Zap Trends 2015: Food Predictions
I wish 2015 was the final death of the moniker “foodie,” but I don’t think we’ll be so lucky. As someone with a professional background in food and beverages and a personal passion for cooking, it always amazes me how once rare ingredients end up as kitchen staples. In middle school French class, we were asked to define a typical American meal. I included rice in my answer because this was a standard in my house; unfortunately my teacher felt that the only acceptable American starch was a potato. Now, quinoa, couscous, black rice and all sorts of grains are commonplace. I was right all along.
In 2015 and forward, several factors will continue to impact our culinary landscape. The focus on health continues to take precedence; second and third generation Hispanic and Asian Americans are seeking flavor profiles that reflect their upbringing; food entrepreneurialism is on the rise with artisan companies like Chef’s Cut Jerky and easy gourmet DIY meals like Plated.
Here are a few predicted trends:
- Coconut sugar: Coconut oil and milk have become mainstream in grocery aisles and even at coffee chains. Coconut is a popular alternative as it’s safe for people with nut allergies and many consider it to have good, satiating fats. It’s also quite tasty (but when cooking with it, it can be too strong). Given the continued increase on health, people are seeking natural sweetners with a lower glycemic index. Nielsen predicts that coconut sugar will be a hot trend for 2015. I am inclined to agree.
- At home cooking: The rise in same day delivery services like Google delivery, Instacart and Amazon Fresh combined with millenials’ desire for more clean eating will increase people wanting to eat at home. Dinner parties are becoming more common place as people have access to ingredients and recipes once reserved for wholesale markets and coveted by chefs.
- Local goes even more local: Big CPG companies are buying up artisan brands because they recognize that people are willing to spend more on higher quality foods with ingredients they can trust. This year, local will take the next step with people making their own grains using their vitamixes, house-purifying their water and going to local fish markets and butchers for regional proteins.
- Heightened flavors: While people are seeking better-for-you foods, their desire for flavor isn’t going away. This, coupled with America’s increasing Asian and Hispanic population (with money to spend), will drive the trends towards spicier foods and stronger flavors. Pickling will be in and will extend beyond cucumbers to other veggies such as carrots and beets. Mixing spice with sweet will also be a trend; we’ve already started to see this with cold pressed juices incorporating ginger or cayenne. Spices that are also considered to have potential immune boosting properties such as turmeric will also be seen on plates. 2015 will move beyond Sriracha.
- More matcha: Functional beverages are becoming too cluttered. With the array of waters to juice from flavor profiles that mimic one another, people want beverages that stand out. Less sweet drinks will become popular. Aside from mainstream varieties, people want powerhouse beverages. According to the Sterling-Rice group, matcha will become one of the year’s superfoods. It’s a powered up version of green tea that will be packaged in a consumer-friendly way.
Whatever the trends end up being, cheers to the power of food to delight, unite and nourish us.
- Nora Sarrawi, Vice President
*** Image courtesy of Love and Lemons (http://www.loveandlemons.com/)