For the 29th year running, the Food Channel has revealed its Top Ten Food Trends for 2017, based on research conducted in conjunction with CultureWaves and the International Food Futurists. The list identifies some of the significant changes expected to hit the food world.
“This year we see the interactions happening around people and food driving the trends, and they’re starting to override the fascination with emerging flavors,” said Kay Logsdon, editor of The Food Channel. “It’s caused us to divide the trends into two groups for the first time ever, looking at those things you’ll actually see on menus, as well as factors influencing what goes on menus from a broader lifestyle perspective.”
Food Trends On the Menu
Meats Out of the Mainstream—As people dig into new and replacement proteins, they’ve begun asking what else is out there. New breeds and newly accessible meats will come into prominence.
Veggies as Center of the Plate—Vegetables are moving into the limelight and the rest of the meal is now likely to be built around the veggies; it’s not only new vegetables; it’s new executions.
No More Waste—As more people adopt sustainability, the standard has risen higher: food has to be grown “right,” harvested “right,” prepared “right,” and anything left over needs to be disposed of in the “right” way.
New Cuisines —Niche is getting more niche. It’s no longer Northeast. Now it’s coastal Northeast, or the Catskills. Hawaiian food differs from island to island, and the examples go on and on.
Ingredients as Condiments—Restaurants are beginning to offer accompaniments to menu items that go beyond the traditional salt, pepper and ketchup.
Food Trends Influencing the Menu
Trend Layered Upon Trend —Menu descriptions have to hit several different touch points in order to get our attention. Innovation has started to be layered, with one idea on top of another.
The Language of Food—Look beyond Farm2Table and at Dock2Dine, Seed2Glass, Farm2School, and maybe even Printer2Plate. Much of this is a reaction to our need to identify the source of our food.
Occasion Dining —Meal plans are no longer centered on breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking. We now tend to plan eating around occasions.
Pet Food—Pets have been elevated to the status of family members. “Pet friendly” is the new normal, extending all the way to the previously forbidden restaurant territory.
Good Is the New “New” —Here’s the new mantra: Stop focusing on making new things and instead pay more attention to taste. Make it good, as opposed to continually introducing something new.