If we could sum up summer 2022’s hottest food trends in one overarching theme, it’d be: Bolder is better. After two years of cooking at home, we’re looking for ways to liven up breakfast, lunch and dinner, be it s’mores-ifing everything, trying a new take on plant-based meals or even spritzing your ice cream with a flavor-enhancing spray (yeah, that’s a thing). Consider it maximalism for your taste buds. Here’s what will be taking over grocery stores near you.
Hot honey fans, now is your time. “Swicy,” aka a combination of sweet and spicy flavors, is taking over the snack and condiment aisles. You can load up on sriracha honey cashews at CVS, let Amazon deliver a jar of Sweet & Spicy Peanuts to your door, slather your hot dogs in Hot Honey Dijon or toss your wings in Melinda’s Sweet & Spicy Sticky Asian Wing Sauce, just to name a handful of options. To that end, it may be time to level up your cookouts—in Whole Foods’ first-ever condiment trends report, the company noted rising interest in elevated takes on BBQ favorites, like curry ketchup, apple cider vinegar-infused mustard and Thai Krapow (a sweet-meets-spicy Thai chili and basil stir fry sauce).
2. THROWBACK SNACKS
The ‘90s are back—and not just when it comes to fashion and beauty trends. It’s hitting grocery stores too: “During uncertain times—pandemic, high inflation, economic/political turmoil, etc.—consumers seek comfort and nostalgia,” says Nelly Heaney, senior manager of Consumer Insights for Post Consumer Brands. It’s a big reason why the company’s bringing back a 1996 classic—Waffle Crisp cereal—this summer. It’s a “permissible indulgence, both in terms of health and wellness as well as spend.”
They aren’t the only ones—The Sweets & Snacks Expo also cited “newstalgia” as a big treat trend this year, as companies provide new riffs on childhood favorites, like Eggo Pop-Tarts, Little Debbie Cosmic Brownie Ice Cream and Peeps Gummies.
3. STATEMENT CAKES
In 2020, Bakers Against Racism launched to create pop-up bake sales that raised money for social justice causes. Since then, they’ve raised more than $2.5 million, and their work has inspired thousands to pick up piping bags and offset spatulas in the name of change.
Most recently, several bakers have been creating, sharing and selling cakes in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“My community usually gets to see my sweet side, as we celebrate happy moments of life, and it felt very important to be able to share the anger we’re all feeling to come together to make a difference,” Atlanta pastry chef Lindsay Morrison told Thrillist.
4. BLUSH BOOZE
The Dirty Shirley—a spiked twist on the grenadine-tinted drink—has been an early hit this summer, but it’s far from the only blush-hued bev taking over happy hour. Rosa tequila, which gets its color from being aged in red wine barrels, has been popping up in margaritas and palomas (and as a sippable drink on the rocks). And rosé remains as popular as ever, especially with buzzy launches like The Pale and Summer Water’s 2021 variety (both crisp, refreshing and well balanced).
6. COFFEE CEREAL
It started as an offhand Instagram comment—then became a reality. Chamberlain Coffee partnered with OffLimits to launch a limited-edition cereal that tastes like dark chocolate, then gradually infuses your milk with a subtle cold brew flavor. Each serving contains about 15 mg of caffeine, too, providing you with a little energy boost.
They’re not the only ones—Dunkin’ also makes latte-inspired cereals—leading us to believe this is only the beginning of a new riff on the breakfast of champions.
7. PLANT-BASED EVERYTHING
Impossible and Beyond meats can be found in just about every supermarket now, but they’re not the only plant-based players in the game. Current Foods was one of the most talked-about brands during this year’s Fancy Food Show in New York, thanks to its take on plant-based seafood, offering sushi-grade tuna and salmon…minus the fish. (They’re made from algae, radish, potato and bamboo, BTW.)
You can also expect to find more packaged foods featuring meat substitutes, like Buitoni’s Three Cheese and Impossible Sausage ravioli, making Meatless Monday easier than ever to pull off.