Happy New Year! Welcome to 2019!
With a new year we look to the future with much anticipation. Many wonder “What’s next?”. We eagerly await what is new, what is going to be popular, and what will create an impact and influence our lives and others around the world. Great topics for discussion are food trends!
I’ve gone through several articles and reports and compiled what appear to be the major trends in 2019, giving you an idea of what how our food landscape is expected to evolve.
Food alternatives are a big theme, including meat and dairy alternatives. Many are choosing alternatives to align with a special diet, to avoid a food component, such as lactose in dairy, or to adhere to personal choices based on values, beliefs or customs (especially for sustainability and environmental concern reasons). Attention and accommodation for special diets expanded in recent years and will continue to do so. Alternative milks in particular are predicted to be one area of growth. Almond and soy are the familiar alternative milks but others, like oat milk, are predicted to gain attention. Options to meat could be a completely different food, such as beans and legumes. Work being done on “motherless meat” products, which are made to resemble meat products in taste, texture and appearance.
Edible Cannabis Prducts
In 2018, Canada saw the legalization of cannabis, and by natural extension cannabis-based edibles will be a next step and an area of growth in the food industry. More legislation is required before this is possible but it is a hot topic and one of the most cited expected trends by far.
Environmentally conscious and responsible choices strongly influence many of the 2019 food the trends. While “going green” was the trend over many previous years “shifting to sustainability” will be the mantra of the future. Companies are going to be looking at new ways to package and present products with a focus on reducing their environmental impact. This will make the consumer feel better about purchasing and supporting the products.
Tahini in Deserts and Non-Dairy Frozen Deserts
Certain foods always take the spotlight from year to year (kale, quinoa and cauliflower to name a few!). In 2019 Tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, is getting ready to take centre stage. It is smooth and creamy and is added to many middle eastern dishes, like hummus, to provide a creamy texture. In 2019 Tahini is taking it’s turn in other dishes, specifically deserts and frozen deserts. It will be used in ways similar to peanut butter. It makes a good alternative to peanut butter because it has the consistency and enough similarity to be used like nut butter but it is not a nut and therefore can be used with less concern about allergies. Look for tahini in ice cream and with chocolate! Along these lines, frozen deserts in general are predicted to see a makeover. Rather than using dairy watch for non-dairy ice cream made with avocado as well as tahini. These alternatives provide the creamy texture but do so with healthier fats so that when you do indulge in a frozen desert you can feel more virtuous in your decision because the ingredients are more nutrient dense.
Up-cycled or “Ugly” Fruits
In the past, many grocery stores and supermarkets would reject any produce that was bruised or damaged. This has resulted in tremendous food waste of much good and nutritious food. The food discarded has the same nutrients as their esthetically pleasing counterparts so there is no reason that this good food should be going to waste. As consumers realize the ridiculousness of this and with the support of food providers leading by example, “ugly” fruits and vegetables are gaining acceptance and going into shopping carts to be used – rather than in the garbage. Food waste is a terrible loss and more prevalent than many of us realize. Sustainability again is the underlying theme to this trend as food waste not only costs dollars but also costs the environment.
Going green has been a trend, not just in the context of the environment but with respect to discovering and incorporating green foods into mainstream dining. Kale is an old timer by now. It was a great first step for getting people to choose greens but now it is thought that we are ready for some more exotic choices in greens. Watch out for water lily seeds, seaweed, kelp and algae being promoted in 2019.
Eating for a healthy gut is still going to be a focus in 2019. This feeds into the probiotics industry and the creation of more products to help people achieve a healthy gut microbiome for optimal health and vitality. Producers are going to be devising ways to make it easier for consumers to access probiotics. As mentioned in an earlier trend, many are veering away from dairy, and traditionally dairy has been how probiotics have been consumed. It has also been important to keep probiotics refrigerated, which can be inconvenient for anyone who is busy and on the run. As a result, look for more options in shelf-stable products in the new year, and the incorporation of probiotics into non-refrigerated and non-dairy items such as cereals, nutritional bars and soups.
Technological advancements always trickle into other industries and the food industry is no exception. Robots delivering room service or operating coffee stalls could become a regular sight. Using technology and automation could make food preparation time efficient which is of benefit to an ever more time-pressed society. However, there is understandable concern for those who work in the food industry regarding how this will affect operations and even job security.
Snacks and snacking keep hovering in and out of the spotlight a topic loaded with mixed feelings and opinions. Popular diets have supported grazing strategies. In 2019, snacking is going to get an upgrade with fancier offerings and more wholesome choices. Chacutterrie, as an example, came to the forefront in 2018 as did the idea of making snacking into a definitive occasion and something to get excited about. Especially for those with active and busy lifestyles (most of us!) snacking offers a practical solution to keep up with good nutrition while on the go. With proper planning and offerings of more substantial snacks that are nutrient dense as well as snacks with benefits (i.e. the incorporation of “super foods” into snacks) this is going to be an interesting trend to watch in 2019.
Transparency is gaining importance and is a force shaping the world. With more openness and forms of communication increasing, members in society take an interest in what goes on around them, there is a heightened concern for social as well as environmental issues. Consumer interest in the story behind their food is growing. Companies will feel more pressure to share information on company culture and best practices in order to win customer respect and brand loyalty.
Although it’s impossible to identify with absolute certainty what the next food craze is going to be, it’s fun and useful to engage in speculation. Individual preferences and world events can totally morph any prediction and there is a great deal of variation in opinion. The data gathered here presents the most commonly overlapping themes, but there are many other opinions on taste and cuisines which you can explore further.
What looking to and following trends does for us is help us connect with a global consciousness and awareness. It provides a tool for connection and a factor in uniting common interest. We need to take an interest in world trends and events, especially in areas as important as our food system. Awareness is a key step on the way to change on a personal as well as global level. If you are working in the industry, studying trends and help you find ways to stand out, get ahead and more likely be in the lead of what’s next.
As consumers, you must remember that despite being a trend and popular do you actually need to follow it? Does it truly align with your personal beliefs and values?
One thing is certain though, as consumers we have a choice. Our choices and our voices will shape and empower our food environment and options in 2019 and beyond.