The beginning of each New Year we are inundated with articles on what will be big. What is the next big idea in technology, the big movies for the year, the must read books, next fashion craze? This year I noticed an influx of articles about what the IT trends in dining will be for 2015. While each certainly had their own take, and some picked a few dark horses, here is my list of what is up and coming in the food world for 2015:
- Fat is Back – The “all fat is bad fat” idea that started in the 80s is finally wearing off. People are starting to embrace the idea that natural fats are a good part of any diet, while turning away from processed, not so good for you trans fats. Taking fat out of naturally fatty foods (i.e. yogurt) means it has to be replaced with something, usually this is sugar, another not so good for you item. This year more people will be looking for healthy, natural forms of fat to enhance flavor. My picks: Avocado, Ghee (clarified butter), Full Fat Yogurt, Full Fat Cheese, and Duck Fat.
- Local Matters – While the idea of supporting local businesses has been growing in popularity we’ll see a big mainstream push in 2015. Look for big box retailers and mid to large regional chains jumping on board by carrying local, artisan goods. As consumers become more cognizant of locally owned businesses that make up their community local, independent businesses have an opportunity to gain a strong base of new customers. What will win: know your customers, highlight local products, and talk about how you support the community.
- Bring on the Protein – High protein, low carb diets are going to see a shift this year from chicken and steamed vegetables diet to one of variety. The focus will be on healthy, flavorful protein that is still socially responsible. Shoppers will be looking for new, tasty ways to up their protein intake because chicken everyday can be tiresome. Sustainable, responsibly raised protein sources will also be a priority in the coming year. My picks: bison, peas (and other high protein veggies), beans, duck, and, my dark horse pick, grasshopper flour.
- Fermentation Nation – The focus on health has brought interesting new flavors to the forefront of dining. This year will see growth in anything fermented, with probiotics, and live cultures. Fermented items are the perfect way to add big flavor paired with a health boost to any meal. My picks: anything pickled (it’s not just for cucumbers any more), Kombucha, Kimchi (A Korean Fermented Cabbage), and flavor enhanced vinegars.
- Vintage Grains – In the past few years there has been quite a grain evolution. Focus on healthy, natural diets has put the spotlight on brown rice, followed by quinoa, 2015 will extend the trend. We’ll see more recipes and products featuring less processed grains that were popular in previous centuries. My picks: buckwheat, millet, barley, and spelt.
- Power to the Cauliflower – Kale, Imma let you finish, but cauliflower is the greatest vegetable of all time. By the end of 2014 everyone knew about kale, while healthy, the leafy green is not as easy to incorporate into the diet as cauliflower. Cauliflower’s versatility and flavor adaptability make it a produce aisle superstar. Cauliflower is catching a few eyes in new colors like purple, light green, and orange. Unlike a kale, cauliflower can be used in a variety of ways to keep you satisfied while not feeling like you’re in a diet rut. You’ll start to see cauliflower in a variety of dishes, not just a veggie side. My picks: sliced think as a steak substitute, mashed like potatoes, chopped finely as faux rice, and as a flour substitute in pizza crusts or tortillas.
- Honorable Mentions – I would be remiss not to point out a few little things that will become big players in the next year: Middle Eastern Spices (Za’atar, Harissa), Ramen (not just for college students anymore!), reduced food waste (the rise of the ugly produce and peel-to-stem cooking).
The increased popularity of food based television programming has given diners and shoppers a better than ever view of the food industry. As consumers become more educated about what is going on their plates being ahead of the trends will help retailers not only meet demand but also been viewed as an knowledgeable, trusted food source. Where do you think food will be going in 2015, care to make a prediction?