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Is tomato ‘tuna’ the next big thing in 2018? Whole Foods thinks so

Addie Broyles
abroyles@statesman.com

Last year, Whole Foods predicted that we’d be eating everything that’s purple, made from coconuts or that fits within a flexitarian diet.

Is that true for you? I can’t say I ate more coconut (or purple corn chips or Paleo-friendly bacon) last year than the year before, but I certainly noticed them. Walking around grocery stores of every caliber in many different places across the country, I also noticed the other trends on their 2017 list: Wellness tonics, products made from byproducts, non-wheat pastas, creative condiments, Japanese-inspired ingredients and what they called “mindful meal prep,” where you might buy a whole meal kit one week or simply a prepared sauce and pre-cooked pasta another.

At the beginning of 2017, no one could have predicted that perhaps the biggest game-changer in food happened *to* Whole Foods, not inside it. Amazon’s acquisition of this grocery pioneer topped headlines for weeks, and we still haven’t figured out the long-term affects to the industry.

Nearly every supermarket has added some element of delivery, but how will they compete with a company that shipped more than 5 billion items to Prime customers last year? That’s a trend I’ll be watching closely in 2018.

What other trends has Whole Foods predicted for 2018? Here’s a list they released in November, and I’ll be talking more about this in my weekly livestream just after 11 a.m. on Facebook.com/Austin360.

Floral flavors (lavender, rose, hibiscus)

Super powders (matcha, maca, cacao, turmeric, spirulina)

Functional mushrooms (reishi, chaga, lion’s mane)

Middle Eastern foods (harissa, cardamom, za’atar, shakshuka, grilled halloumi)

Transparency (GMO and nutrition labeling)

High-tech plants (“not tuna” made from tomatoes, “bleeding” vegan burgers)

Puffed and popped snacks (puffed pasta bow ties, seaweed fava chips)

Tacos (sweet, savory, breakfast, non-traditional)

Root-to-stem (pickled watermelon rind, beet green pesto)

Bubbly water (La Croix, Topo Chico)

What the heck is that tomato “tuna” mentioned on the list? I hadn’t heard about it either, but as you can see from the photo below, the thin slices of tomato are processed to have a similar taste and texture of ahi tuna in sushi rolls and nigiri.

What do you think about this food prediction list? Are you buying any of these products mentioned or is this Whole Foods being Whole Foods?