Top food trends in the U.S. show common theme
For the fifth consecutive year, award-winning entrepreneur, natural products industry veteran and chef, Mareya Ibrahim, aka The Fit Foodie, has released her hottest healthy food and beverage food trends for 2017. The underlying theme for 2017 is sustainability.
1) SPEED-SCRATCH COOKING
Who's got time for long kitchen session perfection? Speed scratch cooking, the art of taking semi-prepared, healthy ingredients or products and creating a homemade meal helps get dinner on the table in a flash, and saves families money. Meal preparation planning sites with a healthful, balanced approach will also take a prominent role in helping families become more time and cost efficient. Meal kit delivery companies will continue to flourish but expect consolidation in the number of players at the table.
2) ZERO WASTE
A U.N. study found that about one-third of food worldwide (about 40% in the U.S.) finds its way into a landfill. Rotting food is also one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. Look for natural anti-oxidant based products formulated to extend produce shelf life along with edible coatings made from landfill-bound organic vegetables. Changes in the supply chain are redirecting food to help feed the hungry. Also, expect more retail chains to sell 'ugly' produce at a discount and large-scale composting in the public and private sector.
3) DRINKABLE SOUP
Think juicing 2.0. Take the spoon and bowl out of enjoying fresh soup and enjoy an on-the-go meal that can be enjoyed chilled or hot featuring fresh, seasonal ingredients. Brands are jumping on the bandwagon at grocery stores with aseptic 'heat and eat' packaging. Expect to see your local juice bars and cafes to follow suit as they look for ways to expand their offerings and grow the frequency occasion of their guests.
4) GRASS-FED DAIRY
Grass-fed beef made a big splash with its promise to help consumers pick a more sustainable, cleaner source – along with a safer product according to a 2015 study conducted by Consumer Reports. It also found that consumers are willing to pay substantially more for grass-fed too. Expect to see the "grass-fed" moniker emblazoned across everything from butter and ghee, to yogurt, cheese, milk and ice cream to protein powder and even dietary supplements – although a national standard for defining "grass-fed" does not exist.
5) SEA FOOD
For its sustainability, nutrient density, umami flavor profile and versatility, the tidal wave of sea plant popularity has fed growth in new categories. Research from Mintel shows that seaweed- flavored product launches, featuring kombu, nori and wakame, have seen triple digit increases over the past few years in Europe. Expect to sea more stateside in 2017. Kelp noodles, algae oil, anti-aging supplements, ice cream, tea, seasonings and yes, craft beer will all dive deep into the ocean blue for inspiration.
6) THE NEXT "IT" VEGGIE: MICROGREENS
While microgreens used to have the association of being featured as a garnish at Michelin star restaurants, this little package packs a powerful punch of flavor and nutrition that will launch it onto the main stage in 2017. Not to mention, they're super sustainable and grow in a fraction of the time of their larger-scale cousins. Expect to see microgreens pop up in your favorite restaurants, on your grocer's shelves and in GIY (grow it yourself) kits for your windowsill, ready to harvest in less than 3 weeks. Size matters and the smaller package wins.
7) THE NEXT "IT" SUPERFOOD: MATCHA
It's not new, but Matcha is ready for its debut. Shade-grown and harvested primarily in Japan, this powerhouse of a superfood will rock your world when you discover all of its benefits, and all the ways you can enjoy it. It's 10 times more powerful than green tea, helps you de-stress but gives you sustained energy, boosts your metabolism and fights heart disease. Blend the brilliant green powder into your latte, smoothie bowl or desserts. You'll also see it combined with other flavors in ready-to-drink products to balance out the "grassiness."
8) DRINK YOUR VINEGAR
The benefits of raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) abound, including increased carbohydrate metabolism, the prevention of insulin spiking and encouraging weight loss. Now, a new crop of ACV ready-to-drink products are boosting the health benefits and coupling them with fresh new flavors in flat and sparkling varieties. Make your own tonic at home by adding a tablespoon of organic unfiltered ACV to 12 ounces of sparkling water and add a squeeze of lime and a few drops of organic stevia.