Your grandmother would be happy: According to FoodNavigator, fermented foods are moving beyond the farm and the DIY kitchen into the grocery aisle. To some, the newfound popularity of fermented items may be surprising, since it is the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms that transform fermented foods into the delicacies they are—sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, kefir, among others. However, consumer’s familiarity with dairy-based fermented products (like yogurt), coupled with the diversification of diets around the world, have made shoppers increasingly receptive to trying new foods, including fermented ones. Indeed, the functional food category, which includes fermented products, is the fastest growing food category, reaching $130 billion in sales worldwide in 2015 with an expected 7% yearly growth rate.
As for the future of fermented foods, companies are already starting to experiment with recipes that go beyond the traditional standbys by blending flavors, ingredients, and cultures of microorganisms from around the world. One startup, for example, is working on a dairy-free yogurt that combines coconut, a tropical fruit, with kefir and sauerkraut, traditionally popular in central and Eastern Europe. But if that doesn’t sound appetizing to you, that’s ok. Fermented foods’ popularity isn’t slowing down, so there are sure to be plenty of other options to choose from in the near future.