artisan foods and beverages. The National Restaurant Association’s 2017 Culinary Forecast confirms this trend, citing growing consumer demand for artisan ice cream and cheeses, as well as artisan soft drinks, craft spirits and culinary cocktails.7 Earlier this year, Kroger purchased New York-based Murray’s Cheese, a chain of artisan cheese shops, as the grocery retailer expects the specialty cheese market to surge in popularity.8

3. Butcher Shops Boomerang Back
Due to growing demand for higher quality meat and more charcuterie, butchering is generating more buzz, as consumers want to source their meat from local farms that treat livestock with greater care. Consumer demand for superior quality and transparency has prompted shoppers to pay higher prices, and helped local, artisanal butchery re-emerge in the U.S. market.9 In addition, demand for exotic meat, such as wild boar and elk, appears to be rising and industry experts say this trend will continue as foodie culture grows.10

Eclectic tastes: Americans are shopping the world, embracing international products that reflect diverse ethnic foods.

4. Grocery Goes Global
International product diversity is spicing up grocery aisles, as more Americans are travelling abroad, and sampling new and exotic foods, including oysters from Ireland and Middle Eastern fusion cuisine led by Persian influences.11 As a result, food suppliers are now focused on injecting more innovation, adventure and ethnicity into new products to delight consumers’ appetites for foreign foods.12 In addition, the growing Hispanic and Asian populations in the U.S. drive demand for ethnic products, which prompted H-Mart to specialize in Asian grocery items and Winn-Dixie to open Fresco Y Más branded stores in South Florida to entice Hispanic shoppers. 13

5. Top Culinary Talent
To impress discerning shoppers and to celebrate flavorful food, some retailers are collaborating with recognized talent, including celebrity chefs and culinary professionals, to add pizzazz to their stores’ prepared meal offerings. For instance, Whole Foods recently collaborated with Top Chef finalist Melissa King for ready-to-eat meals at the hot and salad bars, plus ingredient recommendations for exquisite entrées.14 Beyond the benefits of enhanced quality products, partnering with culinary talent can provide retailers with a ‘wow’ factor that drives word of mouth, social media shares and sales.15

6. Retailers Make Home Cooking Trendy Again
To save money and calories, consumers are choosing to cook at home more often.16 For instance, the 50 million strong Gen Z cohort is more likely to eat fresh, healthier home-cooked meals. As a result, sales of fresh oven-ready meal kits and vegetable medleys are growing, as consumers seek the convenience of fast, easy and affordable help with preparing their dishes.17 Supermarkets allotting more space to meal kits include Kroger, Giant Eagle, Coborn’s and Whole Foods.18

From simple snacks to gourmet indulgences, Americans are savouring this year’s most delectable food trends. Consumers seek product excellence, including higher quality meat, artisan dairy and culinary talent. Massive trends in grocery and CPG include consumer-centric convenience, ethnic flare and tantalizing visuals of foods that look as delicious as they taste.

What additional food trends would you add?

(Originally published on RangeMe.com.)


Lisa Goller
Lisa Goller is a marketing and communications professional with over 15 years of experience serving B2B, tech and retail companies. She helps businesses tell their story through irresistible content marketing and strategic communications.



1. Skrovan, Sandy. Millennials spend more on groceries than older generations. Food Dive. July 24, 2017.
2, 5. Premack, Rachel. Men drinking craft beer, women eating quinoa, and other millennial foodie trends, ranked. The Washington Post. July 18, 2016.
3, 4. Hardwick, Natalie. 10 food trends for 2017. bbcgoodfood.com. 2017.
6. Quito, Ann. A Brooklyn ice cream brand increased sales by 50% after it redesigned its packaging. Quartz. March 30, 2017.
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8. Shoup, Mary Ellen. Kroger acquires Murray’s Cheese. Dairy Reporter. February 7, 2017.
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10. Sagan, Aleksandra. Exotic meat demand rising as chefs cater to the latest foodie craze. CBC News. September 13, 2017.
11. Leigh Smith, Dana. 17 Food Trends You’ll See in 2017. Eat This, Not That.
12. Chen, Evelyn. The hottest food trends for 2017 from the hottest chefs. CNN.com. January 25, 2017.
13. Loria, Keith. How catering to ethnic populations can spice up shopping and profits. Food Dive. February 2, 2017.
14. Tuder, Stefanie. NorCal Whole Foods Now Carry Top Chef Alum Melissa King Recipes. Eater San Francisco. May 5, 2016.
15. Supermarket Prepared Foods: 7 Surprising Trends for 2017. Boggiatto Produce Inc. 2017.
16. Quint, Maura. 2017’s Huge Food Trends. The New Yorker. February 1, 2017
17. Petersen, Hayley. Whole Foods predicts the 8 biggest food trends of 2017. Business Insider. December 6, 2017.
18. Pearson, Bryan. Kroger’s Meal Kits Could Make A Meal Of The Industry. Forbes. May 17, 2017.


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