Top Food Trends in the US and Canada

Explore the different ways Innova’s Top Ten Trends of 2024 appear in the US and Canada

April  19, 2024 – The US and Canadian food and beverage industry is ever-changing and adapting to the current trends of today. Using Innova’s Top Ten Trends of 2024 as a lens for analyzing the region, here we will look at five trends that are influencing innovation in the region: “Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight,” “Prioritizing Prevention,” “Plant-Based: The Rise of Applied Offerings,” “Home Kitchen Heroes,” and “H2.O: Quenching the Future.”

Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight

The first top food trend discussed in relation to the US and Canada is “Ingredients: Taking the Spotlight.” This trend is based on brands tapping into positive consumer attitudes towards key ingredients by promoting a product’s star attribute.

US and Canadian consumers care about finding value in the ingredients of their products. 28% of consumers say that they always look at ingredients of interest on the product pack.

Protein is seen as the most important ingredient for consumers, chosen as such by almost one in two individuals. As for why they prefer protein, muscle growth is the top choice, but the following two most common purchase drivers are energy and stamina, and weight management.

Brands are using their ingredients as a gateway to help consumers navigate product choices, through storytelling and visual cues. For example, some products provide information about their ‘star’ ingredient, such as sourcing and health benefits, while others spotlight the historic significance of their ingredients, such as ‘ancient grains.’

Prioritizing Prevention

The next top food trend that can be seen within the food and beverage industry is “Prioritizing Prevention.” Prioritizing Prevention comes from consumers taking positive action to prevent health concerns before they arise, driving them to products that meet their personal wellbeing needs.

Consumers have been shown to care about prevention in their health. More than one in four claims to be proactive in preventing health issues. The most pressing physical health concerns are weight management, heart health, and bone and joint health.

However, when comparing different generations’ health concerns, there are some differences among the different age groups. Weight management is the most important concern across all generations, but heart health is less valued by Gen Z consumers compared to Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers. Gen Z and Millennials care more about skin health than Gen X and Boomers, while Boomers care more about healthy aging than any other demographic. Brain health is also more important to Gen X and Boomers than the younger generations.

Consumers also care about the holistic and intertwined nature of physical health. For example, one in three consumers say that weight management and observing a balanced diet are the most important steps taken for healthy aging. This may help drive purchases of more generalized health focused products. However, products in the region with more specific claims are also on the rise. Between 2021 and 2023, products with a brain health related claim have increased in launches by 5% in the US and Canada.

Top Food Trends in the US

Plant-Based: The Rise of Applied Offerings

The third top food trend influencing innovation in the US and Canadian markets is “Plant-Based: The Rise of Applied Offerings.” This trend is seen through the increase in plant-based products adapting well-known dish formats to offer familiarity and clarity to consumers.

Consumers already show interest in plant-based products outside of just the health or ethical benefits, with one in four willing to consume 100% plant-based alternatives due to the variety it brings to their diet. The most popular formats of interest for plant-based products are finger foods, toppings, fried foods, ready meals, and snacks.

Chickpea protein is growing rapidly as a popular alternative protein within the region. The ingredient can be seen in many products in the region, including pasta and plant-based ranch dressing made with chickpea protein.

Plant-based is also weaving its way into global cuisines, with consumers demanding plant-based versions of products. The most in-demand types of plant-based global cuisine products are Chinese, Mexican, and Italian.

Home Kitchen Heroes

“Home Kitchen Heroes” is the next top food trend that shows up in the market. It refers to the home becoming an alternative venue for consumers to cook and host social occasions, amidst changing lifestyles and budget realties.

Consumers in the US and Canada have changed their eating habits in the past year. 39% of consumers stated that they eat more at home than before, while only 11% say they eat out more often. Additionally, a large percentage of consumers see value for money, and health benefits as benefits that come with eating at home.

Consumers see cooking at home as a good opportunity to try new things in the kitchen. When asked where they are most likely to experiment with flavor, home cooking was by far the number one choice, chosen by three in five consumers.

Consumers in the region are also interested in enhancing their home cooking experience. This can be seen through purchases of chef-curated meal kits, to unique combination ingredients that can jazz up an otherwise simple dish. Almost one in five consumers will prioritize their spending on special food and drink to be consumed at home.

H2.O: Quenching the Future

Our last top food trend in discussion for the US and Canadian market is “H2.O: Quenching the Future.” This trend describes how the added health benefits and exciting endorsements in the hydration space lead the way in carving out a strong future for these products.

Between 2022 and 2023, there has been a 29% increase in soft drink and sports nutrition launches with a hydration related claim. Additionally, there has been a 41% increase in beverages with both a hydration claim, and an active health claim over the last year. These two types of claims are becoming increasingly combined in new products, with the top active health claims being brain health, probiotic, energy or alertness, and gut health.

In the US, there have been key innovations in the hydration market to take note of. Brands such as Sly are creating functional beverages for gamers, highlighting hydration and sleep as benefits. In the hard seltzer space, popular brands such as White Claw are entering the non-alcoholic market with a premium seltzer that advertises electrolytes inclusion.

What’s Next in Food Trends in the US and Canada?

With an increased focus on the star ingredients of food and beverage products, brands should be on the lookout for rising popular ingredients. There is potential for developing consumer interests, or breakthrough technological advancements to shift the most desired aspects of products towards something new.

Plant-based products are continually evolving, with improvements in taste and texture seen across the category. However, with variety as one of the main reasons for choosing plant-based products in United States and Canadian consumers, there is room for further expansion of plant-based into more unique regional cuisines.


This article is based on our report, “Top Trends 2024: US & Canada.”
If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo. You can do this by either booking a demo or using our Contact Form.

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