Top 10 Cutting-Edge (And Surprising) Food Trends For 2017


By: Monica Watrous | Food Business News

eating food fridge girl

Consumers next year may be eating chocolate at breakfast, sardines with lunch and goat for dinner, according to a new list of culinary trend predictions by Sterling-Rice Group.

With nutrition, sustainability and authenticity top of mind, consumers are seeking to rediscover traditional cooking methods and explore global cuisines, and restaurants and packaged food companies are taking note, said Liz Moskow, culinary director at Sterling-Rice Group.

“Simply put, engaging with food is a conduit to engaging with the world,” she said.

To compile the trends, the group identifies shifts in the consumer landscape. Not all trends hit the mainstream, but key drivers suggest changes in consumer behaviors and need states that restaurant operators and food manufacturers may leverage in product development.

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“We look at what’s happening in the economy, what’s happening in the digital space, what’s happening in the greater world, and then come up with what we call culinary shifts, anything from sustainability to food as medicine,” Ms. Moskow told Food Business News. “The more touchpoints a trend has, the more ability to ‘go viral,’ the way that we see it as trending in the real world and not on-line.”

Wake and cake

Recent studies linking dark chocolate consumption to positive health benefits may encourage more consumers to indulge in the a.m.

“There was a study that recently came out from Syracuse University re-touting the benefits of dark chocolate, specifically on cognitive function — abstract reasoning, memory, focus,” Ms. Moskow said. “The thought was eating chocolate prepares you more for your workday, so what better day part to incorporate dark chocolate into your meal than breakfast?”

These findings follow research from Tel Aviv University suggesting eating dessert at breakfast supports weight loss.

“Combining those two studies and the likeability of having dessert for breakfast, we predict that breakfast might start seeing brunch amuse-bouche chocolate cakes or brunch and breakfast restaurants incorporating a robust dessert menu,” Ms. Moskow said.

Dosha dining

The remarkable rise of turmeric as a trending ingredient in recent years has become a gateway to American exploration of Ayurveda.

“Indians believe in the concept of dosha, which is another word for your body’s set constitution,” Ms. Moskow said. “Turmeric has really been picking up steam and trending over the past couple years… People have widely accepted turmeric is this magic food. And that’s really the holy grail of Ayurveda; for every dosha, turmeric is a good balancing additive for food.

“The reason we’re predicting people will start eating more towards their dosha is that we’re sort of riding this wave of yoga and Indian street food and bringing that mainstream, and once people realize turmeric is enhancing their lifestyle and preventing disease and helping with inflammation, people are going to start to look into Ayurveda more and see what foods they should avoid and what foods might be good for their constitution.”

Plant butchery

Chickpeas, corn, legumes and fungi are standing in for steaks in an emerging crop of butcher shops with products designed to appeal to vegans and carnivores alike.

“Plant butchery really focuses in on the fact that meat eaters are exploring plant-based options,” Ms. Moskow said “There are actually places popping up, consumer facing retail shops, that are catering to this plant-based-curious group of people, people who don’t want to eliminate meat from their diet but might want to eat it less often.”

At Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis, for example, customers may order meatless barbecue ribs, pepperoni and teriyaki jerky that resemble their counterpart cuts in taste and texture.

“They make chop meat and infuse it with beet juice so it looks almost like a bloody consistency,” Ms. Moskow said. “So it gets the salivary glands going in meat eaters because they see it’s juicy and bloody and they can grab onto it a little more than, say, a garden burger patty that they look at and go, ‘Oh. I’d much rather have a hamburger.’”

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Food waste frenzy

Consumers and companies alike are creatively reducing food waste by repurposing typically tossed-out stems, skins and rinds.

“This is driven by millennials’ desire to make the earth a better place,” Ms. Moskow said. “They’re finding ways to repurpose and use things that would ordinarily be discarded. For example, watermelon rinds being made into pickles, or making cauliflower rice using the stem, something that ordinarily would end up in the garbage.”

A company called Forager Project has identified a use for the wasted pulp from production of cold-pressed juices — by manufacturing organic tortilla chips containing the nutritious byproduct.

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