Sustainable and healthy – these are the food trends in 2024

New food trends influence the dishes that appear on restaurant menus. Sustainability and health will remain key issues in the hospitality industry in 2024. But which ingredients will be in the limelight this year? A look ahead.

Food trends 2024: healthy and sustainable

What´s it all about?

  • Buckwheat: gluten-free, healthy and versatile
  • The healthy flesh of the cocoa bean
  • Fig leaves as the main ingredient
  • Food trends from TikTok
  • Vegan fish
  • Aromatic variety with botanicals
  • Exotic pods: tamarind

The trend towards healthy eating continues in 2024. Just like last year, plant-based and sustainable foods are taking centre stage. So ingredients like cacao pulp, medicinal mushrooms and fig leaves could be appearing on our plates with increasing frequency. But long-familiar foods like buckwheat and tamarind are also making a comeback in the kitchens of the hospitality industry because of their versatility.

Gluten-free and healthy: adaptable buckwheat

Buckwheat used to be considered ‘paupers’ food’ but today it’s back in fashion, alongside amaranth and quinoa. Although botanically speaking, buckwheat – like rhubarb and sorrel – belongs to the knotweed family, it can be prepared in a similar way to grains so can be integrated easily into everyday cooking and eating habits. Its uses in the kitchen are many and varied. While whole buckwheat is cooked in a similar way to rice and can be used in risotto, as a bowl ingredient or in patties, it can also be shredded and steeped in milk or water overnight to make ‘overnight oats’, a cold variety of porridge. Moreover, noodles, bread and other baked goods can be made using buckwheat flour. The pseudo-grain also has plenty to offer in terms of health. Buckwheat is high in essential proteins and fat components, is gluten-free and is a great source of phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and B vitamins.

More than just cocoa – the healthy flesh of the cocoa bean

Cocoa flesh, also called cacao pulp, is the fleshy part of the cocoa fruit that surrounds the seeds or cocoa beans. Its sweet, slightly tart flavour is reminiscent of tropical fruits. Although the cocoa bean is the primary ingredient for chocolate manufacturing, cacao pulp is no longer considered a waste product. It’s increasingly used as a valuable raw material for various products like jams or juices or as an ingredient for baked goods. In this way, the processing of cacao pulp doesn’t just open up new culinary perspectives; it also contributes to reducing food waste

In the mission to reduce food waste, the trend towards ‘reusable food’ has grown in significance in recent years. Food leftovers that are normally thrown away are reused in creative ways, for example by processing or cooking them into new dishes or using them to make sustainable packaging.

From tree to table – fig leaves as a versatile ingredient

While the fruit of the fig tree has long been considered a delicacy, the leaves are now making their way into the kitchen. Unpleasant when raw, they reveal a sweet, creamy yet herbal taste when prepared correctly. Worked into oils and dairy products or distilled into syrup, they enrich a variety of dishes and drinks. From ice cream to exotic curries, fig leaves as a main ingredient lend dishes a surprising new flavour dimension.

Food trends from TikTok – mushroom coffee with medicinal mushrooms

Thanks to all the hype on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, enjoying a mushroom coffee has become a food trend. Mushroom coffee is ground (instant) coffee combined with medicinal mushrooms. The special coffee blend, made up of various medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, chaga or lion’s mane, is popular for more than just its unique flavour. The medicinal mushrooms have long been used in Chinese medicine and are said to lessen the side effects of caffeine and have a revitalising and strengthening effect. Several studies show that medicinal mushroom coffee boosts brain performance and energy levels and strengthens the body’s defences.

Vegan fish – a food trend with a clear conscience

Plant-based eating remains one of the most important food trends in 2024. Alongside vegan meat, the range of vegan fish products is also continuing to grow. With plant-based alternatives like carrots instead of salmon, or black trumpet mushrooms instead of scallops, vegan products are in no way inferior to fish in terms of flavour or consistency. These innovations don’t just offer more choice in plant-based diets – they also help to protect the oceans from overfishing.

Vegan salmon or tuna: METRO offers a wide selection of plant-based fish products. Through partnerships such as that with start-up Ordinary Seafood, METRO is continually expanding its product range and, since the start of the year, has also been offering plant-based seafood in selected stores in Germany. 👉

Aromatic variety with botanicals

Botanicals or plant extracts include a wide range of herbs, spices and flowers. Because of their complex aromas, they can be added to drinks to give an interesting flavour twist. While some botanicals like elderflower, echinacea and lavender have traditionally been enjoyed as teas, they are now also used in ready-to-drink shots, juices, probiotics and carbonated drinks. Botanicals are also a more frequent addition to alcoholic drinks. Gin, for example, is traditionally made primarily using juniper berries, but botanicals like coriander and Angelica root can also be found in the list of ingredients. The combination and quantities of plant extracts influences the flavour and aroma of the gin, enabling the development of creative and unique recipes.

Tamarind – an exotic food trend

Originally widespread in Latin American, Caribbean and Mexican cuisine, tamarind has garnered international popularity. Due to their high pectin content, the dried pods have a gelatinising effect  so are ideal for making jellies. In Asian cuisine, tamarind seeds are boiled or roasted to obtain an extract that gives many dishes their characteristic dark colouring and a piquant, tartly sour flavour. Besides its sweet and sour flavour, tamarind also offers health benefits as it contains iron, magnesium, vitamin C and phosphorus.


What is a food trend?

Food trends are popular developments in the way foods are consumed, prepared or presented. These trends can also relate to different aspects of the food, such as certain ingredients, cooking methods, diets, eating habits or gastronomic concepts.

How do food trends arise?

These days, most food trends gain popularity on the internet. Social media influencers play a particular role here, as they promote foods to a huge following on channels such as TikTok and Instagram. If these go viral, they gradually enter society’s dining culture. Besides social media, food trends also arise in response to social developments such as the increased demand for plant-based diets.

What is a current food trend on TikTok?

Currently popular is something called cloud bread . It’s a light, airy bread that’s made without flour. More and more users are sharing the recipe on TikTok and baking it themselves.

What is a food trend report?

A food trend report is a summary of information about current and emerging trends in the food and hospitality industries. These are relevant to various stakeholders in the food sector and provide insights that help decision-makers make sound, strategic decisions, manage product development and develop marketing strategies. Among the best known is the ‘Food Report’, published annually by the renowned Austrian trend researcher and food scientist Hanni Rützler.

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