So it’s that time of year where all of the people with a vested interest in food put out their predictions of what the potential trends are in food for the upcoming year. There have been a bunch of articles and videos around since the beginning of January so we thought it might be good to try to bring them together and see what we feel is likely to be accurate, who agrees with each other and what the surprises are on these lists.
Nesta (1) has predicted the rise of Smellovision for the smartphone. This has been developed in Japan as a type of friendly alarm clock as the attachment for your phone produces either a bacon or coffee aroma to wake you up in the morning as opposed to the blaring alarm jolting you awake. I still have memories from my childhood of the patch you scratched in a magazine as you were watching Noel’s house party. Every single one of them smelt of something rotten or overly strong allium. Our opinion of this is that it will take a lot of proving and refinement for it to be embraced en masse.
The Return of Fat
Time Magazine (2) over in America had some predictions that we would consider a little more reasonable. The first of these is the rise of natural fats such as butter. This is as a response to the fact that the general public are realising that the trans fats produced by hydrogenation are worse for you than those saturated animal fats and often those saturated fats carry some valuable fat soluble nutrients along with them. This goes hand in hand with the old adage of “fat is flavour” and meat with more fat tastes better without really giving much more in terms of fat intake if you remove the large visible pieces of it. The rest melts into the meat or is left in the pan.
Another interesting thing on the subject of fat is the change to the laws on oil labelling(3). The new law requires companies to specify what the source of the oil is, whether it be palm oil, rapeseed oil ect rather than being able to use the umbrella title of “Vegetable Oil. It will be interesting how companies tackle this change, especially with the negative perception of palm oils.
Their second prediction is that local produce is going to continue its growth. Our thoughts on this are really that it can only grow so much and the next step for this would really be supermarkets taking the lead of adding a location to packaging. This does create some issue as some UK supermarkets have a branded location that tends not to exist such as a farm name or the Lochmuir® salmon from Marks and Spencer’s (4). While there is nothing essentially wrong with this labelling, there was reports a while back that customers find it misleading.
Time also predicts the rise of insects as a food source. This one has slowly bubbled under the surface for a while now and it has been creeping up there but the public are scared of embracing this one. There is a lot of culture and heritage that goes into what we eat and in the developed world, insects haven’t really played a part for quite a long time. Places like the Nordic Food Lab run by the chefs at Noma in Copenhagen have done a lot of work on insects and had some really interesting findings such as the different flavours of ants (5). Even they had a recent bout of drama over trying to share a tasting of insects at a recent conference (6), which does not bode well for any people considering producing insect based foods. There needs to be a lot of work done on the legality and regulations side of things before this can become a major trend. You can read a little about our work on Insects as a food source over at the Food Manufactuer: http://www.foodmanufacture.co.uk/Manufacturing/Bingham-and-Jones-to-launch-ready-meals-with-bugs
The last 3 of their predictions from Time are that people will move away from Sriracha hot sauce and onto Harissa, try millet instead of quinoa and that pea protein will begin to replace some soy proteins. We have no real thoughts on the changing of sauces or protein sources but when it comes to millet, I personally really wasn’t a fan. We would expect one of the more flavourful and nutritious grains to take over from quinoa if it is falling out of favour. We would personally look to spelt or Kamut out of all the ones I have tasted over the past year, these changes are really all about marketing though so I think they could go either way.
On the subject of grains, we believe this could end up being a trend within itself. Some big producers are embracing the movement for those ancient grains like spelt and Kamut. Cherios for example have recently launched a new breakfast cereal using these grains (7). This is a tie in with sustainability and health food as these grains are announced as being healthier due to containing higher vitamin and mineral counts as well as protein. They are also beginning to show up more and more outside of the health food shops where they already had shelf space. Supermarkets seem to be stocking a greater range of these things every time we go in so there is potential. The telegraphs article on the 2015 (8) food trends put Frekeh on the pedestal at the one to watch this year. One that we will question though… whatever happened to Teff? That was meant to be a huge trend but it seems to have gone under the radar somewhat.
In general though we would like to see the rise of a few other trends that have been bubbling under the surface come to fruition such as seaweed, Kokumi, Fermentation and the beginning of products that utilise the crossmodal sensory research (also known as Neurogastronomy). Baum and Whiteman (9) who are restaurant consultants seem to follow my thoughts on some of these potential trends, particularly the seaweed, insects and neurogastronomy. You will be able to read our input on these as potential trends next week when Part 2 of our trends blog is available.