7 Latest Food and Nutrition Trends

As we set sail into 2024, the landscape of our food choices continues to be influenced by the ripples of past events and current health insights. This year, the compass of nutrition points towards an array of exciting and innovative trends. Join us as we explore these emerging trends that are not just shaping our plates but also our health and well-being. Together, let’s uncover the predictions of 2024’s most influential food and nutrition movements, guided by expert insights and a quest for a healthier, more sustainable future. 

1. Plant-Based Diets for Personal and Planetary Health

In 2024, the trend towards plant-based diets continues to grow, not just for personal health benefits but also for environmental sustainability. As people become more aware of the impact of their food choices on the planet, they are increasingly adopting diets rich in plant-based proteins. This shift is driven by a recognition that plant-based diets can significantly reduce carbon footprints and promote biodiversity, helping to address climate change and environmental degradation.  According to the National Research Council Canada, 40 percent of Canadians is actively including more plant-based foods into their diet.   Interested to learn more about how your diet affects the planet? Check out this Planet-Based Diets Impact Calculator.

 

Canada’s role as a leading producer of these crops further fuels this trend locally – Did you know that Canada is the largest producer of dry peas and lentils in the world? The plant forward movement is more popularity, offering a balanced approach to incorporating plant-based foods while enjoying meat and dairy in moderation.  One way to get started with a vegetarian diet is adopt a flexitarian diet, also known as semi-vegetarian, where one consumes primarily plant-based foods and enjoys meat and dairy products in moderation.

 

While faux and meatless meats made from soy-based ingredients have been around for decades, we are seeing more plant-based protein options : some innovative products we have tasted at the food forward summit include plant-based fish, frozen meals, vegan cheese options, vegan desserts & baked goods, plant-based cultural foods, soy-free products and vegan honey. ‘Blended’ or ‘lessitarian’ products are also emerging with a blend of both meat and plant-based foods. 

 

Check out our blog post, “6 Easy Vegetarian Recipes for Busy People” for a curated list of simple vegetarian meals to get started! Needing professional guidance on switching to a plant-based diet? Our BC dietitians are experienced with different types of vegetarian diets including : Vegan, Pescatarian, Lacto-ovo Vegetarian, Lacto Vegetarian, Raw Vegan, and Flexitarian diets.

2. Online Grocery Shopping, AI Technology and Convenience

We are more reliant on technology for meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prep more than ever.  These tools and options are reshaping how Canadians interact with their food choices, enhancing user experiences through personalized recommendations, predictive shopping lists, and streamlined delivery processes.

Statistics Canada reported a 74% increase in online grocery shopping in 2020, a trend that has maintained momentum. AI-driven platforms have made this possible by simplifying the shopping process, offering tailored suggestions based on past purchases, dietary preferences, and even current pantry inventories.

AI technology, including tools like ChatGPT, offers a wealth of information and can be a helpful resource for general questions around nutrition and health. However, it’s crucial to use AI with caution, especially when it comes to personalized health and nutrition advice.  AI largely depend on existing online information to generate responses and suggestions. This poses a significant challenge in the context of nutrition and health advice, as the internet is a sea of misinformation and unverified claims.  As it can be challenging for AI to discern credible sources from inaccurate or misleading ones – the advice provided by AI may not always be accurate or in line with evidence-based practices.


Tailored nutrition advice from a registered dietitian can significantly improve outcomes in various health conditions.  Additionally, personalized nutrition counseling from dietitians has been linked with better dietary adherence and accountability, resulting in more significant improvements in health markers in chronic diseases like diabetes.  Connect with a BC dietitian nutritionist for your personalized nutrition plan today! 

3. Connected to a Wider World: Embracing Multicultural Cuisines

Generation Alpha (those born after 2012), enjoys a multicultural peer group, which significantly influences their culinary tastes. They are more adventurous in their food choices, readily embracing a wide variety of global flavors and dishes. This openness has led to a transformation in family meals, where globally-inspired recipes and products are making their way into a typical household, catering to a generation that is born with a multicultural palate in a connected world.

4. Eating for optimal immunity and overall health

Health and immunity will also be one of the driving forces of change in the food landscape, as noted in the survey results from Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian. Maintaining good health is undoubtedly a priority for many. 

When 70 percent of the immune system resides in the gut, keeping the digestive tract healthy is important. Foods that support a healthy gut and immune system will remain popular in 2024, and these foods include prebiotics and probiotics.

  • Prebiotics are dietary fibres from whole grains, onions, garlic, bananas, tomatoes and legumes; these are foods for probiotics.
  • Probiotics are live and active bacteria that bring health benefits, such as improved immunity and digestion. Under Canadian food regulations, a product is considered a probiotic food when the food has proven to contain adequate amounts of the live strains of the bacteria to suggest a health benefit.

Dairy products such as yogurt and aged cheese are examples of probiotic foods.  Not all foods must be dairy to contain probiotics. To find out if the product is a true probiotic product, always read the packaging and look for the term ‘probiotic’ and the amount and types of active live strains of bacteria present.

Our gut health dietitians can help you optimize your gut health and support your immune system.

5. Eating for Brain Health and Cognitive Performance

According to the 2024 Trend Report by Nourish Food Marketing, people are looking for more functional foods to support healthy aging and maintain healthy brain functions.  This shift towards brain-friendly habits is also influencing alcohol consumption patterns, with many people opting for less alcohol to promote overall well-being. There is a rise of options for non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits as well as emerging lower-alcohol alternatives (ie. 2.5% beer, 8% wine).

Additionally, there’s a move away from relying on coffee and energy drinks for energy boosts. Furthermore, the market is seeing an influx of food and beverage products enriched with B vitamins, omega-3s, and nootropics, which are natural or synthetic cognitive enhancers.

Another trending nutrient is choline, an essential nutrient vital for brain health and cognitive function. Despite its importance, a large percentage of the population does not consume enough choline. This has led to an increase in consumer interest and searches for choline-rich foods, such as eggs, liver, meat, fish, and dairy products.

6. Financial and Budget Eating Considerations

In 2024, the financial resolutions and goals of Canadians are significantly influencing their approach to food and nutrition. With 42% of Canadians changing their financial New Year’s Resolutions to focus on minimizing spending and creating budgets, there is a clear trend towards seeking value-for-money in food choices without compromising on health and quality.  This includes a growing interest in home cooking, bulk buying, and choosing seasonal produce, and meal planning.

 

BC dietitians can help clients create personalized nutrition plans that consider both your health needs and budget constraints. This includes strategies on cost-effective food choices, reducing food waste, meal planning, and smart grocery shopping.  Many extended health benefits also cover the cost of dietitian services, be sure to check and make the most out of your benefits! 

7. Let’s not forget about the anti-inflammatory foods

While fermented foods claimed the number one spot again in the 10th Annual What’s Trending in Nutrition Survey, anti-inflammatory foods such as blueberries, avocados, green tea made to the list for the following reasons:

  • Blueberries contain antioxidants, anthocyanins, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Avocados are packed with fiber, heart-healthy fats, magnesium, potassium. They are also rich in antioxidants, carotenoids and tocopherol, which may decrease cancer risk.
  • Green tea is well known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Drinking green tea regularly may be linked to the decreased risk of heart disease, cancerAlzheimer’s disease and more.

Connect with a BC dietitian nutritionist for your personalized nutrition plan today! 

References:

  1. A Decade of Dietitian Insights Forecasts a Future of Food Innovations.
    https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/a-decade-of-dietitian-insights-forecasts-a-future-of-food-innovations-301453086.html Accessed on January 12, 2022.

  2. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2515351/ Accessed on January 13, 2022.

  3.  Berries: anti-inflammatory effects in humans. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24512603/ Accessed on January 13, 2022.

  4.  Canada’s food guide Use of Labels. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/using-food-labels/  Accessed on January 12, 2022.

  5. Changing Resolutions: Almost Half (42%) Have Changed Financial New Year’s Resolutions in Response to Cost of Living Concerns. Changing Resolutions: Almost Half (42%) Have Changed Financial New Year’s Resolutions in Response to Cost of Living Concerns | Ipsos. Accessed on January 5, 2024.

  6. Effectiveness of probiotics on the duration of illness in healthy children and adults who develop common acute respiratory infectious conditions: a systematic review and meta-analysis.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4054664/ Accessed on January 13, 2022.

  7. Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32118296/ Accessed on January 13, 2022.

  8. Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796401/ Accessed on January 13, 2022.

  9. Nourish Food Marketing 2024 Trend Report. Nourish-Food-Marketing-Trend-Report-2024-EN.pdf Accessed on January. 05, 2024.

  10. Nutritional Guidelines and Fermented Food Frameworks. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5575640/. Accessed on January 12, 2022.

  11. Plant-Based Diet Impacts Calculator. How does what you eat in Canada affect the planet? (panda.org). Accessed January 5th, 2024. 

  12. Plant-based protein market: global and Canadian market analysis.  https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-development/research-collaboration/programs/plant-based-protein-market-global-canadian-market-analysis Accessed on January 04, 2024.

  13. Prebiotics and Postbiotics. https://badgut.org/information-centre/a-z-digestive-topics/prebiotics-probiotics/ Accessed on January 12, 2022.

  14.  Probiotics and Gastrointestinal Conditions: An Overview of Evidence from the Cochrane Collection. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5683921/  Accessed on January 13, 2022.

  15. Questions and Answers on Probiotics. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-labelling/health-claims/questions-answers-probiotics.html Accessed on January 12, 2022.

  16. The Forgotten Fruit: A Case for Consuming Avocado Within the Traditional Mediterranean Diet.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7272688/ Accessed on January 12, 2022.

  17. The International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) consensus statement on the definition and scope of postbiotics. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41575-021-00440-6. Accessed on January 12, 2022.
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