It’s that time again — that time where we bid good riddance (or deliver a fond farewell) to the old year and ring in the New Year, in the hopes that this one will be better than our last. We promise this is the year we’ll exercise better, read more, and finally stop eating all that junk food … except on weekends. If eating healthier happens to be one of your New Year’s resolutions, then you are no longer one of the few. Increasingly, people are growing aware of the negative effect eating tons of over-processed food has on our health and are consequently choosing options that do a body good – and the majority of those choices are whole, plant-based foods.
In step with this, we’ve seen rapid growth in the plant-based food space as well as the emerging popularity of cauliflower, jackfruit, and vegetables as entrée mains in 2016. All this points to one conclusion: meat and dairy are going out of style fast. 2016 also saw the emergence of ingredients related to wellness like turmeric, which was highlighted by Forbes and international food and restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman.
As we enter the New Year, we ask ourselves what flavors and ingredients will we be talking about next? We’ve scoured multiple sources across the Web and were able to identify five key trends that are likely to dominate the food world in 2017.
Trend #1: New Global Favorites
According to several sources like international food and restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman, The New York Times, Global Food Forums, global market research firm Mintel, and others, Japanese cuisine (snacks in particular) and turmeric, an ingredient popularized by Indian cuisine, were the favorites of 2016. What global flavors are going to be on our plates in 2017? The New York Times, Forbes, Bloomberg, and others predict that it is going to be all about African, Filipino, and Korean food. While none of these are traditionally vegan or vegetarian-friendly, we have already seen a glimpse of how the flavors of these cuisines will be used in 2017.
Americans have already embraced kimchi and Korean barbecue, but in 2017, get ready to dive deeper into the world of unique flavors and ingredients that Korean cuisine has to offer. Restaurants like Hangawi and LuAnne’s Wild Ginger offer plant-based versions of traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap and japchae, while Franchia and The Cinnamon Snail offer more creative spins on the traditional, like the Mediterranean Bibimbap at Franchia. The Gochujang Burger at The Cinnamon Snail is a seitan (wheat protein) based veggie burger slathered in spicy, fermented Korean chili sauce that’s topped with kimchi and vegan Sriracha mayo.
Bloomberg ties the rising popularity of Filipino food in 2017 to the fact that the Manila, capital city of the Philippines, hosted a major food conference that was attended by many of the world’s elite chefs. Brooklyn food stand Lumpia Shack, which serves primarily lumpia (Filipino spring rolls), offers plant-based snacks seasoned with Filipino flavors on its menu. Diners looking for a restaurant where they can sit down to enjoy a meal can find a few vegetable-based entrées at New York City’s Purple Yam.
Meanwhile, the popularity African food and flavors is just starting to take off. Uproxx recently asked “Is Harissa the Next Sriracha?” , and Telegraph predicts that we may see a rise in the popularity of Syrian food due to the release of Cook For Syria and it’s likely that you’ll soon be learning all about harissa and dukkah.
Trend #2: Smoke It Up, Grill It Up
Another big flavor trend we can expect to see in 2017 is smoked and grilled everything. Telegraph states that “fire pits and grills are popping up faster than you can rub two sticks together” and The New York Times reports that Kevan Vetter, executive chef at McCormick & Company and leader of the team that assembles the annual McCormick flavor forecast, predicts that 2017 will be the year of grilled foods — particularly on a plancha, a cast-iron slab used for grilling. Smoking and grilling is typically a process that most would associate with cooking meat, so how does this translate to the plant-based food sector? According to Mintel, “fundamental preparations, such as fire-grilled or smoked, are growing as Americans explore [African, Korean, and Filipino] cuisines.” As more Americans are choosing to reduce their meat consumption, we can expect to see grilled main course vegetables that have been cooked with the flavors of these rising international stars.
Trend #3: Pickled and Fermented Food
Pickled and fermented foods have been on the radar since 2016 thanks to kimchi and kombucha, but in 2017, it’s going to get even bigger. According to The New York Times, the spike in popularity of pickling and fermenting is the culmination of a broad interest in a number of different trends like gut health, preserving the harvest of fresh produce in the farm-to-table movement, and recent research on the benefits that fermented food has on our gut health. So, what’s different about pickling and fermenting in 2017? To start, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic, and BBC Good Food all highlight food waste and the toll that it takes on our planet as a problem that many individuals are growing concerned about. But, how does that tie into pickling? Baum + Whiteman predicts that we will “be seeing special menus that specifically utilize otherwise wasted vegetable stems and trims … getting plaudits from eco-conscious diners. Chefs will be pickling these things and using them as condiments.” We can also tie this growing interest in pickling and fermented back to the rising global cuisines: while talking about the growing interest in Korean, African, and Filipino cuisines Mintel states that “‘pickled’ and ‘fermented’ are increasing on menus as an ingredient preparation.”
Trend #4: Jackfruit
If you were to look at a jackfruit, you would probably say that it looks kind of like a mulberry on steroids. In India and Southeast Asia, this large, spiny tropical fruit is nothing new; it has been a staple in curries, pulao, candies, and more. But, would you have ever guessed that it would go on to be the next big meat substitute in the world of plant-based food? Beneath its spiky outer shell is a fleshy fruit that, when cooked, easily pulls apart into stringy pieces — kind of like pulled chicken or pork. And get this: it has a fairly neutral flavor and it absorbs the flavors of whatever it’s cooked in. So, it’s no wonder why in 2016, so many vegan and vegetarian bloggers, home cooks, and restaurants started to recreate favorite dishes like pulled “pork” sandwiches. According to The New York Times,Baum + Whiteman, and Global Food Forums jackfruit is going to break out of its niche in 2017, meaning that everyone — vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters — will be using it as a substitute for meat.
Trend #5: Cauliflower
Yes, cauliflower is still going to be a thing in 2017 and no, we’re not tired of it yet. When international food and restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman stated in their food trend forecast for 2014, “kale still rules, but cauliflower’s working forward,” none of us knew just how right their prediction would be. Many of us still thought of this cruciferous vegetable as broccoli’s boring cousin. Now, cauliflower is everywhere and according to Condé Nast Traveler, Bon Apétit, BBC Good Food, Baum + Whiteman, and others it’s not going away anytime soon. Cauliflower has now become so popular that items like cauliflower Buffalo “wings” and cauliflower steaks are no longer something you can find on the menu of just vegan and vegetarian restaurants. For example, New York City-based restaurants The Ribbon, Clinton Hall, and Blue Ribbon Brasserie Brooklyn all offer Buffalo cauliflower wings as an option on their menus that are otherwise heavy on meat, cheese, and seafood. Given the new flavor trends that multiple trend-spotting sources have identified for 2017, we are 100 percent on board with things like piri piri cauliflower, pickled cauliflower, cauliflower kare kare (a Filipino stew), and gochujang cauliflower.
Which of these trends are you looking forward to in 2017? Let us know in the comments below!
Lead image source: Spicy Coconut Milk Cauliflower Steaks