In the world of food trends, today is a forgotten taste. The truly smart need to know what’s coming up as the flavour of tomorrow
Every year, thousands of food brands head to New York to show off their wares and entice buyers from grocery stores to stock their products. It’s a trade show titled the Fancy Foods Show, and it’s one of the best places to catch trends before they hit grocery store shelves. New products make their debuts there, and months later, they appear on the shelves of your local market and food stores.
1) Ah, Ayurvedic
Ayurveda is the Indian practice of holistic medicine in which certain foods and herbs are eaten together to balance a person’s health and to benefit digestion, immunity and more. While many Indian foods are Ayurvedic, speciality brands are now expressly branding their products with the term. While many around the world follow its principles in food combining, the US has decided to go all out with the marketing of Ayurveda. So what can you expect?
Packaged cups of kitchari, an Indian staple of rice and lentils stew, now with the boast of ‘healing spices’, in three flavours.
Traditional Indian herbal jams, pickles and pastes, from “home recipes evolved from Indian Ayurvedic healing traditions.”
One organics company has introduced a line of Ayurvedic teas, each with a specific function: weight loss, sleep, digestion, decongestion and general detoxification.
The “Ashwagandhabar,” an energy bar that the company says reduces stress, anxiety and depression. Ashwagandha is considered a powerful healing herb in Ayurveda and makes its appearance in a protein shake.
And bags of air-popped water lily seeds, “one of the most popular seeds in Ayurveda” according to an expert. They’re similar to popcorn or puffed rice.
2) Canned fish salads. Yes, you heard that right
“Canned fish salad” is not a very salivating phrase, but bear with it. This is a high-quality fish with vegetables, herbs and spices, and if you pair a tin of it with a crusty roll, you’ll have a perfectly good meal. Sardines have been getting trendier, and the kits come with a spoon and crackers.
This company called Fresh has four flavours of tinned tuna salad, all packed full of veggies in an attractively designed can. Its fish salads are made in Portugal, which is where some of the best tinned seafood in the world originates.
3) Spicy drinking vinegars
Maybe you haven’t yet realised that drinking vinegar is A Thing or even why drinking vinegar is A Thing.
Drinking a small daily quantity of straight-up apple cider vinegar became trendy in the past three years because foodie health blogs promoted it as a detoxifying weight-loss cure-all. The science on that is pretty murky, but plenty of brands have jumped into the market. Plain apple cider vinegar is, for most people, unpleasant to drink – throat burn! – so many versions of the drink sweeten it with maple syrup or juice to make it more palatable – such as a blueberry hibiscus version of the drink, or a sparkling fruit soda.
There’s more. Fire Brew, based in Portland, Oregon, has a line of “health tonics.” Fire Cider has an extra-spicy take on the drink. A little goes a long way.
4) Chocolate ghee, anyone?
Ghee, or clarified butter, is another staple of Indian cooking, but it’s been having a moment of late – thanks, in part, to its purported health benefits, and also because the fat is promoted for adherents of the paleo and ketogenic diets. Plain ghee is versatile, but now, special flavoured ghees are popping up. Garlic and vanilla maple chai flavoured ghee anyone?
There’s also the ghee-nut butters. A line of chocolate ghee spreads. Turmeric and garlic ghee, as well as a ghee that contains medium chain triglyceride oil that is intended to be stirred into coffee (it’s a paleo thing).
5) Quinoa and quirk
It’s not just in salads. It’s in your breakfast, your chocolate, your mac and cheese. You cannot escape quinoa. Do not resist. Have it for breakfast as instant quinoa cereal. One company is also putting quinoa in mac and cheese, er, “maq and cheese.” Then there are the quinoa trail mix-inspired bars. Quinoa pairs with agave and sesame, crispy quinoa-filled versions of M&Ms and Reese’s peanut butter cups and chocolate-covered quinoa snacks.
6) Moringa goes mainstream:
Mankind’s quest to discover new superfoods continues apace. Next up: moringa, an ancient plant that has long been used in Asia and Africa for its reputed health benefits. According to Healthline, it is rich in nutrients and antioxidants, and it may reduce inflammation. So it’s no surprise that it’s popping up in products. Powdered moringa smoothie mix, energy shots and moringa superfood bars, with a half-cup of greens in each bar. A new organic roasted moringa mint tea.
If you would rather crunch your moringa like cheese puffs, there are even snackable puffed moringa bites.
7) Cauliflower gets convenient
Cooking with this trendy brassica has never been easier, thanks to new convenience products that go beyond your basic cauliflower rice.
Caulipower has a cauliflower-based baking mix, in regular and paleo-friendly, cauliflower flour, cauliflower cups intended to be a quick convenience meal in three globally inspired flavours. Cauliflower fried rice in the frozen aisle.
And there’s cauliflower in chocolate ice cream – yes, ice cream. Don’t worry, it tastes like chocolate ice cream.
8) Cucumber is cool
Sometimes flavours go in or out of fashion for reasons that are hard to explain. Why was watermelon so big last year? Why is cucumber suddenly everywhere this year?
Anyway, you’ll be drinking a lot of cucumber soon, especially in sparkling beverages: Cucumber-and-mint lemonade, and cucumber mint sparkling water. Cucumber jalapeno juice, and cucumber syrup.
A new jalapeno-kiwi-cucumber kombucha, and cans of cucumber soda. You could try cucumber mint agua fresca, or probiotic water in cucumber melon. Pretend you are in a spa. That’s where people drink cucumber.
9) Water weirdness:
You’re still drinking coconut water? What is this, 2015? Birch water is so last year. Don’t even talk about aloe water. We obviously need new waters, so let’s dive right in: There’s Bee’s Water, a honey-sweetened water that is “full of natural energy.” Then there’s Sap on Tap, a maple water whose motto goes for the jugular: “Out with coconut water. In with maple tree water.”
The aforementioned GoLive is a “live probiotic water,” and it’s interactive: Press a compartment on the cap and release the live probiotics into the water, shake it and enjoy your ensuing gut health.
But wait, here comes the mic drop of waters: organic water.
Do you even know what you’ve been missing? A company named Asarasi makes sparkling water that is harvested as a byproduct from maple sap, and because it is filtered through the tree, it has achieved USDA organic certification, something that regular water does not have (water is an inorganic compound). It tastes like sparkling water.
The Washington Post