Food Trends of 2019

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.

Alternatives Ingredients

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.

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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.

Eco-conscious Packaging

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.

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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.

New Greens

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.

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Shelf-Stable Probiotics

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.

Automation

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.

Stepping-up Snacking

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

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.

 

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Uncovering the History and Mysteries of Pumpkin Pie Spice

It seems like everyone can’t get enough of Pumpkin Pie Spice. Pumpkin pie is a favourite fall desert but its signature spice has permeated into all other sorts of products like lattes, cakes, muffins and scones to name a few. It may appear a modern fanaticism but it is truly rooted in a history and in mysteries that go back centuries.

Spices have always been very important. Originally from India and the Orient, they have an infamous reputation for being exotic and valuable. There have been wars and obsessions over spices for centuries. In fact it was because of the war over spices, which was a reason for the search for better routes to the East, that the Europeans originally discovered North America, without which there would be no Pumpkin Pie Spice.

Pumpkin pie spice (or just Pumpkin Spice as it seems to be more commonly called now) is a signature American spice blend. There is no set discovery of the first mixing of Pumpkin Spice. That is destined to be a mystery hidden in the sands of time. However, it is known that this spice blend has its heritage with the pilgrims. We say it is a mixture of “warming” spices. Pumpkin is a food found the New World. So the creation of is an example of the interaction of Old World meets New World.

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What makes this signature spice blend? The spices in pumpkin pie spice are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice. Cinnamon will always be featured in the greatest amount and quite a lot more than the other spices. Next, ginger and nutmeg are featured in second highest amounts with cloves and allspice being featured in the lowest amount. This is because cloves and allspice are fairly strong and pungent spices and will not be as pleasing in large amounts as cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg. The precise amounts of spices may vary but the proportions in relation to one another of the other spices will remain similar.

You can buy the spice already premixed or you can by individual spices to create and customize your own special blend.  Spices should be stored in air-tight containers in a cool, dry dark place for up to 6 months.

Here’s a quick recipe for Pumpkin Spice. Simply mix all the ingredients together.

  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp allspice

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Not only does this spice mix add flavour to your cooking and baking but they also provide hidden benefits to your health. Spices add flavour which reduces the need for extra sugar, salt and fat to recipes helping you to cook and eat healthier. There is some research into the antioxidant activity of spices which contributes to keeping us healthy by reducing free-radical damage to our bodies – protecting our cells and reducing the risk for many diseases.

The Science of Saying Grace

Thanksgiving may have come and gone but don’t stop being grateful just yet! Saying grace or giving thanks for food is a centuries old tradition. It is one of the oldest and most universal human behaviours and is still in existence today. The word “grace” comes from the Latin word “grātia” meaning “favor” or “kindness” and in our context it is a short prayer said before or after a meal. Long ago food was more scare and harder to grow without modern technology so having food was seen as a kindness from the gods and/or the universe. Many religions have special prayers they will say before an everyday meal or for specific ceremonies that involve food but although the religion connections exist, you don’t need to follow any specific religion to recognize and be thankful for your food. In fact saying grace and showing appreciation for our food is showing to be beneficial on many levels for physiological and psychological health and well-being.

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On one level, saying grace is your chance to recognize and honour who got you your food, how you got your food and how fortunate you are to have the food you are about to eat. If it were not for many people and circumstances the food you are about to eat would still be out there – on a tree or in the ground.

Moreover, only a few words before eating will slow you down while giving you a moment to appreciate your food which makes the meal more enjoyable and promotes a more harmonious relationship with food. Eating more slowly is better than shoveling down your food and cleaning off your plate in 10 minutes flat because a measured pace assists the digestive processes of your body while improving satiety and helping you eat less. Being distracted and hurried eating can lead to over eating. Eating more slowly gives your body and brain the time it needs to recognize that you have eaten all your body needs.

Thousands of years ago one meal could make the difference between life and death. There was a lot more uncertainty about food safety and availability. Our circumstances have drastically evolved since then but there is always and time and place for saying grace and being thankful for our food.

If you’re looking for something to say check out these 11 Beautiful Ways To Say Grace for some inspiration.

 

The Story Behind the Slice – Do You Know Where Your Loaf of Bread Came From?

There is nothing quite like the smell of freshly baking bread. The moment I say this you know what I mean. It casts a spell, stimulates the senses, lifts the spirit and has an overall incomparable effect on the human psyche.

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Bread is one of the principal and most important sources of nutrition ever known to human beings. It has been with us since the beginning and, in many ways, it was a spark for the growth of all civilization. There is much more that lies behind the bread you contemplate at the bakery; that you slice and toast for breakfast; that you pack or pick-up for lunch; or even the ordinary dinner roll. Where did it come from? How did it all come to this? Questions that lead to a fascinating story.

The domestication and cultivation of grains like wheat caused our nomadic ancestors to become stationary. This was a revolutionary lifestyle change. The discovery of bread making closely followed. Non-leavened flat breads (think of Indian naan or chapattis, Middle Eastern pitas, Mexican tortillas) were the first types of bread, produced by mixing flours with water to make a paste and then heating this to bake bread. This method made food more compact, easier to store and transport, and last longer. But bread making did not stop there.

The first recorded leavened bread (what you see now when you visualize bread) is traced back to ancient Egypt around 3000 BC. It was the discovery of yeast, also used for making beer, changed the course and preparation of bread forever. Apparently, the discovery of leavened bread was accidental, occurring when an air-born yeast randomly landed on some unbaked bread, thereupon reacting and catalyzing a transformation in the process of bread making. Yeast produces carbon dioxide gas which is what gives bread it’s puffiness. From there leavened bread became the new norm and popular throughout the globe.

Bread has maintained a singularly important role in history, culture and religion. Bread symbolizes prosperity. The bread riots of the French Revolution are infamous. For Christianity the reference to bread is common throughout the bible. In Judaism, the gorgeous braided Challah featured as part of the Sabbath and important holidays. Even in popular culture “bread” or “dough” is synonymous with “money” – again symbolizing abundance and prosperity.

Over the years, the simple loaf of bread has seen many developments and transformations but it has remained integral to survival. The processes of refining flour have been an ongoing mission since the beginning. White flour naturally requires more effort in processing and refining and it was considered a status symbol: whiter, finer breads for the higher classes and darker, denser and more coarse breads for the lower classes. Nowadays, it’s interesting to note how the mindset has shifted to the reverse with current nutrition knowledge promoting the importance of whole grains for their higher vitamin and mineral content.

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Considering where it has come from and where it is at today, it will be interesting to see what lies ahead in the story of bread. Unfortunately, the question always arises – have we gone too far? The addition of preservatives, high amounts of sugar and over-processing is stripping bread of the simplicity with which it started and the nutritional advantages with which it served our ancestors. In Canada from 2006 – 2011 there was limited or stagnant grown and some decline in certain sections and specific bread products. Nevertheless, innovation has always been an important hallmark in the history of bread. Already we have seen the diversification of special products and flours made from grains other than wheat, owing to the massive dietary shift to go gluten-free. Artisan breads are seeing a comeback, and they are more similar to what our ancestors would recognize as bread.

One thing is certain, awareness is of first and foremost importance. Realizing how the decisions we make affect our health and the power we have to make decisions for our own health and well being and champion change for ourselves, our families and our food systems.