Every year, new fads sweep through and change America’s food culture, transforming plates across America as though everyone were ordering from the same giant menu. Previous years have brought underused and healthy foods into the limelight, like kale and quinoa, while trends such as the move toward local ingredients and environmentally friendly practices have fundamentally altered the restaurant and grocery landscape. Experts have long been trying to predict where the market will go, and for 2015, a few industry leaders have weighed in with their research on the next big things in food.
The Sterling-Rice Group (SRG), a consultancy focused on various food industries, has identified numerous foods and trends that they expect will sweep the marketplace. Some of these seem obvious; the company expects that global cuisine and sustainable practices will continue to spread across America, as it seems they have every year. Others, however, are more surprising. SRG predicts, for example, that “true” Asian food will begin supplanting the Americanized fare many have grown accustomed to. They also believe that coconut sugar, Japanese powdered matcha, and hop-free beer will grow in popularity, and that different flavors of newly legalized cannabis will soon be highly desired.
Meanwhile, the National Restaurant Association has published its “What’s Hot in 2015” Culinary Forecast to help restauranteurs capitalize on upcoming trends. As in 2014, the top spots on the association’s list are occupied by already-established trends, including the move toward more local, sustainable, and healthy foods. However, other trends have begun moving up the list, including artisanal cheesemakers and butcheries; ancient grains, such as spelt and amaranth; house-made ice cream; and so-called “hyperlocal” ingredients, such as those grown in restaurant gardens on-site. Meanwhile, the report also outlined foods trends that are on their way out, so those who love gazpacho, the foams and froths of molecular gastronomy, or bacon-flavored anything should try to sample these flavors before they’re washed away by a new set of trends.