Gourmet Food Trends 2019
So what’s the forecast? Well, it looks like we’ll be eating more things from labs, but also ancient traditional foods from far-off lands. The plant-base wave, upcycled foods, and cannabis-infused products will continue their trajectory. We will also eventually have the choice of whether we get those foods at the store, delivered to us in meal kits, pick them up in a fast-casual restaurant, or have them served to us by robots. Oh, maybe this is the future we once imagined.
Palates shift to regional cuisines of Africa, South Asia, and Latin America
Much has been said about younger generations’ unprecedented exposure to global culture and cuisine from a young age. These consumers are adventurous and seek experience in their travel and in their food, which has led to a shift in interest to the regional fare of less-explored areas. Flavors and indigenous African foods from all over the continent are gaining a following including fonio (West); Nitter kbeh (East); ras el hanout (North); and biltong (South). New regional South Asian cuisines are emerging and Ayurvedic products—primarily whole or minimally processed foods—are on the radar. Savory-sweet bites in the street-snack tradition of these countries will become more popular. Expect to see new menus and packaged foods touting the regional flavors and ingredients of Mexico and Central and South America, from heritage corn tortillas to the advent of mezcal as a spirit and an ingredient.
Insects On The Menu
We are definitely looking for new sources of protein. Insects appear more and more as a sensible choice on many levels. Low in fat, they exist in large quantities and can be found everywhere. Already in Mexico for example, chefs emeritus cook with insects little culinary delights. New on our shelves here: insect powders to enhance your cocktails or dishes. A first insect farm was even established in Frelighsburg. Their products will soon flood the shelves of our grocery stores and the shelves of the chefs of our restaurants.
Cannabis across multiple categories
As marijuana laws continue to loosen, more and more food manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon. Many are making CBD-infused beer, coffee, and snacks, which are sort of legal everywhere. In places where recreationally legal, THC is also getting into commercially produced drinks and edibles beyond the dispensary. New products are rapidly hitting the market, many with high-end beautiful packaging and savvy marketing. Look for more infused cooking oils, coffees, teas, chocolates, baked goods, snacks, and even beer and pasta to hit the market in the coming year as well as more cannabis cuisine menus and cocktails at food service.
Fermented Foods Hotter Than Ever!
We had already begun to take interest in previous years, but this year it will be the apotheosis! Different brands of kombucha will be marketed, and each market or restaurant will have its own fermented foods. As an example, we will see more kimchi, pickles, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir, but also carrots and cream, and many other foods fermented, cooked and offered to customers. The idea is to consume the least processed food possible and increase its probiotics to improve its immune system.
We all scream for ice cream and now this traditional favorite has been rethought in function and flavor. Its reinvention started with dairy-free varieties made with coconut, almond, or soy milk. Then Halo Top entered the scene with its high-protein, low-calorie product that others are emulating. Now makers are blurring the lines between treat and healthier snack even further with some blending vegetables like cauliflower and carrots into ice creams. But it’s not all about health – boutique local creameries like Ample Hills and Graeter’s, known for local, hand-crafted, and indulgent ice creams are expanding nationally. And on the flavor front, global and floral notes like black sesame and jasmine are adding an exotic touch. Look for innovations to continue to drive the category, including advances in the non-dairy segments. For example, a dairy-free ice cream made from persimmon pulp is about to launch in New Zealand.
The trend is definitely to reduce meat consumption for better health. We do not completely eliminate the meat, but we try to find other sources of proteins that go more to the vegetable and vary at the same time menus. Protein options are multiplying on the market and their taste is improving. We think of products that are easily eaten in burgers, in sauce, but also in stir-fries.
Cited as emerging by last year’s Trendspotter panel, collagen is a full-fledged trend in 2019 and part of a bigger move to develop products that promote skin health and appearance. Collagen is being infused into beverages, snack bars, and even wraps to help replace diminishing levels as consumers age. And now more food products containing argan and almond oils are coming to market. Both oils are high in omega fatty acids and vitamin E which can help hydrate skin, restore elasticity, and reduce the visibility of wrinkles. Traditionally used topically, more cooking oils or products like almond butter made with argan oil are hitting shelves.
Did you know that crunchy or “loud” foods make nearby guests hungrier? It’s true! You may be asking yourself, then, “What does that have to do with 2019 trends?” Two words: potato chips. Stripped-down menus centering on classic comfort foods will morph in 2019 slightly to encompass some of our favorite junk foods, but elevated slightly. From crunchy kettle chips topped with caviar to buckets of
classic, buttery popcorn for a movie screening, incorporating “loud” foods is a sensory upgrade to any program. Guests will leave your event saying, “It was love at first…crunch!”
Our sense of smell is closely tied to memories, which is why aromatics naturally alter moods. Floral scents especially are going to start showing up in everything from cocktails to food and in fragrances like chamomile, hibiscus, rosemary and more. Whether its salmon dishes that use lavender balsamic reductions to rose-infused lattes, 2019 welcomes these fresh scents as an integral part of the guest experience.
Have you heard the new four rules to dining? Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Simply put, these four elements should be incorporated into every dish. Our palates are designed to enjoy the interplay of these competing yet complementary flavor profiles and catering menus are taking notice of this wildly popular approach to cooking. We recommend playing with flavors here. A poblano and mango fruit
salad, miso deviled eggs, or a classic margarita with a chili-coated rim.
Iv’e saved the best for last. The feel of your foods might be the most fun you have with menu planning. With menus crossing cultural lines, drinks like bubble tea (tapioca pearls at the bottom of a sweetened
drink) or a raw oyster bar may add a bit of fun to each bit, sip, or snack. Thinking outside the box with hors d’oeuvre may be easier than you think. In 2019, we see Jell-o cubes of champagne, boozy gummy bears, and even a throwback to dehydrated ice cream that melts in your mouth…not in your hands.
Specialty drink toppers – use freshly made cotton candy and add a puff on top of champagne or any specialty drink that needs a sweet touch.
Five senses and a world of possibilities for your next culinary menu – centering around the guest experience in the Instagram age. What trends do you see happening this year? And, how are you incorporating the five senses in your menu planning? I would love to hear from you in the