Cute little arab girl and her father using digital tablet in kitchen

2024 seems to be a year of contradictions, according to the 15th Annual Food Trends report from McKinney. Consumers are grappling with economic uncertainty and challenging food prices, yet they crave indulgence and unique experiences. Meanwhile, companies are combining cutting-edge technology with age-old traditions. This has led to an interesting phenomenon in food trends, which McKinney calls “Vibe Whiplash.”

Given consumer concerns about food prices and the rising cost of living, brands are working to try to keep costs under control throughout the supply chain. But even though money is tight for many, 40% of Americans are planning to splurge over the next three months. 

And technology is woven into many of this year’s trends — from kitchen tech turning home chefs into professionals, to personalized search and review apps. But sustainability is at the heart of many of today’s innovations:

  • AI tools are transforming agriculture, helping farmers increase yields, conserve resources, and slow down land degradation.
  • The rise of vertical farming promises to increase food production while drastically reducing water and land usage. 
  • Several companies are rethinking fermentation, a technique dating back millennia, to create new, sustainable products like animal-free dairy, carbon-negative food sources, and algae-based cooking oil. 
  • Insect cuisine is gaining traction as a sustainable food ingredient, with major brands exploring this space.

As consumers navigate a complex and uncertain world, they seek comfort in both cutting-edge solutions and time-tested practices. For food industry professionals, this means embracing technology while staying true to the core values of food: nourishment, community, and enjoyment.

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