An Insider’s Prediction On The Food and Drink Trends for 2016
2015 was the year of the new foodie-lover. Able to wrap your lips around all sorts of exciting tastes from Kimchi tacos to gyoza to caramalised cauliflower (it’s not burnt, it’s caramalised), pickled vegetables and more. It was definitely a case of sharing the foodie love with the masses. No longer do restaurant patrons have to stick with boring old pasta, meat or vegetarian dishes, or a curry if you like it spicy. Many peoples tastebuds are becoming daring and more inclined to try something new. Foodie experiences are now a real focal point for what people choose to do in their spare time. And it’s not just any old food. Going down the pub is no longer the norm for many instead you’ll find them meeting first at street markets, local farmers markets or the latest food and drink pairing menu in town. The trends for 2015 saw us tucking into an array of Asian cuisines, craft beers, street food and clean-eating. So what are the trends for 2016? I think they will see us not so much continuing on with our travels thru Asia but travelling back in time as we rediscover and reinvent our foodie heritage.
Asian cuisine has been a favourite for many with pho’s, gyoza and ramen soups making up a larger part of 2015’s ‘new’ mass market Asian dishes. Expect to see a more diverse range showing up this year with bao buns being one of the new kids-on-the-block making a huge impact on the street food front. Moving in to tempt you will also be more Malaysian and South American treats. And with the Olympics in Rio this year Brazilian foods especially are sure to make their presence known.
No longer are burgers the sole ownership of football grounds and funfairs. Sliders were fun for a while but fully-loaded are the way to go and they’re no longer restricted to boring beef patties. Alternative meats such as reindeer, wild boar and welsh wagyu beef are rising in popularity as we diversify in our search for something different. Expect to see more salad vegetables in your burgers too. A limp bit of lettuce and a slice of tomato just aren’t going to cut the mustard anymore. We need to be eating more vege so get stuck in.
Last year saw the rise and rise of classic short cocktails, craft beers and micro-distilleries. As our taste buds seek out new food tastes it seems they are also seeking out new drinks too. This year I predict a resurgence of tall cocktails, in particular those from the 70’s-80’s. Expect to see your old favourites back like the Pina Colada, Long Island Iced Tea and Singapore Sling but not as you remember them. Refined and brought up to date with modern twists I cant wait! Jam jars and tea cups are over as mixologists find new ways to entice you. Cue Hawaiian and Asian receptacles, bunches of herbs and sliced produce to be a regular part of your drinking nights out.
Micro-breweries and distilleries continue to grow in popularity as we become more educated and supportive of local niche businesses. Spirits will see more infusions with herbs and spices and fruit craft beers will be on the rise.
Not only are WE going to be taking a second look at vegetables (see below) but restaurants are too. This year will see chefs focusing more on vegetables being the star of the show rather than the protein. Simplicity will also be key back-of-house. Gadget heavy kitchens will be so last year as we go back to basics, begone the water bath, pulverisers, squishers, caviar-bead makers……(you get my drift). As nose-to-tail eating continues to grow in popularity expect to revisit the tables of your parents/grandparents as traditional dishes get an overhaul too.
As technology is disappearing from the kitchens it makes an appearance front of house instead. Ordering food and drinks from your table top has been around for a few years (see here for my review of Inamo and interactive ordering) but this year I see it spreading across many more establishments as your dining experience becomes more than just about the food.
Wastage and ‘Ugly’ Vegetables & Fruits
Our supermarket produce sections are a far cry from what they used to look like. We are lucky to have a much wider range of vegetables and fruits available to buy but there seems to be an overwhelming perception that it needs to look perfect for us to spend our money on it. No more. 2016 is the year to reclaim what has been given the unfortunate nickname of ‘ugly’ produce. Buyers are becoming more aware about wastage and thanks to many programmes on the telly of late the plight of these apparently unwanted fruit and vege has been brought to the forefront. Would you rather spend more of your hard-earned money on perfect vege or less on imperfect offerings, after all, once they are mashed, stewed, roasted or chopped up, they still taste the same.
Food wastage is something that we are slowly tackling in our homes but we still need to do more. Do you cook the same meals week in week out and put the leftovers in the fridge only to be thrown out at a later date? The answer is obviously either to cook a lesser amount of food or find ways to use up those leftovers. There are plenty of recipe websites dedicated to giving you new ideas to use up your scraps. The restaurant scene is showing a turnaround too. Step up to the plate establishments like The Real Junkfood Project in Leeds set up by chef Adam Smith. They use leftovers from local restaurants and supermarkets to produce some truly delicious meals which change on a daily basis. This year there will be a distinct campaign to get us to reduce waste, use up leftovers and watch out for more tv programmes showing us how to do it easily and tastily.
So there you go, my predictions for how things will change on the foodie scene this year. I look forward to seeing how many things were correct. Until next time eat, drink and be good!