Our Predictions: 2014 Food Trends

Want to know what the next cronut will be? We do too, so we talked to food industry experts and got their takes on what we’ll be tasting in 2014. By: Frances Largeman-Roth

2014 Food Trends

2014 Food Trends

Wondering what's in store for 2014? Look forward to more mash-ups, plant-based protein (and protein in general), homemade gin, and tea-infused desserts. Plus, a few new global ingredients.

Protein-Packed Everything

Photo Courtesty of Cascadian Farm

Protein-Packed Everything

Protein helps you stay full longer, and everyone wants more of this muscle-building nutrient. Expect different protein sources (other than whey and soy) to show up in everything from bars to chips. Earlier this year, Lärabar introduced ALT, an energy bar made with protein from peas. And in January, Cascadian Farm will debut their organic chewy protein bars in two flavors, also made with pea protein.

And now there are ips—intelligent protein snacks—made primarily from yellow corn flour and egg whites. Each 1-ounce serving boasts 7 grams of protein. Plus, they’re gluten-free. Look for more entrants in this category, from bars and cereal to smoothies and soups.

 

Food Combos Galore

Food Combos Galore

2013 gave us the cronut—a remarkably decadent marriage of a croissant and a doughnut—plus the delicious ramen burger and the duffin (a cross between a muffin and a doughnut). The coming year promises more mash-ups, especially in the condiment aisle, from wasabi hummus to Sriracha mayo. We’ll see the fusion of different cuisines, as well as the collision of major trends.

 

Greek Yogurt Goes Savory

Photo Courtesy of Sohha Savory Yogurt

Greek Yogurt Goes Savory

Now that nearly everyone is a Greek yogurt convert, we’re looking for ways to eat it that go beyond fruity. Chobani Soho, the yogurt king’s upscale retail outlet, dishes up yogurt creations including smoked salmon and dill, and mango, avocado, and jalapeño, served with blue corn chips. Sohha Savory Yogurt in Brooklyn produces tantalizing combinations like beets, walnuts, and extra-virgin olive oil, za’atar with olives, and everything bagel (pine nuts, poppy and sesame seeds, garlic, and onion). The coming year will offer up more non sweet yogurt options, including ready-made dips.

Gin Gets the DIY Treatment

Photo Courtesy of The Homemade Gin Kit

Gin Gets the DIY Treatment

This year we saw the explosion of barrel-aged cocktails and myriad beer-making kits. In the coming year you’ll be able to create your own house gin with kits, such as The Homemade Gin Kit, that include juniper berries and proprietary spice blends. And gin in general will take off with gin and tonic bars and restaurants that make their own tonic water and serve a deep selection of the spirit.

Tea Makes a Double Appearance

Photo Courtesy of Teavana

Tea Makes a Double Appearance

Tea has been trending for awhile as a beverage, but we’ll see it jump out of the teapot and onto the plate in 2014. The leaves will find their way into rubs, marinades, and desserts. Starbucks-owned Teavana will open 1,000 stores in North America over the next 10 years, helping Americans embrace tea culture and unfamiliar varieties.

Fast Food Finally Gets Healthy

Photo Courtesy of Sweetgreen/Josh Cogan

Fast Food Finally Gets Healthy

Health-conscious diners have been hungry for non greasy, meat-free options, and they are finally going to get their fill in the year to come. Look for the expansion of Sweetgreen, a Washington-D.C.-based operation that serves salads and wraps, cold-pressed juices, and frozen yogurt. Other healthy regional chains that will expand nationally include Veggie Grill, Chop’t, and Tender Greens. And Chipotle recently began offering braised tofu sofritas.

Heck No GMO

Photo Courtesy of Non-GMO Project

Heck No GMO

While labeling legislation has yet to be approved in any state, look for the GMO issue to reach new levels in 2014. With Whole Foods Market enforcing labeling in their stores by 2018, and consumers demanding increasing transparency from food companies, more brands will be getting behind the effort and joining the Non-GMO Project.

New Tastes from Mexico and Brazil

Photo: Randy Mayor

New Tastes from Mexico and Brazil

Americans have had a love affair with Mexican food for years, but now we’re beginning to explore regional Mexican flavors. Look for chamoy sauce, which is a condiment made from apricot, lime, chiles, and other spices. Spice pastes from the Yucatán called recados will also show up on menus, and tomatillos will make an appearance in savory cocktails. From the coastal Brazilian state of Bahia we’ll see the seasoning blend called tempero baiano, a combination of oregano, parsley, pepper, and cumin. Cassava flour, made from a root, will be used to make gluten-free Brazilian dishes.

Laser-Focused Restaurants

Photo Courtesy of The Meatball Shop

Laser-Focused Restaurants

If you’ve got a good thing, why muck it up with too many options? The success of New York’s The Meatball Shop (now with five locations) has given rise to more single item restaurants, including Pota-topia, which serves only potatoes in a multitude of preparations (definitely not a low-carb option!). There’s even OatMeals, an oatmeal bar that offers savory and sweet toppings to dress up the steel-cut oats. Look out for other single-minded joints serving hummus, Greek yogurt, ice pops, cannoli, and more.

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