Why Gut-Friendly Food Trends Are Here To Stay 

Why Gut-Friendly Food Trends Are Here To Stay 

Why Gut-Friendly Food Trends Are Here To Stay 


Gut Health Diagram With Happy Faces In the Gut


You’ve got a few trillion friends inside of you who would love to talk about your eating habits. That’s right, you’re not alone, even when you think you are. Your gut microbiome is a community of soldiers (microorganisms) doing their best daily to defend your body from enemies and keep all your systems running smoothly. Fueling them with the right foods is imperative to keeping them and you happy.

Gut health is no longer just for fitness enthusiasts. It isn’t just your naturopath or health nut sister espousing the importance of digestion anymore either. It turns out they were right along and then some, and we’ll explain why focusing on a healthy digestive system is about more than not eating the whole tub of movie theater popcorn. 

It’s not only the scientists and nutritionists who are out here telling us that it’s not too late to take on your gut health. Consumer reports have shown that Americans are making gut-friendly foods a priority. 

The consumption of fermented foods (heaving with gut-friendly probiotics) has increased by 149% in dine-in establishments since 2020 – likely buoyed by their reputation as immunity fortifiers. 

As fast-moving consumer goods, gut-friendly foods have grown into a $9.2 billion industry that shows no sign of slowing. 

In this article, we’ll break down the following:


  • Some fun facts about your gut buddies. 

  • Why gut health is super important. 

  • What foods make your gut buddies happy? 

  • Gut-friendly food trends on the horizon. 



Photo Credit: Vector Stock


Fun Facts About Your Gut Buddies (Microbiome) 

There’s a lot going on in your mid-region that you need to know about. The faster you become gut buddies, the happier both you and your microbiome will be. 

It’s a fascinating mechanism in your body; here are some fun facts to help get acquainted with your guts! 



1. You are more bacteria than you are human. 

Did we get your attention? There are as many bacterial cells in your gut biome as human cells in your buddy, if not more. Science is undecided on the exact number, but the point is the beneficial bacteria in your body, and your human cells need to harmonize for the best results, and feeding them the right food is a good place to start. 



2. Gut instincts are real. 

When people talk about getting “the butterflies” or feeling sick in stressful moments, this is a fight or flight sensation caused by your vagus nerve that runs from your brain to your stomach. It’s your body’s way of warning you. 


3. The bacteria in your gut microbiome weigh up to 2 kilograms. 

That’s the whole fact. But pretty, amazing, right? And a great piece of information for party conversation! Scientific studies tell us that in addition to weighing 2 kilograms, roughly 100 trillion microbes represent as many as 5,000 different species in your gut. 



4. Americans Have It Worse

The gut microbiome of Americans and most other Westernized, industrialized populations is less diverse and dominated by different bacterial species than that of people from rural, less developed populations. This is likely due to a shift away from the natural environment, soils, and whole foods preventing us from naturally diversifying our gut bacteria. 




Why Gut Health Is Super Important


Some of us may not be able to honestly remember what it feels like to have a healthy, perfectly functioning gut. However, frequent episodes of fatigue, mild depression, inflammation, and rashes are all signs that your gut might be under-functioning. 

As infants, our guts are nearly sterile at birth until they develop into a community of trillions of microbial cells by the time we reach adulthood. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, millions of Americans fall victim to the Western diet. As we develop convenience-oriented eating habits that tend towards processed and indigestible foods laden with preservatives and over-processed ingredients, we start to weaken our microbiome. 


Your Second Brain 

To help you think of your gut as a top priority, you can visualize your gut being your second brain. Scientists call this “second brain,” if you will, the enteric nervous system (ENS).  It is a network of nerves, neurons and neurotransmitters that extends along the entire digestive tract – from the esophagus, through the stomach and intestines, and down to your bum.  It contains the exact same neurotransmitters and neurons that are found in the central nervous system (CNS), making them closely related. 



This “second brain”, your gut,  contains 100 million neurons responsible for 95% of your serotonin production. That’s big! Your gut is in charge of many things you likely know about – digestion, detoxing your system of impurities, and – your mood! Serotonin is the neurochemical that regulates your mood and sleep. Researchers now know there is a direct correlation to gut health and happiness. 



Your immune system resides primarily within your gut. The diversity of your gut flora is the best defense against unwelcome microbes and viruses. Having a diverse diet of living foods is the best way to increase your gut microbiome’s diversity. 

In addition, elimination is an important component of gut health. Your body needs to release not just the end product of digestion but all the toxins sent to your gut from other systems as well. The efficiency of elimination is a big part of your immune response. 



What Foods Make Your Gut Buddies Happy

The good news is that we’ve come a long way from your grandma’s jars of fermented vegetables, although those are pretty tasty too. Commercially, living foods are becoming more accessible and palatable. 


What is a  “ living food”? 


From the beginning, every global culture has adopted its own version of a native fermented food. These culinary traditions involved whole foods that were changed by a living bacterial culture and enzymatic action to create a preserved version that was generally known to be helpful with immunity and overall health. The Koreans have kim chi, the Chinese have kombucha, and the German’s sauerkraut. 


In modern times, we have all of those and more. Here are just a few foods that are booming commercially, taste great, and will leave you better than they found you. 


One Love Kombucha, South Carolina



Kombucha has been known as the “Elixir Of Life” since its inception in 221 BC. The Chinese swore that this fabled “mushroom” culture, called a SCOBY, that turned tea into a sweet and sour beverage, was the key to a long healthy life. And they weren’t wrong! Kombucha has grown into a 2.6 billion dollar industry since it took off as a modern drink in the 1990s. 


Carolina Farmhouse Dairy, North Carolina




A cousin to kefir, the base is generally milk instead of tea. The same concept is used to ferment the milk using a culture of beneficial bacteria and yeast that yield an extremely healthy drink. It is essentially drinkable yogurt! Kids often prefer it flavored with fruit. 



Blue Ridge Brinery, South Carolina


KimChi and Sauerkraut

Some may argue that sauerkraut and kimchi shouldn’t share a byline, but they are both forms of fermented cabbage. While kimchi is generally on the spicier side and sauerkraut is generally milder.  We say both can be put on absolutely anything to level up your eating experience with a bounty of happy microbes. 




Probiotics refer to the beneficial microbes that exist naturally in our gut and by introduction via living foods and sometimes manufactured supplements. Well, probiotics get hungry too. Prebiotics create a food source for them in the form of a nondigestible food ingredient that promotes the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines. 

Great probiotics are any plant fibers from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Think: 


  • Apples
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Barley
  • Berries
  • Chicory
  • Cocoa
  • Dandelion greens
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Green vegetables
  • Konjac root
  • Leeks
  • Legumes (peas and beans)
  • Oats
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Soybeans
  • Wheat
  • Yacon root



Gut-Friendly Food Trends On The Horizon

The food trends of 2023 have spoken, and health-based foods are here to stay. The Institute for Food Technology (IFT) predicts we’ll see more wild-crafted beers, kombucha, miso, kimchi, and pickled foods going into 2023. The sour and umami flavors bolstered with heavy-hitting health benefits are a recipe for culinary success as home-based businesses to high-end restaurants make wellness initiatives a key strategy.



SAPi Predicts The Food Trends Of 2023

SAPi Predicts The Food Trends Of 2023

SAPi Predicts The Food Trends Of 2023



Are you looking to capitalize on future food trends as a food business? Maybe you’re the foodie always searching for the next Instagram-able oddity?

The insatiable desire for humans to mix up their food habits makes 2023 a thrilling year for foodies which will see sustainability take a front seat, fruits you may have never heard of, and dining habits that will make #solodate the hashtag of the year.

Over the past several years, we’ve been on a rollercoaster of food habits. So if 2020 and 2021 were the years of home cooking and comfort foods and 2022 was a triumphant return to dining in, delivery platforms, and events, what might food trends for 2023 bring us? 

Will we stay on our health kick? Will the nostalgic plates of yesteryear dominate menus? Or will fusion flavors and exotic ingredients shape our palates? Let’s dig into the list below and find out. 


SAPi Food Trends 2023


SAPi’s Top Ten Food Trends For 2023

We consulted professional foodies, tastemakers, grocers, and market analysts to predict tomorrow’s flavors and trends. 


New Wave Plant Based Seafood


1. Seafood Alternatives

Across all trends we looked at, sustainable food options were at the top of the list for 2023. Our planet’s population is growing, and with it, our need to feed almost 8 billion mouths. However, the goal to create a good life for all within planetary boundaries requires us to promote foods that will create the lightest carbon footprint. With our national intake of 6.3 billion pounds of seafood annually, comes with it the carbon footprint of fishing vessels and farms. 

Seafood alternatives like Ocean Hugger Foods imitation sushi Sophie’s Kitchen crabcakes, and New Waves will have you forgetting that they didn’t come from the ocean and reduce your “foodprint” on the earth. 



2. Mood Foods

We’ve been moving toward mood-based food experiences for some time, but 2023 will see this becoming a more mainstream event. The Food Institute forecasts a surge in meals complimented with CBD, THC, and even psychotropics in 2023. With the legalization of cannabis and the penetration of CBD in multiple food categories in the United States has come an acceptance of plant-based mood changers within the food and wellness culture.

Per The Food Institute: 

“The easing of attitudes towards CBD has boosted interest in THC, its psychoactive cousin. Thanks to relaxed restrictions and regulatory loopholes, THC has made its way into a number of different menu items and consumer packaged goods.”

Examples we’ll be seeing in restaurants are beverages and cocktails featuring cannabis and derivatives that target relaxation, improved sleep, stress reduction, and more.


3. Mexican Spirits

Mexican spirits have been an uncontested food trend streak since the Aztec Indians first fermented agave to make a ceremonial wine that we now call Tequila. You can be sure to see more derivatives of the Mexican hard alcohol artistry in 2023. 

Mezcal is the more smokey and savory cousin to tequila. It saw a surge in 2022 that doesn’t look like it will slow down as we round the corner to 2023. In addition, Sotol, made from the distillation of a Mexican shrub called the “desert spoon,” will be on all the cocktail menus in 2023 when Lenny Kravitz drops his Nocheluna brand of the spirit. 


4. Seamless Order and Delivery

The Food People forecast a continued lean in on frictionless food service. This means Food APPs like Save A Plate, Inc (SAPi) will be working harder than ever to accommodate people who want to connect with local food businesses seamlessly. We’ll also see expanded use of QR codes, direct delivery from restaurants, and possibly even drone deliveries in 2023. 


Potato Milk


5. Potato Milk

Almond, oat, and cashew milks – remember when those were a novelty? If you think you’ve all the possibilities of plant-based milk, you probably weren’t expecting potatoes to come through. According to the National News, potato milk is the plant-based alternative that should have gone global in 2022, but we think 2023 is going to be the year you see your ultra-hip friend posting about it on social media.

Potato milk is known to be low in fat and sugar, cholesterol-free, and easier to produce making it a sustainable option. If you compare dairy milk to a potato-based alternative, the climate footprint of the potato drink is significantly lower. In fact, switching to a potato-based alternative reduces the climate impact by about 75 %. And no, we hate to disappoint, but it doesn’t taste much like potatoes. 


6. Repurposing Pulp

Whole Foods annual trending foods list declared repurposed pulp the future hit of 2023. The byproducts of plant-based milk production mean the often-wasted pulps have seen an influx of brands begin to innovate in the repurposed pulp space. By upcycling byproducts like oat, soy, and almond pulp, brands are creating new products for the modern baker, for example, alternative flours, baking mixes, and sweets.


7. Solo Dining

According to Country and Town House if you enjoy a “solo date,” 2023 will be your year. Coming out of a restrictive pandemic and into the age of self-care, solo dining is seeing a surge in growth. As evidence, hashtags like #SoloDate and #DiningAlone have amassed over 150 million views on TikTok.

Restaurants have been making solo dining easier in we’ll likely see counter seating becoming more common.


Gut Friendly Foods


8. Gut-Friendly Foods

According to tastemaker food magazine, Delish, gut health-friendly foods will continue their blazing trail to mainstream stardom in 2023. The trend-making evidence lies in Tik Tok’s analytics, where the hashtag #guthealth has over a staggering 2.4 billion views and counting. And it’s with that growing interest in gut health that we will begin to see a new wave of gut-friendly biotics: “postbiotics.” While “prebiotics” help feed the beneficial bacteria – known as ‘probiotics’ – inside your gut, “postbiotics” work in tandem with pre and probiotics in helping support the healthy gut, your immune system, and even your mental health. 

Look for all the biotics in more functional foods like kombucha, fermented vegetables, and living yogurts in 2023. 


9. Yuzu

Industry APP Lova predicts that the Asian citrus Yuzu will be the flavor profile of 2023. Yuzu saw a 49% increase in searches on the internet in the last year, meaning people’s interest is spiking for the exotic fruit. As the primary flavoring component, Yuzu is known for it’s bold and zesty taste. You can look forward to seeing it in a wide variety of flood applications such as beverages, ice creams, and marinades in 2023.


10. Yaupon

The final entry in our list is one recommended by food future sage; Whole Foods. They predict that the only caffeinated plant from North America is poised to unseat coffee in 2023. Ok, nothing is likely to take coffee’s crown, but you can be sure that Yaupon will make waves in the coming year with its mild, earthy flavor and unique health benefits. 

Look for it as an ingredient in kombucha, ready-to-drink teas, and on artisan cocktail menus everywhere.



For more trending foods and how to connect with a local plate in your neighborhood, follow SAPi on Instagram at @sapiapp.