Just as consumers are feeling more bulge and promising to eat better and less — once the holidays are over — reports abound as to what foods are trending and what will be on the no-no lists in the forthcoming year. Some are obvious — bet you already knew sugar is out — some not, even among the cognoscenti and significant others of the trend watchers.
“According to Carol Tice from Forbes, the forecast released in mid-November by Baum+ Whiteman international restaurant consultants, was ‘one of the most fascinating,’” writes chef and author Roxanne Gold on Huffington Post. “Although I am married to Mr. Whiteman, his prognostications were unknown to me until they were released on Nov. 11th.”
Or to most people. Hummus, for example, and honey — enhanced and/or flavored —are good places to be if you’re in the food business. “Cocktails with beer are finding favor in trendy bars,” reports Gold, who also relates that we’ll seeing more “insects as food as we search for renewable sources of proteins.” (Perhaps a few of the former will help make the latter seem more palatable.)
“The trends sit in telling categories: how the importance of technology will profoundly change the way restaurants function; how the notion of authenticity has less relevance, and how our lust for new and different has resulted in ‘restless palate syndrome’ — meaning that we can't leave simple food alone,” writes Gold. “Once upon a time we liked salty, sweet, spicy, smoky, fatty and bitter flavors — but now we want them all at once.”
Keep a nose out for “neurogastronomy,” writesForbes contributor Tice — “the emerging science of manipulating your perception of how food and drink taste.” Among the examples: “Diageo discovered having real grass and bird sounds makes your single-malt whiskey have more grassy overtones.”
As for bugs replacing sirloin as a source of protein, Tice thinks “this one’s got a ways to go, pointing out that “most insects are not kosher for Jews, and it’s common for packaged goods to seek kosher certification.” But the idea may have wings: ”Get the kids eating those cricket-flour snack bars, and they’ll grow up thinking eating bugs is cool.”
Meanwhile, New Nutrition Business has issued its “10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition & Health 2015” report.
“Ingredients and brands that are ‘naturally functional’ are surging, along with ‘good grains’ and protein, while dairy is able to take advantage of its naturally health advantages as never before,” reads the summary. “Old weight management business models are failing, start-ups are carving new niches, low-fat eating is facing a long, slow death and every company that can is fighting for a piece of the snacking market.”
Bakeryandsnacks.com’s Kacey Culliney spoke to Julian Mellentin, the director of research at New Nutrition Business, about the “good carbs” that are gaining favor in the marketplace — so-called ancient grains such as quinoa and chia, as well as the bigger slices of the pie like oat and buckwheat.
The move away from carbs will continue but if the “industry is clever, the shift presents plenty of opportunities,” the article tells us. Mellentin sees an opportunity as rich as that for diary two decades ago, citing the growth of Activia from a niche brand.
As for sugar, it takes another pounding this morning — this time in the op-ed pages of the New York Times.
“Your co-worker brought in brownies, your daughter made cookies for a holiday party and candy is arriving from far-flung relatives,” write cardiovascular research scientist James J. DiNicolantonio and Sean C. Lucan, an assistant professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “Sugar is everywhere. It is celebration, it is festivity, it is love.”
You are no doubt familiar with the rest of the narrative: It’s “addictive, literally, in the same way as drugs. And the food industry is doing everything it can to keep us hooked.”
But the authors suggest that health advocates take a proactive approach and “promote the consumption of whole, natural foods” rather than “focusing narrowly” on all the sugar that’s added to manufactured foods. “It could prompt the food industry to inject something equally or more harmful into processed foods, as an alternative,” they write.
See you on the other side of all those fruitcakes, candy canes and amaranth.