Food Trends 2017
It’s that time of year again, no not the holidays but that look forward into the crystal ball to see what food trends we can expect in 2017. Food trends don’t start and stop January 1st. We expect to see a continuation of ideas such as the movement towards healthier food options and shorter, more recognizable ingredients used in restaurants and food products. Panera, McDonald’s, YUM brands, Subway and many others are working to fulfill their commitments to phase out the use of human antibiotics in chicken, sourcing cage free eggs, removing artificial colors, artificial flavors, unnecessary preservatives, and excess salt from their menus.
Vegetables Moving to Center of the Plate
New plant based alternatives to animal protein will find their way onto menus. At the independent operator level you may soon see jackfruit; the tropical fruit which when shredded mimics the meaty texture of pulled pork.
You may have heard about the veggie burger that looks and taste like beef and it actually bleeds? According to the Impossible Foods website the Impossible Burger is made of recognizable ingredients: wheat, coconut oil and potatoes. The not so secret ingredient that contributes the color and taste of meat when cooked is “heme”. Heme is an iron-containing molecule that carries oxygen in blood. There is high concentration of heme in red meat, but it can also be found in plants. The company has discovered how to extract heme from plants and produce it using fermentation. Though the plant based burger that bleeds is limited to a handful of cities and restaurants such as San Francisco’s Jardinière, it has repeatedly sold out since its debut.
The popularity of plant based alternatives to animal protein and vegetables as the main dish is catching on. Whether it is concern over water and land resources or simply trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle the food industry is paying attention to what consumers want. Tyson foods, the US’s largest meat processor in 2016 purchased a 5 percent stake in Beyond Meat, a company based in El Segundo, California that makes “meats” form protein sources like soy and peas.
What is Old is New Again
Consumers are interested not only in where their food is coming from but that their food is being grown in a way that least harms the environment. Regenerative Grazing is the new buzz word coming out of the regenerative agriculture movement. This growing movement involves farming practices that regenerate soil depleted of nutrients from planting crops. The use of densely packed animals moving quickly through pastureland allows for soil-building events to occur. This is not a new method, rather the natural cycle performed by grazing herds for thousands of years.
More than Heat it’s Complex Global Flavors
Spicy food is hotter than ever but consumers are looking beyond pure heat for flavor and complexity. African Peri Peri pepper, North African Harissa, Korea’s sweet hot and savory Gochujang, China’s mouth numbing Sichuan peppercorn, Japan’s citrus spicy Yuzukosho and Togarashi, Middle Eastern Skhug, South American Aji Amarillo and Aji Panca are global flavors of heat that will you’ll be seeing more of in the coming year. The regional flavor of heat as seen with Nashville Hot Sauce is already burning its way into the hearts of foodies as shown by the long lines to get into restaurants like LA’s Howlin’ Ray’s Nashville Hot Chicken.
Sugary Drinks Are Out as Plant Water Grows in Popularity
Consumers the past decade have been moving away from sugary drinks and are looking to quench their thirst with plant waters. The health conscious consumer feels good about a drink that comes from nature and may have benefits beyond hydration. Vita Coco, a leading coconut water brand initially promoted the lower sugar, and potassium content, and electrolytes until they had to contend with a 2011 class action lawsuit regarding exaggerated claims. No matter, consumers find plant waters to be beneficial and consumption is on the rise. The fight for shelf space will continue as other plant water beverages, (Drink Maple -Maple water, Calif water’s cactus water and Arty Water –artichoke water) try to copy coconut water’s success.
Kagome continually has its ear to the ground on food and flavor trends that affect the food industry so we may bring new and innovative ideas to our customers. We are hungry, curious and excited for our next meal, the next new flavor experience, our next opportunity to serve you!