In the last of our six-part series covering some of our top trends forecasts for 2022 and beyond, we’re highlighting two trends – kelp and baijiu – as curated by our experts from WGSN Food & Drink.
Kelp is able to sequester carbon dioxide from the environment, thus playing a part in the regenerative agriculture conversation. Innovators are taking advantage of this, exploring applications in food and drink products to answer the demand for sustainability. Baijiu, meanwhile, is the world’s most-consumed drink, but is lesser-known to some as compared to other spirits such as vodka, whisky and more. It is gaining traction, however, and is set to debut more widely, particularly in specialist bars in the West.
Read on to discover more about these food and drink trends – one a climate hero, the other a cornerstone of Chinese heritage – that consumers will crave in the year ahead.
2022’s star climate-hero food will be kelp, a fast-growing seaweed with versatile applications and an excellent nutritional profile. Kelp exports a large portion of its biomass out into the deep sea, allowing it to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the environment.
Major financial investment is going into research on kelp as one of the saviours of our climate emergency. Food and drink innovators are using this delicious ingredient in all kinds of products, including burgers, popcorn, snacks and baby food. It is a big part of the regenerative agriculture conversation – according to the WGSN Food & Drink social media influencer map, kelp is the top ingredient associated with regenerative agriculture, even ahead of meat.
Chinese baijiu is the world’s most-consumed spirit, outselling whisky, vodka, gin, rum and tequila combined, yet many consumers may never have heard of it. This high-proof white spirit is distilled from grains like rice, millet and sorghum, and is poised to become a universally available spirit to delight drinkers across the globe.
Driving this trend are influencers of Chinese heritage excited to boost baijiu to the same international status as other regional spirits like tequila, as well as imbibers curious to experience a storied sip. Look for emerging specialist bars such as Boston Baijiu Bar; baijiu cocktails like the White Rabbit at Viridian in Oakland, California; and craft baijiu spirits from distillers outside China, including Sydney’s Australian Baijiu, UK’s V.I.P Jiu 8 and the US’s Buffalo Trace.
For more key trends, get access to our Top Trends 2022 report and exclusive webinar here.