The top culinary trends of 2017 are some of the most interesting to examine, because they so closely mirror the world in which we now live. Chefs across the country are coming to understand, and respond to, the needs and desires of those eating in their restaurants. With more and more people concerned with healthier eating and environmental sustainability, the culinary world is answering directly with trends like these that are sure to surge this year.  

“Ugly” produce. What you see in the grocery store produce aisle is typically unbruised, unblemished, near-perfect fruits and vegetables. But that’s about to change in 2017 – and it’s a good thing. A huge amount of produce is wasted because of small cosmetic imperfections that have no bearing on the taste or nutritional value of the food. While these items would be difficult to sell in the past, 2017 will see a huge push in encouraging consumers to look past appearances and buy “ugly” produce (often at a discounted price!). Restaurants will follow suit and take advantage of these cheaper, perfectly fine fruit and vegetables.

Plant-based meals. It’s now generally accepted that one of the simplest ways to reduce one’s carbon footprint is to eat less meat. So while plant-based meals are nothing new, in 2017 they are going to enjoy a special renaissance. Pulses (peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas) will likely dominate, as they are both nutritious and inexpensive. What does this mean for the culinary world? More out-of-the-box dishes and creative uses of ingredients.

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Vegan foods that mimic meat. But just because more people are watching their meat consumption doesn’t mean that the craving for meat has ceased entirely. This year, chefs will be turning to science to create plant-based meals that mimic the look, feel, and taste of meat – for the environmentally conscious eater who still occasionally craves a medium-rare burger. This trend started in 2016 with the invention of the “Impossible Burger,” which uses an ingredient called leghemoglobin to make it smell and taste like a real beef burger. Thanks to the success of this faux burger, we can expect to see many more vegan versions of the real thing in 2017.

Artisanal butcher shops and less expensive cuts of meat. Artisanal butcher shops are becoming more and more popular, and these places sell a whole lot more than neatly packaged cuts of ribeye. In keeping with the trend of environmental sustainability, less expensive cuts of meat are making a big comeback this year. And since these shops are butchering entire animals, there is more choice and less waste than ever. The best part? A knowledgeable butcher will be able to tell you precisely how to prepare meat that might be unfamiliar to you.

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Healthy fast food. With fast food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King having been appropriately demonized in the past several years for the lack of real ingredients in their food, both healthy and gourmet fast food joints have become increasingly popular. There will be even more of these this year, and even traditional fast food places (like Taco Bell) will be revamping their menus in order to give people more of what they want. Be on the lookout for made-to-order food that uses plenty of fresh ingredients. Hopefully, healthy eating will be even easier in 2017!  

Breakfasts from ‘round the world. As people learn more and more about the deleterious effects of sugar, they’re taking a cue from other parts of the world and incorporating more savory elements into their first meal of the day. Breakfast and brunch menus this year will feature more global influences than ever, like cheese and olives from the Mediterranean and rice and soup from Japan. The dishes may vary, but one thing is for sure: breakfast is going to start to look a whole lot more like lunch and dinner.   

African flavors. The flavors of Asia have had their time in the spotlight for the past several years, highlighting delicious dishes like Vietnamese pho and Korean bibimbap. But in 2017, African flavors will take the culinary world by storm. Much like Asia, the continent’s cuisine is wide and varied but certain aspects are going to become huge this year. Expect to see a lot more influence from countries like Ethiopia (sauces and stews sopped up with their signature spongy injera bread) and Senegal (like the delicious lakh, a sweetened couscous dessert). This is one trend that is likely to continue in years to come.   

2017 will be all about eating consciously and globally – but luckily, the culinary world already has some delicious ideas!

Keep an eye out on in-sight for more 2017 Trends, including Beverage and Sweet trends!

Click HERE to view the Top 7 Food Trends for 2017 from around the web

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