Food Trends for 2016

by Doc-G on December 29, 2015

Texas Slider Portrait Foodologist

It comes to the end of another year in food and we look towards what food trends we will be seeing in 2016. These predictions are based on my own observations of the food industry over the past year and are intended as a light hearted way to look at what may be coming up in food over the next 12 months.

1. Food Waste. – We currently waste approximately 32% of all food produced globally. As we face increasing challenges to our climate and other challenges such as war, famine etc, we will have to come up with a myriad of solutions of ensure a viable food supply for an ever increasing global population.

2. Ugly Vegetables. – In keeping with the Food Waste theme, perfectly good produce which was previously rejected on aesthetic grounds will be increasingly popular as part of sustainable sourcing policies designed to shore up our future food supply. Local chains such as Woolworths have started selling this produce.

3. Vegetables Full Stop. – Whilst Ugly Veg will be on the rise, Veg as a whole in ‘IN’. Whilst meat is certainly not out, some pundits are predicting smaller meat serving sizes and increases in the portions of vegetables (isn’t this kind of part of the balanced diet anyway? ‘see 7 below’).

4. ‘Miniature’ and ‘Party Foods’. – We’ve been living with ‘Party Pies and Pasties’ for awhile now but the miniaturisation of all manner of foods will continue. Examples currently seen are ‘Mini-Burgers’ or ‘Sliders’, mini Lobster rolls which give diners the opportunity to try different flavours and tastes whilst dining out or at home.

5. BBQ. – BBQ’s have been ubiquitous in Australia for decades and in recent times, American style BBQ has become quite trendy with every corner shop and even supermarkets now selling ‘pulled Pork’ and ‘pulled Beef’. But there are many types of BBQ globally that are relatively less well known. We will start to see a proliferation of these less well known styles such as Brazilian Churrasco, Jamaican Jerk and South African Braai.

6. Fermented Foods. – Everyone loves pickle and people love to joke about Sauerkraut but pickled foods are going to see a renaissance as they cater issues surrounding food waste by utilising leftover food as well as provide a host of health benefits to those who enjoy them.

7. Rational thinking and Health Food. – Whilst the health aspects of good food are not in dispute, we are constantly obsessed with what we can and can’t eat. It bombards our eyes and ears on TV, radio and the internet. Various fad diets, often based on no scientific basis are pushed as ‘the next new thing in nutritional science’ whilst registered dieticians sigh in the background, thinking, ‘here we go again!’. What is interesting is that you don’t see this in countries which strong indigenous food cultures where people are happy to eat their own foods. I predict that rational thinking will start to prevail and the balanced diet will once again become popular. We will be eating globally in terms of cuisine but the ingredients will be simple, of high quality and of decent nutritional value but we will stop our obsession with banning of specific foods and instead going for balance.

8. Craft Beer. – This trend seems to keep growing and growing and I see a continuation of this well into 2016. Some of these beers are ‘imperfect’ when compared to the smooth ‘ubiquitous’ flavours coming out of some of the the worlds biggest brands but they are producing some unique and interesting flavours which provide a great alternative to the bigger brands and also enable you to support a local small business. The current hype for IPA however may be over with other varieties of beer taking the lead.

9. Hawaiian Cuisine. – I hear it again and again and again. Hawaiian cuisine is in and who could blame it? Hawaii is known for its genuine culinary fusion which has created a number of unique dishes as a result of its mix of its own indigenous food (Polynesion island) as well as those cultures who have moved there such as European, American and Asian (in particular Japanese). Interestingly they also have a passion for Spam and have even created a variation of sushi incorporating Spam called ‘Spam Musubi’.

10. Peruvian Cuisine. – This one is little bit of a slow boiler but having spoken to a number of industry insiders and purveyors of various ingredients within the food industry, I keep hearing that Peruvian food is secretly on the rise. Freshly cured fish such as Ceviche is already pretty popular and in Peru. In Peru, Guinea Pig is also on the menu but I suspect it will take awhile before it takes on anywhere else if ever. The flavour profiles however may become a hit globally. Watch this space!

11. Kale is Dead! – (said somewhat jokingly!). Kale has enjoyed a resurgence in the last few years as a super-food making into into all manner of foods such as ‘Kale Chips’, ‘Kale Smoothies’ and whatever other trendy food that is perceived to become ‘healthy’ via its addition. I have never every understood it and agree with comedian Jim Gaffigan who says it ‘tastes like bug spray’.

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