We often think of food trends in terms of new flavors, new cuisines or even the declining use of an ingredient. However, there are often subtle “behind the scenes” trends that will have profound effects on the food industry and most every product we develop. Here then, are 10 of the top food trends for 2016 that may not have crossed your mind, but could have an effect on marketing and sales.
1. Expect Bugs in Your Food – No, these are not health code violations but indications are that as the world’s need for protein increases, bugs of all kinds will crawl into our dishes. Cricket protein bars have emerged on the scene and there are restaurants devoted to insect cuisine. (Mashable 12/6/15).
2. Lard! Are You Kidding? No! – According to New York’s Institute of Culinary Education (1/4/16), we are about to see chefs using more lard and good, old-fashioned “schmaltz” used in more dishes. It turns out that a modest amount of saturated animal fats are healthier for us than many unsaturated vegetable oils.
3. The International Year of the Pulse – The U.N. has declared 2016 as the year we will be having more of an emphasis on pulses such as dried seeds, peas and beans. (Wall Street Journal, 11/11/15)\
4. Trash to Treasure – Multiple sources are reporting this trend. Chefs are rescuing food waste from going into the dumpster, ranging from apple skins and carrot pulp to cheap stew cuts and "trash" species of fish. Expect strong “recycled” food concepts. (Technomic’s Take 10/26/15)
5. Tech-Driven Food Delivery – High speed home or office food delivery courtesy of Google, Uber and other delivery services is here to stay, from Starbucks and Chipotle to high-end restaurants. In fact, some chefs are opting out of restaurant spaces altogether just to deliver from their kitchens. (Wall Street Journal, 11/18/15)
6. Made In-House – Multiple sources report “Hyper Local” food production and many restaurants are creating more foods in-house including pickles, sausage and ice cream. (Eater.com 11/9/15)
7. The Next New Super Food is Maca Root – According to the “Fit Foodie,” Mareya Ibrahim (11/3/15), the next new superfood is Maca, a root related to radishes “with a mild taste and subtle earthy flavor, Maca can boost nutrient density in a variety of foods, from baked goods to soups.”
8. The Rise of Algae – Be on the lookout for products such as Thrive, “a cooking and salad oil made from algae that has 75% less saturated fat than olive oil and has the highest level of monounsaturated fat.” (Phil Lempert, Supermarket Guru, November 20, 2015)
9. Switchels – The switchel is a drink that goes back to Colonial times and is made with roots, fruits and sap along with sweeteners such as maple syrup and vinegar. Expect it to grow in popularity as more Americans embrace sour flavors. (Food Business News, 10/19/15)
10. Pucker Up Foodies!
Look for more “puckery foods” this year. Recipes will use more green coffees, pomegranates, unripe fruit, walnuts and Sichuan peppercorns. Sour beer will also be popular. (Food Network’s Healthy Trends, 12/31/15)