Some buzzwords to look out for while navigating the 2016 food and beverage scene include “seaweed in popcorn” and “burnt vegetables,” according to Baum+Whiteman’s 2016 Food & Beverage Forecast. Sound a little odd? Here are some trends that perhaps sound a bit more palatable and are expected to catch on in the new year:
Instead of flaming-hot foods, Americans are seeking out aromatic and tasty blends of spices and sauces for an extra kick. From fragrant Ethiopian blends to warmer Syrian blends, spicy food no longer needs to sacrifice flavor for heat.
Animal protein will be falling to the wayside due to high costs and even higher concerns about the meat’s hormones. Farmers’ markets are on the rise, making room for vegetables to take center stage. Due to their seasonable nature, veggies can keep menus fresh and exciting.
…But Also, Lots of Fried Chicken
Not all of America can be on a health kick. Fried chicken is becoming more of an artisanal meal with ethnic flavors spicing up the classic southern cuisine. Restaurants like Night+Market and Fuku have created specialty fried chicken sandwiches that feature unique dressings and sauces.
Jewish Cuisine Reinvented
Chefs are getting in touch with their roots by crafting heritage-inspired cuisines. Jewish food is becoming particularly popular again, with younger generations reinventing what their grandparents used to cook. By mixing traditional foods with modern tastes, ethnic dishes are becoming mainstream.
Acai Over Smoothies (Even Though No One Can Nail the Pronunciation)
Hipsters have chosen the next food trend, and acai bowls will dominate in 2016. The berry’s frozen pulp is topped with granola, chia seeds, peanut butter, and more for an ice cream-like treat found at juice bars, smoothie chains, and ice cream parlors.
Bitter flavors will reign supreme in beverages, with cold brew and carbonated coffee becoming increasingly popular. Compound flavors, such as honey jalapeño bacon or sweet teriyaki are also going to be hot, as are strange combinations of tart and sugary snacks like kale, crunchy broccoli, and vegetable chips.
Death to Pasta
In the last five years, pasta sales have dropped 6 percent in America as many switch to gluten-free, carb-free diets. Vegetable ribbons made out of zucchini, beets, sweet potatoes, and more, are serving as its replacement.
The “Uberization” of the Restaurant Industry
With phones becoming smarter all the time, consumers have come to expect having the world at their fingertips. Just like hailing an Uber with the click of a button, more customers are turning to middlemen such as GrubHub and Postmates to connect with and order from their favorite eateries. Additionally, big names such as Starbucks and Domino’s have added features to order directly by mobile phone. In the coming year, speedy food delivery will continue to expand.
Photo credit: Acai bowl via BigStock