10 Food Trends that will Never Die
Creative chefs in small communities in the Deep South have hit upon an unlikely combination: Kool-Aid pickles. Commonly sold out of homes to hungry children, Kool-Aid pickles are exactly what they sound like: Dill pickles cured in Kool-Aid (usually red, but other colors aren’t unheard of). It’s not as bad as it sounds; the sour tartness of the pickle nicely contrasts the sweetness of the sugary drink.
Even so, Kool-Aid pickles are a food trend that probably won’t make it out of the south (where pickle juice holds a revered status). Here are a few food trends that are probably here to stay.
Spicy Foods. As food trends go, this is one that’s been building for years. Many food trends arise as ethnic groups’ populations rise and “foreign” foods become more popular. With the increase in the availability of cuisines like Thai and Indian food, we’re likely to see more curry, cumin and chili pastes. As these foods rise in popularity, elements of dishes like pad thai and tikka masala will show up in fusion cuisines, further inuring the American palate to spiciness. And as processed foods become more and more bland, those of us with more adventurous tastes will seek out more diverse flavors, fueling the demand for spice.
Organic Foods. High quality foods may be hard for many people to come by, causing obesity and poor health to rise. But the search for healthy, wholesome edibles never ends, which makes the rise in organic foods more than just a food trend. As information about the origins of food becomes more widely available, and the dangers of pesticides, antibiotics and genetically engineered foods more widely known, consumers will want more opportunities to buy food that’s grown simply and safely.
Superfoods. It’s convenient when you’re able to get plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in one simple serving. Foods like broccoli, carrots, mixed berries, nuts, seeds and raw chocolate provide benefits beyond those of common foods. They’re also versatile and tasty. Food trends with staying power tend to be food trends that multitask – in this case, the overwhelming health benefits combine with great flavor and ubiquity to ensure that superfoods are here to stay.
Vegitarianism and “Flexitarianism.” Nutritionists and public health mavens have been advocating a primarily vegetarian diet for years, and it seems the public is finally starting to listen. A recent CNN article credits the American Dietetic Association with the claim that a quarter of Americans follow a “flexitarian” diet – meaning meatless meals at least four days a week. Food trends in the earlier half of the Twentieth Century favored meat with every meal; these days, food trends tend toward good digestive and cardiovascular health, which means more plants.
Comfort Food vs. Haute Cuisine. Not all food trends are about good health; many are about taking things we love and reinterpreting them in a new way – like the deep-fried Twinkie. Invented by chefs at the ChipShop restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, the deep-fried Twinkie became the flagship of new comfort food: Familiar, but with a twist. Count on food trends like this – new interpretations of classics – to repeat themselves as new classics are born.
Garlic. Ever hear of The Stinking Rose? It’s a California restaurant (one in San Francisco, one in LA) specializing in garlic dishes. And let’s be clear about it: The San Francisco location alone serves more than 3,000 pounds of garlic each month. Food trends like this don’t just crop up and fade away. The Stinking Rose is a California Institution.
Pizza. Also, Chocolate Chip Cookies. A new restaurant in Brooklyn, serves only one two things: Margherita pizza and chocolate chip cookies. There’s no takeout, no slices and no delivery. The owner, Jim McGowan, knows the rules: You can put whatever you want on pizza, but nothing will ever be the same as tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil and basil. Food trends, schmood trends.
Burgers. Order a hamburger at any restaurant, and your waiter might give you a funny look. That’s because burgers have come a long way since their invention in the 1880s – today, we’ve got concoctions like curried lamb burgers with mint raita, Asian pork and mushroom burger wraps, and grilled Portobello burgers with piquillo pepper aioli and watercress. But it’s all still the same: Bread, burger, cheese, condiments. Food trends may seem to change, but the core always remains the same.
Breakfast. The most unpleasant reality of 20th Century American law has nothing to do with speed limits or stem cells. No, the modern world’s most reviled law is McDonald’s “no Egg McMuffins after 10:30 a.m.” rule. People love breakfast – it’s a perfectly good excuse to eat bacon. Wouldn’t the burger giant make millions more if they served McMuffins well into the evenings – particularly now that many of its restaurants are open 24 hours? Jack In The Box, one of the golden arches’ main competitors, recently introduced all-day breakfasts – to broad appeal and increased sales. As food trends go, breakfast never goes out of style.
Global Cuisine. When you find Indian and Thai restaurants in the mountain regions of Appalachia, you know people’s tastes are broadening. And in big cities like Los Angeles, Philly and Chicago, it’s possible to find just about any kind of cuisine you want, from Ethiopian to Armenian to Hungarian to Salvadoran. Sometimes finding new food trends is simply a matter of trying something that’s been there all along.BACK TO ALL POSTS