Kara's 2017 Food Trend Watch List

Trend predictions are a relative affair. What is new and exciting to one person can be old news to another. For my purposes, I get excited when I can connect the dots between individual sightings scattered about and knit them together into something more coherent. I also look at the cutting edge where data points appear, but then often wait years until one data point turns into a hundred. But I would rather be ready and waiting then miss the boat.

 Jian bing from Bing Mi! in Portland, Oregon

Jian bing from Bing Mi! in Portland, Oregon

Instead of predictions of the next big _____ for 2017, here is a list of foods on my radar that I feel will grow this year. Some reflect wishful thinking but others are grounded in an understanding of the culinary world and where consumers are headed this year to taste cool new things. Treat these as a discovery journey if you aren’t already all over them and on to the next thing. My examples skew to the Bay Area but these emerging trends are found across the country. 

  • Next Asian frozen treat to try: Toss-up between Thai rolled ice cream and Taiwanese shaved snow
  • Next street food to sample: Chinese jian bing pancake
  • Up-and-coming healthy snack: onigiri (and its creative cousin, the Sprog)
  • Chef fascination least likely to hit consumers’ kitchens this year but still get plenty of coverage: koji
  • The cultured food we’ll be checking out: skyr or perhaps cottage cheese
  • Food shop sure to multiply: Vegan delis or butcher shops filled with carved wheat gluten and tofu
  • Baked good I hope becomes more accessible: Brazilian cheese bread. Runner Up: anything with mochi
  • Baking method I’m going to try at home and you might too: tangzhong bread starters popularized in Japanese milk bread
  • Ingredient I keep talking about but isn’t moving very quickly: pandan
  • Food item that comes pandan flavored but still hard to find unless you shop at Costco: Thai coconut rolls that happen to be gluten-free and crazy good
  • Probably the next kale, in the sense of being a green food people don’t like but will eat it anyway because it’s good for them: seaweed and its cousin spirulina
  • Plant that will turn up in unexpected foods: hops, because after last year's elections we expect cannabis to turn up in just about everything in 2017
  • Condiment likely to be purchased for the first time this year: Korean gochujang but it won’t replace Huy Fong’s sriracha sauce’s spot in your fridge door. Runner up: togarashi or furikake
  • Thing I heard about somewhere but haven’t seen yet but would love to get in on being at the front of the crowd as spotting: breakfast salad     

Recent Media Quotes on Food Trends: 

Identifying the next big trend - Food Business News, 12/19/16

Five food and beverage trends gearing up to take over in 2017 - SmartBrief Food & Beverage, 12/14/16

Street foods, cajeta, upscale Mexican concepts will drive continued growth of Latin Cuisine in US - SmartBrief Food & Beverage, 12/28/16