It may very well be that 2015 could go down as the year of flavor breakthroughs in the culinary world, starting especially with Umami taste perceptions. The Umami flavor profile could very well be propelled by the pressure being brought to bear to lower sodium. 2015 could go down as the year of the root vegetable!
The website, TheCrunchyGrocer.com, carries a prediction similar to sources throughout the food industry in their 2015 trend report: “Root veggies – you probably have eaten popular root vegetables like onions, carrots, yams, and beets, but have you tried parsnips, turnips, yucca, or jicama? These, and other root veggies, are among the most nutrient-dense vegetables around, packed with high concentrations of antioxidants, iron, and key vitamins.” They also predict seaweed and seaweed flavors as being very big in the year ahead.
The website, GoLocalProv.com, in their trend report of local chefs is very big on the sour flavor profile for 2015:
“Restaurants and gourmet stores are exploring house-made pickles, ethnic flavors and specialty vinegars, small-batch producers with less traditional vegetable varieties, and fermented flavor profiles.” Indeed, we have noted that many trendy restaurants are now devoting display space to jars of pickled and fermented vegetables.
The culinary equipment website app.com (December 31, 2014) in their “A Preview of Dining 2015” predicts that fermented and pickled foods will be big this coming year:
“The word fermented probably makes you cringe, but foods prepared in this age-old style are not as scary as you think — think probiotic yogurt, sauerkrauts, Kombucha and vegetables. ‘It's developing flavor in a way we haven't experienced in a restaurant setting before,’ said Michael Harlan Turkell, host of ‘The Food Seen’ on Heritage Radio Network, in a news release. There is bacteria involved, but it's good bacteria, the kind that helps with the digestive and immune systems — fermented foods are said to help the body absorb other nutrients more easily. Also watch for house-made veggies pickled in vinegary, herbal and garlicky solutions.”
Vegetables have become big; not as a side dish, but an important component of the dining experience:
Lois Abraham, writing for The Canadian Press (January 7, 2015) quotes leading chefs as to how veggies are being perceived on the culinary scene:
"’Vegetables have grown so much as being the focus on dining out or the dinner plate,’ says Christine Couvelier, whose Culinary Concierge company helps clients around North America build their brands and keep ahead of market trends. ‘We have seen it coming the last few years, but it's really going to explode this year.’
New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is reportedly opening a restaurant devoted to vegetarian and vegan fare, and the U.K.-based, Jerusalem-born Yotam Ottolenghi has followed up his popular book "Plenty" with "Plenty More," which puts an even greater focus on the expanding world of vegetables, grains and legumes.”
When the world of pickling and fermentation meets the broader acceptance of vegetables and the vegetarian scene, who knows where the flavor profiles will lead? Those involved with product development should be mindful of this trend.
Canada’s Global News in their Food Trends for 2015 states: “Fermented foods, such as the Korean side dish kimchee made with vegetables and seasonings, kombucha, a fermented drink made with tea, and the fermented milk drink kefir are taking off…with kits for sauerkraut and sourdough starter.”
Pickled and fermented flavors hearken to generations past however, a key difference is the association with health benefits. Please note as well, herbal and garlic flavors used from many cultures. In any case, pickling took off in 2014 and is expected to continue.
Nation’s Restaurant News in their trend report (December 8, 2014) state: “Pickling was the most predicted trendy preparation method, and, indeed, orders of pickled items rose 106 percent (2013 to 2014).”
Gluten-free on the decline
The chefs interviewed for the Details.com 2015 trends do predict – as did several other sources – a decline in the gluten-free trend and back to a more sane balance. However, more foodservice establishments will be creating their own wheat and grain specialties:
“Chefs like Marc Vetri are betting on a wheat revolution in 2015…the Philadelphia native started milling his own flour in a grain mill above his eponymous restaurant…What's more, restaurants are already partnering with producers to grow and mill grains like wheat, barley, buckwheat, and rye. And some chefs—like Vetri and Alex Stupak (who grinds his own masa at his New York taqueria Empellón Al Pastor)—are milling in-house.
Michael Tusk, the chef-owner of San Francisco's two-Michelin-starred Quince, predicts grain will be the next foodstuff (consider chocolate, coffee, wine) to go "single origin" (from just one farm or geographical location). ‘I expect to see more awareness and discussion of monocultivar grains in the coming year.”
In other words, grains such as wheat will slowly move back into vogue however, an awareness of GMO and intensive farming techniques may come along as part of the package.
In the culinary world, much like predictions in packaged foods, spicy foods will continue to be important. Nation’s Restaurant News (December 29, 2014) states that “expanding interest in spicy food shouldn’t be ignored.”
In 2015 juices and juice blends will continue to be big. The Calgary Herald (December 28, 2014) stated: “Interesting smoothies, fresh pressed juices and green veggie drinks are trending more than ever at home, in coffee shops, juice bars and restaurants.” We would expect that trend to continue. The juice bar in its various nuances, is here to stay.
Finally we would be remiss if we did not include one last culinary prediction from Huff Post Taste (December 16, 2014) that in 2015: “Insects as food as we search for renewable sources of proteins.”
While we can’t imagine a national QSR chain serving insect-laden smoothies, in the food scene most anything is possible these days!