As we embark on a new year, we look back on the previous year to learn and make progress for the upcoming year. Day by day, people live their lives, some by a set routine, others by thriving on new discoveries and expansions. The human race always seeks to progress culture by devising and adapting new approaches to existing methods. While not all humans share the same interests, all humans at least bear knowledge about food, as everyone has eaten food their entire lives. From the early days of basic meats, vegetables, and grains, food has evolved into a vast range of ingredients, tastes, cooking methods, and presentation. Innovative foods often make headlines as a new discovery, so as a result, many modern chefs tend to experiment more rather than stick to basics. Over time, many food trends surface, giving way to entrepreneurs to capitalize on those growing trends, such as cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and gourmet food trucks. However, many food trends remain relatively undisturbed, known only to the true food fans. Last year saw a rise of food trends as more and more people gain awareness of the food industry. Read on to discover ten food trends to pay attention to this year, since five cannot contain the sheer amount of food news that we can expect in 2016.
10. Local Butcher
With all the hullabaloo over questionable ingredients in our foods, seeing ingredients in its raw form brings peace of mind. If going out to eat does not sound so appetizing, at least visiting your local butcher brings peace of mind in knowing that you get exactly what you see. Visiting your local butcher does mean that you have to cook it at home or have someone else prepare it, but at least it brings comfort to your mind knowing exactly what goes into the finished product. If you do not have access to a butcher, a fine grocery store like Whole Foods or Bristol Farms should have a meat counter that you can shop at.
9. Alternative Proteins
Many nutrition studies have revealed the benefits of a diet high in protein and vitamins while reducing carbs. While we can easily find sources of proteins with many meats, protein exists in many other foods as well. Such alternative proteins include soy, tempeh, quinoa, tofu, and unconventional meats. What constitutes as unconventional meats? Did you know that some cultures incorporate insects into food? While it sounds disgusting, civilization has done this for ages, consuming insects like grasshoppers and crickets. Anyways, you can find sources of protein besides meat nowadays, so keep an open mind when selecting food.
8. Fancy Ice Cream
The days of traditional ice cream have passed. While many of us grew up with simple ice cream such as Thrifty ice cream, today’s youth favors fancy ice cream instead. Wacky flavors like maple bacon or lavender now exist, as well as different ways to enjoy ice cream. Besides the traditional ice cream sundaes and sandwiches, we now have macaroon ice cream sandwiches, ice cream burgers, ice cream pizza pies, alcoholic ice cream, savory ice cream applications, and much more. Millennials want new ways to enjoy traditional things, and they will stop at nothing to innovate the next big thing.
7. Floral Flavors
The previous entry briefly mentioned this, but as we turn to more natural flavors, we look at what else from nature we can consume. We already have fruits and herbs in many foods, but lately we have seen a rise in more floral flavors. This primarily exists in sweet applications, such as with the use of rose water or lavender, but this crosses over into the tea world, and vice versa. Teas derive a lot of different flavors from flowers, and some tea flavors have crossed over to solid desserts, such as Earl Grey macaroons. While floral foods have yet to rise in popularity, 2016 should see a spark in this food trend.
6. Smokey Flavors
True barbecue foods must include smokey flavors. Barbecue foods without the smoke simply cannot measure up to the true smoked foods. Traditionally, this meant barbecue meats such as ribs, brisket, pulled pork, sausage, and barbecue chicken. However, other foods can sit in the smoker to great success. For example, cut oranges can absorb the smoke for a slightly burnt yet caramelized accent to oranges that can go into drinks or sauces. Smokey flavors have such a unique profile that it marvelously impresses people from around the world who have never tried American barbecue before.
5. Filipino Pastries
Most people undeniably have a sweet tooth, which causes them to feel a bit more adventurous when it comes to trying new foods. When it comes to desserts, people willingly try new things, as opposed to regular foods that may turn people away. Unique desserts come in many forms, but Filipino pastries take the trophy for the most unique flavors around. Pastries can come as desserts, such as flan, or savory food, such as empanadas. Few other cultures can mimic Filipino flavors, such as ube, so when Filipino pastries come around, people flock to them like crazy.
Nutritionists have explained to us the value behind a diet rich in proteins and vitamins, especially lean and clean proteins. Fish oil has also become popular with the health benefits behind it. How can one gain all the benefits of the aforementioned nutrients? Why with Poke of course! This raw fish, generally ahi tuna or yellowfin tuna, comes loaded with lean protein, fish oil, and its unique flavor that only it has. When people eat this fish, they immediately recognize the poke flavor since nothing else can replicate it. Health and taste collide with poke, which has led to the major poke craze that recently surfaced.
3. Farm To Table
Corporate restaurants have come under a lot of scrutiny because of people revealing what goes on in their kitchens and factories. Customers would greatly appreciate not receiving extra questionable ingredients in their food, and would like to keep the number of preservatives and other artificial ingredients low. Preservatives merely slow down the decaying of food, so those that want fresh food without preservatives look to farm to table setups. As the term suggests, ingredients come straight from their origin to the kitchen to your plate with no other middleman. This ensures the freshest of foods with absolutely no preservatives.
Every year, the food industry shines a spotlight on some vegetable that makes it the vegetable of the year. Going back a few years, we have seen green beans, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts represented as the food trend of their respective year. For the year 2016, expect to see a lot of seaweed in stores and restaurants. Whether enjoyed as an ingredient in dishes or straight up (such as seaweed strips sold at Costco), seaweed has come up as a natural plant source high in fiber and complete proteins. This makes seaweed not only a versatile ingredient, but a great alternative protein, as covered above.
1. Wearable Gadgets
Technology has come so far over the past decade. Ten years ago, cell phones started coming up with no mention of smartphones for a few years. Once smartphones arrived on the market, they started replacing our other devices like laptops. Next, tablet computers arrived as glorified smartphones. Recently, tablets have slowly phased in favor of wearable gadgets, such as optical head-mounted displays and wrist wearables. These wearables track physical activity, sleep quality, food/calories consumed, and more. Wearables have changed the way people eat since it counts nutrients and calories, which could lead to a food revolution.