A number of food industry forecasts for 2022 posit that nostalgia will be a major flavor trend this year, with consumers seeking out old familiar favorites and simple classics. While the acid-washed jeans and bright neon colors of the 1990s have returned to fashion, industry observers say food and beverages from the decade are poised for a resurgence.
“As consumers cook more at home, recipes from their childhood are delivering comfort and joy to people,” supermarket chain Kroger said in its food trends report for 2022. “Think of the nostalgic 90s comeback but apply it to meals.”
Some of the throwback products Kroger highlighted include mini pizza bagels, pimento cheese spread, corn dogs, and edible cookie dough.
“In 2022, the 1990s will make a return trip… and they will [be] bringing some familiar favorites with them,” a forecast by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) states. “In the coming year, all things simple and familiar will guide our food choices, whether its recipes we follow or snacks we reach for.”
For example, General Mills reintroduced the popular 90s snack Dunkaroos to the market in 2020 after a long absence. Food website Eater reported last October that 90s staples like pesto and sundried tomatoes are returning to dishes, along with a popular cocktail of the period, espresso martinis. Sales of Lunchables have reached “double digit growth for the first time in five years” in 2021, Kraft Heinz said in an interview with Today.
Interest in vintage cuisine and drinks is apparently widespread. Almost 70% of consumners reported they are extremely or very likely to buy a favorite nostalgic food or beverage in a recent Datassential Menu Trends survey, French flavors manufacturer Monin pointed out in its annual trends report.
Those seeking the flavors of yesteryear will not limit themselves to classic American flavors over the coming year, The New York Times opines: “Nostalgic childhood favorites from China (White Rabbit candy and haw flakes) and South Korea (the honeycomb-like treat ppopgi, aka. dalgona candy, and Apollo straws) will work their way into American shopping carts and recipes for desserts and drinks.”
Whether consumers are trying to take a walk down memory lane or simply looking for comforting flavors, an array of vintage snacks, foods, drinks, cocktails, and more are likely to hit the market this year paired with marketing efforts that stir up nostalgic sentiments.