If you like to follow trends, food never disappoints. 2016 promises to be a banner year in the culinary industry. This year brings fresh choices with influences from the far corners of the world. Prepare your taste buds for innovative flavors while you adopt new recipes that will complement your healthy lifestyle:
- Spiced Yogurt – In addition to the usual fruit-flavored yogurts, look for savory offerings in the dairy aisle, such as vanilla-cardamom, smoked paprika, and blackberry serrano. Snack time will take on a whole new dimension!
- Pulses – Chances are, you have been eating these legumes for years. Pulses include chickpeas, lentils, peas, and dried beans. They are high in protein and fiber, with vitamins and minerals. Pulses are an ideal food if you want to lose weight or lower your cholesterol. These inexpensive seeds are versatile, which makes them a favorite in chefs’ kitchens. The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses!
- Jerky – The jerky industry has seen a spike in sales, with a 46 percent growth since 2009. This high protein snack is now available in a variety of flavors. Some brands are produced with 100 percent grass-fed beef. Look for varieties such as ginger teriyaki chicken, sweet chili pork, and Korean BBQ beef.
- Bread – Now that carbs have returned from exile, bread has made a resurgence. Authentic, artisanal products including toasts, bagels, and flatbreads feature ancient grains and wholesome ingredients.
- Spiral Vegetables – If you are trying to limit your pasta intake, spiral vegetables are an ideal alternative. Veggie noodles add nutrition and fun to your meal with minimal effort. Zucchini, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash make colorful “spaghetti”. If you don’t have a fancy mandolin, purchase an inexpensive, handheld spiralizer.
- Brussels Sprouts – Move over kale, Brussels sprouts are back. Many chefs are reintroducing this relative of broccoli and cauliflower to the kitchen. These little vegetables deliver a high dose of antioxidants and anticancer compounds. Look for shredded Brussels sprouts salad on the menu in your favorite restaurant.
- Innovative Ice Creams – Vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry are still on the menu. However, ice cream makers are reinventing this creamy indulgence. New flavors include salted caramel bacon butter, cheddar whipped cream, and egg yolk custard.
- Ube – Ube is a bright purple yam from the Philippines. It is found in recipes for donuts, ice cream, and cheesecake. Given the popularity of Filipino cuisine, don’t be surprised to see ube-based products at an eating establishment near you.
- Matcha – This powdered Japanese green tea is becoming prevalent in local coffee shops. Matcha is prized for its high level of caffeine and antioxidant properties. It is also added to foods and juices.
- Vegetable Smoothies – Smoothies are a great way to enjoy fruit. Using vegetables is an ideal way to consume a day’s worth of nutrients in one sitting. In addition to kale and spinach, additional ingredients such as beets and sweet potatoes are being added to the blender. Drink up!
- Condiments – Today, the spices and sauces of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are eclipsing traditional ketchup and mustard. These spicy flavors will perk up an entrée within seconds. If you love to experiment with bold, new flavors, you are in for some fun!
Trends in the Food Service Industry
This year’s healthy trends aren’t focused on food alone. Here is what’s happening in the restaurant world:
- Back to Basics – The trend to produce foods using environmentally friendly methods continues. For example, hamptoncreek justmayo is produced using plant-based ingredients. Hampton Creek believes that food should be good for your body, inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and delicious.
- Pop-Up Restaurants – Don’t be surprised if your favorite eatery turns out to be a flash in the pan. Chefs are setting up pop-up restaurants to showcase their skills or promote a cause for a limited amount of time. It’s an ideal way for them to generate excitement without committing to a long-term business.
- No-Waste Kitchens – The issue of food waste is becoming more prevalent. Many chefs have begun to create dishes with ingredients that would normally be discarded. This includes the root to stem movement, which entails cooking all parts of the vegetable. Some chefs have also adopted ugly foods, where they reinvent leftovers and use ingredients that are typically thrown away, such as misshapen vegetables and broken pasta.
- Food Halls – Many cities have introduced upscale markets and food courts. Visitors can dine on gourmet food in a casual setting. They can also buy produce, fish, and meat from local vendors. Many communities have plans to open these open-air markets in the near future.
- Is Tipping Obsolete? – Major players in the restaurant industry are looking to end tipping. In 2015, Danny Meyer, the founder of Shake Shack, stopped accepting gratuities in his establishments. Other restaurateurs are beginning to follow his lead. Though this will cause menu prices to rise, wages in the industry will improve.This is an exciting time to eat well and try new flavors. The next time you go shopping, be sure to add some of these new ingredients to your shopping cart. Your taste buds and body will appreciate it!