Food for Thought
We’re firmly established in the new year, and so are some of the food and nutrition trends that experts are predicting will unfold this year. Here is a quick roundup from various sources on what we can expect:
Boulder, Colorado–based brand-strategy company Sterling-Rice Group recently called out 10 trends, six of which are reported here:
- Give it a lemon squeeze! Lemon in pure juice forms, in pastries and as yogurt flavoring will brighten up our dishes.
- Tea is not just for breakfast, “elevenses” or fortunetelling anymore. Chefs are using tea leaves to flavor ice creams and adding the leaves to poaching liquids, marinades, sauces and more.
- Got nuts? Dairy milk (and soymilk) will take a backseat to nut milks such as almond, peanut and cashew.
- Pasta gets a makeover. Traditional shapes made with semolina flour are already somewhat out of favor (considering the gluten-free mania). We should start seeing pastas made with many alternative flours and shaped in innovative ways to hold the delicious sauces you concoct.
- Animal proteins go alternative. People are gaining awareness that industrial cattle-farming practices are questionable and unsustainable. Expect small-scale, local producers to step forward with offerings like rabbit, goat and pigeon. Fresh from the Natural Products Expo East show, Natural Foods Merchandiser senior editor Kelsey Blackwell reported these four trends in a recent blog:
- Seaweed is rolling in with umami flavor “pop.” In addition to the ubiquitous crunchy seaweed snacks that have emerged recently, seaweed is being produced as a standalone flavor additive to sprinkle over anything that sounds good with it. In fact, dust some onto the next item.
- Popcorn has come out of its shell. It’s been a popular snack food for a couple of years already, but watch for imaginative uses and combinations. Blackwell reported on Tiny But Mighty Popcorn, an heirloom kernel so small that the hull disappears when it pops.
- Raw is gaining new ground. Innovators are producing raw-food ingredients such as oils, nuts and fruit juices for convenient use in recipes as well as excellent flavor enhancement and health benefits.
- More of us are getting our daily Paleo fix. Whether CrossFit® enthusiasts are driving this or not, it seems to be a trend. Blackwell reported seeing “a handful of Paleo- specific” snacks on the show floor. She also observed that established brands were massaging their messaging to appeal to Paleo consumers.
Rounding out the trends that have frequently made food news are superfoods (more new ones burst onto the scene with regularity); the kosher movement (the perception that kosher is healthier or more pure than nonkosher); and permissible indulgence in snack foods (feeling good about snacking because the ingredients are brown rice, legumes or vegetables, for example).
What food and nutrition trends are you seeing? Please share them with editor in chief Sandy Todd Webster at firstname.lastname@example.org.