Food Trends of 2016

Top food trends of 2016

I have said this before and I’ll say it again: I love food. And in my passion for palate pleasers, I quite enjoy keeping an ear to the ground for any and all trends in food. Here are some that are making waves so far this year.

1. People of the world, SPICE UP YOUR LIFE!

I won’t be expecting Scary, Baby, Sporty, Posh or Ginger to be dropping by any time soon, but the food party is still going to heat up with some ethnic flavour. Sriracha has held the top spot of favourite spicy sauce for a long time. It even went beyond the condiment category and lent its flavour profile to things like vodka, chocolate, and lollipops. People are crazy about the stuff! But, it may be facing some stiff new competition. As we become more adventurous with food and flavours, we are looking internationally for inspiration. Spicy sauces like sambal (South East Asia), gochujang (Korea), and harissa (North Africa), may be the new successor to the great sriracha.

2. Probiotic Powerhouses

Sauerkraut with carrots, served as a salad, Eastern European style. Photo credit: Kagor at the Ukrainian language Wikipedia

Sauerkraut with carrots, served as a salad.
Photo credit: Kagor at the Ukrainian language Wikipedia

Fermented edibles are fast becoming a popular item as people become more concerned with their gut and overall health. Fermentation boosts the digestibility and nutrition of the veggies. Not only that, but consumption of fermented foods brings beneficial bacteria to your bowels. So be on the look out for more sauerkraut. Get the munchies for yummy kimchi. Other (non-rhymable) yet equally delicious fermented foods include miso, tempeh, kefir, and yogurt. Eating these foods will surely make your gut kombu-cha cha cha.

3. Locavore Movement

There is a huge paradigm shift happening in the way most of us think about our food. Stemming from increased interest in sustainability and eco-friendly practices, more and more people are turning to local growers and food producers. Food grown closer to home will reduce transportation emissions, will be fresher, will not need to as much processing, and will support local farmers!

With this trend, we are also seeing a rise in home vegetable gardens.

4. No Food Wasted

Food waste is on everyone’s minds. Even John Oliver covered it! The staggering statistic that nearly one-third of all food produced is not consumed is eye-opening. In an effort to reduce the amount of food that gets composted or thrown away, people are becoming more active in movements like Ugly Fruit & Veg and nose-to-tail cooking. Similarly, restaurants and home cooks alike are embracing root-to-stalk cooking, utilizing most – if not all – parts of the plant in their dishes. That means that rather than seeing perfectly usable parts like kale stems or broccoli leaves in the compost, they may well be the centre of attention on plates.

5. Power of Plants and Pulses

Meats are moving away from centre-plate as more veggie-centric meals are coming to the forefront. Several veggies are set to make a push and give kale a run for its money. Eggplants are gaining huge popularity. Their meatiness, texture and adaptability are making it a great substitute for meat. Snap peas are in position to succeed carrots as a go-to snack. The easily portable, low-calorie vegetable is not only delicious and convenient, but also great for your health. Collards are often touted as the new kale. The leafy greens are beloved by many in the southern US but haven’t quite made their way up north. Yet, that is. Collards are extremely versatile and highly nutritious. So don’t be surprised when it starts popping up on your plate.

People are also looking to pulses to fill their plates. Pulses are the dried seeds of the legume family. The most common ones are lentils and chickpeas. Cutting back on meat can leave a large nutritional hole that pulses could fill with their high protein values. Pulses also appeal to the environmentally-minded as their production is much more sustainable crops, using up to half the non-renewable energy input as other crops.