Healthy and environmentally-friendly foods are increasingly popular. People aren’t afraid of fat anymore, but they want it wrapped up with protein and fiber into a convenient, sustainable little package. That’s where seeds fit in nicely. Seeds are an easy and guilt-free way to sprinkle nutrition and value onto the foods that people are already eating.

The National Restaurant Association named protein-rich seeds as one of its Top 20 Food Trends (link no longer available) this year. We agree. Flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin, nigella, and sunflower seeds are showing up everywhere in restaurants and grocery stores; the seed trend is growing in 2017. (For our full list of 2017 food trends, take a look at this article on the FDR blog.)

Seeds Are Healthy And Environmentally-Friendly

Seeds are nutritional powerhouses. They often fall into the trendy “superfood” category because, in addition to being generally allergen-free, they also provide:

  • Protein
  • Good fats and omega fatty acids
  • Fiber
  • Antioxidants

Seeds are sustainable and have a lower impact on the environment. According to the World Resources Institute, beef production requires 20 times more land and emits 20 times more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of edible protein than plant-based protein sources.

These are the categories where we’re seeing the seed trend growing in 2017.

Alternative Dairy

Take a look at your local dairy case, and you can see the popularity of plant-based dairy alternatives. In the sea of coconut, almond, soy, and rice milk products, you can also find a growing number of milk, yogurts, and cheeses that are made from hemp and flax seeds.

Snack Foods

Snack foods are big. Snack foods that are nutritious, sustainable, and satiating are huge. Adding seeds to granola bars, chips, crackers, and pretzels is an easy way to add nutrition and to grab consumers’ attention right now.

chia seed trend jam on grocery store shelf


Some people’s relationship with bread has been “complicated” these last few years. Things get a little less complicated when the bread is made with seeds and sprouted seeds. Alvarado Street Bakery, Oroweat, Rudi’s Organic Bakery, and Dave’s Killer Bread are all getting in on this trend.


Breakfast is a big category for seeds. Ch-ch-ch-chia seeds (sorry, we had to), pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds are sprouting up in oatmeal, granola, yogurt, and even jam and preserves. Anyone who’s been on Instagram knows how trendy smoothie bowls with seeds and chia pudding are.

Seeds give consumers what they want; something that they can add to their food that is nutritious, fills them up, and doesn’t hurt the environment.

For more culinary trends, check out our official list of 2017 food trends.

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