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Plant-Based Catch of the Day Anyone?

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Whole Foods Market, which is known to make food trend predictions on occasion, has revealed its first plant-based food trend predictions.

U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods increased by double digits in 2020, growing 27% and bringing the total plant-based market value to $7 billion, according to the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA). The plant-based food market grew almost twice as fast as the total U.S. retail food market, which increased 15% in 2020 as COVID-19 shuttered restaurants and consumers stocked up on food amid lockdowns. Fifty-seven percent of households now purchase plant-based foods, up from 53% in 2019.

So it’s no surprise that Whole Foods Market, which is known to make food trend predictions on occasion, has revealed its first plant-based food trend predictions.

“Plant-based is the grocery category to watch right now as brands continue to innovate by using new ingredients and processes that make plant-based products exciting for shoppers,” said Parker Brody, senior global category merchant for plant-based at Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market. “And in the laid-back days of summer, we find that customers are breaking out of their routines and are more open to trying something new, whether they’re longtime vegans or just starting to experiment with plant-based eating. So, expect to see gourmet plant-based cheese alternative spreads at picnics and fish alternatives made from banana blossoms on the grill this season.”

So, without further ado, here are Whole Foods Markets’ top five plant-based trends for the summer:

Alternative Cheeses Go Gourmet

Give summer charcuterie boards an upgraded, plant-based twist with a distinctive assortment of cheese alternatives that are all dairy-free. While using nut-based milks and ingredients like black garlic truffle, dill Havarti and chive is unique, plant-based cheesemakers are also replicating the methods used to make dairy cheeses for more authentic textures and flavors.

BBQ for All (Yes, Even Vegans)

Remember when corn ribs broke the internet? Buckle up for more plants hitting the grill this summer that go far beyond the veggie burger: Think plant-based products like hot dogs, Italian-style sausages and even jackfruit BBQ. From algae-based casing to hickory smoke concentrate, these vegetarian options have unique ingredients making it easy (and flavorful) to incorporate more plants into cookouts.

Pint-Sized and Plant-Based

Gone are the days of pleading with the kids to eat their fruits and veggies. For the littlest of eaters, brands are providing plant-forward options that come in kid-approved forms like nuggets, yogurt tubes and ice pops (did we mention they’re superhero themed?).

Plant-Based Catch of the Day

Get ready for a new wave of seafood substitutes that will be sure to surprise and impress. Ingredients like legumes and banana blossoms are being used to mimic the flaky texture of the real thing. This means alternative fish sticks, no-tuna sandwiches and a whole new depth of flavor in an otherwise simple fish dinner.

Dairy-Free Dips in Disguise

Searching for a creamy dip to pair with a summer crudité spread? Look no further than these buttery-smooth and spreadable dips and cream cheese alternatives. Highlighting traditionally milky flavors like French onion, ranch and queso, they’re a fun and effortless way to enhance any starter course. They’re not just for dipping — smear on bagels, spread on sandwiches or dollop on crusty bread for a midday snack.

Whole Foods Market has more than 500 stores in the U.S., Canada and the UK.

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