The Trendologist in action. What I'm talking about now...
About...2017 Culinary Trend Forecast
I’ve created a culinary trend road map for the year ahead in Packaged Facts’ 2017 Forecast, part of its Culinary Trend Tracking Series. Six food categories, four consumer driver themes and 50 individual trends make up this colorful report. In the accompanying webinar held in January, I shared insights on a handful of trends:
- Heritage Chicken Lovers bringing flavorful Old-World birds back to the table
- Delightfully novel Thai Rolled Ice Cream
- European Baked Goods including Czech Kolaches and Georgian khachapuri
- This year’s hot green, spirulina and chlorella
There is much more packed in this report to keep me busy tracking for the year; I'll be on the look-out for Filipino flavors, Icelandic skyr, pandan, koji and nut "meats." Food Navigator covered these two topics from the report: Butter flavor innovation and new nut and seed products.
2017 News Chatter
Recent quotes on 2017 trends, food-tech and the nebulous "clean eating" term:
- "The ‘clean food’ trend – defining it gets messy," by Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, February 1, 2017.
- "Our Favorite Food-Tech Brands of 2016," Perspective Branding Blog. I comment on the richness of the Bay Area in food-tech brands because of local expertise, investment dollars and the Bay Area spirit of innovation and discovery.
- Flavor & The Menu is out with its 2017 Top Trend Issue, a must-have outline of foodservice flavor trends with my comments included in these three trend areas"
- Salad’s Crisper Focus - Consumers craving crunchier salads made with romaine, maybe even from the grill
- Japan’s Comfort Cuisine - Where we are headed in izakayas, ramen joints, bento boxes; watch for riffs on the loaded okonomiyaki, the Japanese pancake topped with anything and everything
- Next-Level Non-Alcoholic Beverages - Flavor counts more than ever in the beverage space
The end of the year is a busy time for me as a food trendologist. Check out my blog to read my defense of food trend forecasting in response to this in-depth piece by Kim Severson in the New York Times and then see my own food trends watch list for 2017. I also chimed in with thoughts about koji, botanical flavors, Mexican chefs and cajeta in these pieces published in December 2016:
Five food and beverage trends gearing up to take over in 2017 - SmartBrief Food & Beverage, 12/14/16
Identifying the next big trend - Food Business News, 12/19/16
Street foods, cajeta, upscale Mexican concepts will drive continued growth of Latin cuisine in US - SmartBrief Food & Beverage, 12/28/16
I presented on cutting-edge whole grain trends at Oldways' Whole Grains Council Foodservice Conference in Chicago in September 2016. Some of the trends I mentioned are covered in this Food Navigator USA overview, including puffed grains and the power of purple.
My comments about the current grain bowl trend from the same presentation are captured in Food Business News, including how bowls are really beyond trend status and have become the way we eat today.
For those skipping grains, San Francisco is the home of a new gluten-free lifestyle magazine now published nationally by Meredith; I share a few thoughts on the gluten-free trend in the San Francisco Chronicle (subscription may be needed).
About...Natural & Organic Trends
Chickpeas, avocados and new green foods like spirulina and seaweed caught the attention of Food Navigator from the webinar.
Meanwhile, interest in soy is declining, as I discussed in Food Navigator.
What is trending in the natural and organic space? Food Business News shows off the trends I included in Sterling-Rice Group's 2016 Natural Nine Trends, such as jackfruit, clean baking mixes and grain-free wraps.
Vegan artisan cheeses are also on my radar, as I discussed with Bloomberg News. Bloomberg was also interested in talking about clean label popcorn, a product proliferating in the natural channel snack aisle.
About...Food & Dining
Like many U.S. cities, Baltimore is harboring a rapidly expanding food scene. I've visited Charm City numerous times to hit the Natural Products Expo East and shared some thoughts about the trends rippling out there in Baltimore Magazine, October 2016.
More styles of Japanese restaurants are opening to sate our appetite for that cuisine including izakayas which serve casual small plates with beer, sake and soju.
I've been noticing a rise in oyster bars lately in part thanks to the expansion of cultivated oysters that both provide tasty food and help clean up waters in coastal locales around the country. This past summer, Southern oysters were in the spotlight in Men's Journal. "Oysters to the Rescue" was one of ten culinary trends we included in Sterling-Rice Groups 2016 Culinary Trends.
And one of the best topics for trendologists: meal delivery kits. Will they last? Are they worth it? Will they take over? Only time will tell, as I discussed in Food Business News. Mail-Order Meal Mania was another of our 2016 Trends at SRG.
Being one of the Specialty Food Association's designated Trendspotters at the Fancy Food Shows puts me in the perfect position to spot new and emerging food products that could grow into new trends. After years of scanning, I'm able to spot a new product or growing category in a flash. A fellow trendspotter, food editor for the Houston Chronicle Greg Morago, summarized our 2016 adventures at the Summer New York Show and shared one of my finds, Coffee Flour, made from dried coffee cherries.
I discussed more of my findings with Food Dive, including savory yogurts in the Middle Eastern style, new expressions of Southeast Asian flavors and more sophisticated bottled teas. My personal favorite new product discovered this summer was Norr Skyr in Organic Elderflower flavor. It's a Nordic-style yogurt made in San Francisco.
Fermented food and drink is another trend that just keeps growing. This summer, I spotted two drinking vinegars from kombucha makers. Why are fermented foods such a passion for consumers right now? I tackle this question on GOOD.is.