best {natural} food trends of 2012


The latest natural food trends have always intrigued me, but since working in the natural food business, they are also something that I needed to stay on top of.

It is one of the reasons why I prefer to go to the store alone – then I can spend all of the time I want wandering up and down every single aisle, every single time I visit the store. (And I could literally go to the store every day).

These are my favorite natural food trends of 2012 – they aren’t necessarily “new” items, but are really popular this year.

  • Gluten-Free: I’m glad that there are more delicious options for those who must follow a gluten-free diet, but there is also a lot of “junk gluten-free” products out there. (Which means Gluten Free isn’t necessarily healthier)!
  • Probiotics: Are everywhere! In food, drink, water and pouch form. I’m a huge fan of probiotics but I still prefer mine via supplements.
  • Convenience Foods: Foods that require little to no prep time are still a staple in 2012 and come in all forms of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • Kombucha: The kombucha section is growing at a steady rate and I’ve tried  a number of them, but my favorites are still GT Kombucha and Kombucha Wonder Drink.
  • Greek Yogurt: Like kombucha, I swear I see a new Greek Yogurt brand/variety every time I visit the store. There is even frozen greek yogurt, but I have yet to try it.
  • Coconut: Found in waters, teas, oils, baked goods and bars, ice creams, milks and sweeteners.

Which of these food trends do you enjoy? What would you add to the list? 


  1. says

    I eat so much greek yogurt! It has been a staple for me for years. I have not jumped on gluten free but I am sure people who have allergies or sensitivities love it.

    • Emily says

      Great question Faith! (I do want to say that I’m not a dietitian, I have the same education, but did not complete the internship). Although coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it is comprised mainly of medium-chain fatty acids which does not carry the same risks as other saturated fats. It is also very high in lauric acid which helps to raise good cholesterol. There are also a lot of studies showing that it can be very beneficial to health. That is my opinion, I think the idea that it is a “bad” fat is pretty old-school, but with all nutrition, there are many different opinions. :)

      • says

        Thanks for taking the time to explain this! (And duh, I meant to type nutritionist, but my pre-coffee brain didn’t get it right!)

        Great breakdown. I’ll have to do a little more research on the medium-chain fatty acids and their effect on the body. I know generalizing “fat” as “bad fat” is, like you said, outdated, but it’s tough to undo years of programming of “avoid saturated fats!”

  2. says

    I love me some kombucha, occasionally! Oh, my seester has celiac disease and i definitely get where gluten-free living can become unhealthy, especially in the freezer aisle, and in the processed food section, I just stick to my own recipes if I want a gluten-free dessert or something, without all the junk and preservatives, etc. Oh, greek yogurt is my life. That is all! :)

  3. says

    I love the Greek yogurt trend, and frozen Greek yogurt has become one of my new favorite things! I also like the coconut milk beverage, because I can use it in place of higher fat coconut milk in Thai cooking.

    It seems like another trend is the increasing presence of whole grains and seeds. Chia and flax seeds, quinoa, wheat flour, and couscous seem to have become so much more prominent in everyday cooking. I’ll jump on that bandwagon, too!

  4. says

    Greek yogurt is my favorite. I think the trend with coconut oil and gluten free diets are really interesting. My mom is a nursing professor with a cardiac care specialty and is very anti-coconut oil. But she sees in the clinicals she teaches & in her research (she has a PhD) the impact of a non-heart healthy diet, and there is just so much that is unknown about coconut oil. I did win some in a giveaway once but haven’t really used it. As for gluten free diets… I think they’re interesting in that there are some people with legit sensitivities/diseases/etc. but that it’s also become sort of a mainstream diet. I have friends who jump on those nutrition bandwagons in sort of a hypochondriac manner, so it really makes me wonder how much the media convinces people they’d be healthier if they ate this way… but then they aren’t because those convenience foods aren’t any healthier at all. That’s why I think moderation in diet and regularity in exercise is the best way to stay healthy, not food trends. :) Great topic!

    • Emily says

      Oh, and did you see that Miley Cyrus said she lost all of her weight because she has a gluten/lactose “allergy” (not really the correct term anyway) but yes, the media and celebrities play a big role!

  5. says

    I am a big fan of probiotics, too (and I prefer them in supplement form as well). The only issue, in my mind, is that there is a HUGE spectrum of quality in probiotics and it can be difficult to select a “good” brand (specifically, you want a brand that offers not just a large number of cultures but also a large variety). Plus, the really great ones can get super pricey! Sigh, what’s a girl to do?

    • Emily says

      Definitely! There are SO many out there! My favorite is the Whole 365 Brand from Whole Foods – it is very reasonably priced and works very well. (In my opinion, without doing any clinical trials…) :)

  6. mary beth says

    just tried baking with coconut oil this weekend and loved it! i was tempted to put kombucha in my cart last week but didn’t know which brand was best. that’s for the recos!

  7. says

    I’m a huge fan of probiotics and Greek yogurt! Another one I might add to the list is chia. I’ve only had it in drink form but really want to try the seeds in oatmeal, etc. I’ve heard they are better than flax, which is another obsession of mine!

  8. says

    I’m a huge fan of Greek yogurt. I recently hopped on the kombucha bandwagon. I kind of want to try making it myself since those bottles get expensive!

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