It’s hard to miss the fact that everything that peaked in the early 2000s is hitting us baby, one more time. As the demand for products that feel nostalgic to Millennials gets bigger than the moat of maple syrup you used to drown your Eggo waffles in, plant-based versions of packaged foods that many people ate growing up are flooding the market; think grown-up, glowed-up, and vegan versions of boxed mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, colorful cereal, ramen, and more.
“Brands are tapping into the meaningful history and nostalgia that foods many Millennials ate as kids can invoke, while also providing some new benefit or value in the present,” says Max Elder, CEO and founder of Nowadays, a plant-based nugget company that launched in 2021. “There is a noticeable demand for products that put a modern twist on classic favorites.” In 2023, you’ll see foods you once relished with (aptly) childlike affection for their taste, convenience, and ease being made with entirely plant-based ingredients, shorter ingredient lists, and a solid side of comfort—cartoon mascot not included.71%
“Nostalgia has been booming both in the culinary world and on grocery shelves globally…In fact, 71 percent of U.S. consumers enjoy things that remind them of their childhood, from throwback flavors reminiscent of happy times to vintage product reintroductions and more,” says a 2021 FONA International research report. This October, Whole Foods Market included “Retro Remix” in its list of 2023 Food Trends. According to Rachel Bukowski, senior team leader of product development and trends council member at Whole Foods Market, “Our trends council is seeing many of these nostalgic products being reinvented for the wellness-conscious customer, creating the ultimate mash-up of throwback [packaged foods] with [fewer] ingredients and special diets in mind, including plant-based.”