As 2016 comes to a close, there are a number of food trends we can look back upon as having been iconic throughout the year. From amped-up ramens and oatmeals to avocado toast and lettuce wraps, this past year saw a number of food-related crazes that swept the nation. As we set our sights on a new year, we should also prepare to expand our palates to include all of the new foodie trends that will be reaching restaurants as the new year unfolds. As we see a rise in the desire for healthy, wholesome foods that will keep the body running efficiently, the foods available at our disposal must rise to meet the demand. Keep your eye out for these coming food trends for 2017.
If you want to reduce your meat intake but the thought of giving meat up altogether makes your stomach sad, plant butchery can offer a nice, guilt-free alternative that can be just as satisfying as meat. It involves not the senseless slaughter of plants but cuts and pieces of plant-and-fungi-based proteins like corn, chickpeas, mushrooms, and legumes. There is now a market with customer-facing shops that specialize in creating meat-like alternatives that are entirely plant-based; in Minneapolis, there is a business called Herbivorous Butcher where customers can get pepperoni, barbecue ribs, sausages, and more that are completely meat free and not only look and taste like the real thing, but have a surprisingly realistic texture.
For many of those who choose to continue eating meat, the choice will likely still come with a change — much like the rise of farm-to-table dining of the past few years where the foods served on your plate were grown nearby, butcher-to-table establishments are cropping up that offer customers locally-sourced meat from animals the establishment either personally butchers or attains from a butcher they personally employ. This helps reduce the use of factory farms and is a more humane alternative to meat you get from most supermarkets or chain restaurants. Butcher-to-table dining also often incorporates the nose-to-tail style of dining which utilizes every piece of the animal’s body, letting none go to waste in an extremely efficient method of dining.
Purple is the new green.
When it comes to ‘colors to look for’ on your plate, 2017’s palette and palate will both be full of purple foods, spanning everything from purple sweet potatoes to purple corn and purple asparagus. This food craze isn’t just happening because consumers enjoy the color purple this year; purple vegetables often tend to be loaded with beneficial nutrients that will help your body run at peak performance. The color purple in vegetables is often indicative of antioxidants and nutrient-dense roughage, and the compounds that give the food its purple hue both sooth inflammation and can help clean up the free radical (read: precancerous) cells in your body. It’s no wonder that health-conscious consumers are loading their bags with anything growing that’s purple.
Throughout the years, superfoods have included everything from blueberries to avocado, and now we can add coconut to that list as we head into 2017. While coconut milk and coconut water have both been popular for a few years now, this fruit-nut-seed power food is no longer bound to the beverage industry. In the coming year, you can expect to start seeing a lot of staple products available in a coconut option, from coconut flours and tortillas to coconut dairy products like ice cream and butter.
Chocolate for breakfast.
If someone would have told you 20 years ago you might someday be eating chocolate for breakfast, you would have laughed them out of town. However, this just might be a possibility for 2017. As more and more evidence is compiled pointing towards the health benefits of dark chocolate and the positive impact it has on your body, it likely will begin to pop up more often in dining establishments. Plus, since dark chocolate benefits the memory, focus, and abstract reasoning portions of your brain, scientists are saying that a great time of day to eat dark chocolate is first thing in the morning with your breakfast to boost your performance all day at work.
While you’ve likely passed by cans of jackfruit in Asian supermarkets or the Asian section of your supermarket, the specimen which you’ve encountered were undoubtedly canned containers of this delicious, otherworldly fruit. Whole, fresh jackfruit are green, round, and covered in small spikes and can weigh in excess of 20 pounds. The ‘meat’ of the fruit is found in fleshy pods and largely resembles cloves of garlic and once they are boiled and then peeled, they have a taste that is comparable to a chestnut and a potato mix.
As people are constantly looking for ways to eat healthier and explore more natural options for everyday meal staples and comfort food indulgences, you can expect to see alternative-grain noodles rising in popularity and becoming more prevalent. You’ll see spaghetti, linguini, tortellini, rigatoni, and any other favorite pasta available in varieties other than refined flour, made of healthy grains and seeds full of vitamins and fiber. Quinoa is one grain gaining popularity, especially for its high protein content which can replace the missing protein in the diet of a vegan or vegetarian. Another grain gaining popularity is Khorasan wheat, or kamut, which is an ancient grain named for a region that is now modern-day Iran. You will also likely see a surge in farro as a pasta and an ingredient, as this ancient grain is full of nutrients. Chia is also gaining popularity, though it is seed rather than a grain, and rice, whole grains, and soybeans will likely start to show up more regularly as well.