Happy new year — it is 2017 and who knows what the future will bring. That is why making predictions on trends of any type is extremely challenging. Food and beverage trends are no different; who knows what 2017 will bring. I am no expert at this, but I am going to look at the tea leaves and make some food and beverage predictions for 2017.
My first prediction is house-made charcuterie and sausage will be hot. You are starting to see more restaurants make their own charcuterie and sausage. In addition, you are seeing the act of going to a butcher coming back. Not only are the local small butchers making quality hot dogs, sausages and bacon, they are also making good old-fashioned bologna. Butchers are cutting meat the way you like. Instead of just picking a precut piece of meat, you can go to a butcher and have him cut it the way you like.
Speaking of meat, variations of fried chicken, I predict, will be strong. Not only will Korean-style fried chicken become more mainstream, Nashville hot chicken will continue to grow. It has been nationally popularized by KFC and now people are doing their own play on it. Think about it — fried chicken with fat and spices — what is there not to love with that?
For spices, the wonder plant turmeric will be in everything. I am no doctor, but reports sayturmeric is good for you. Turmeric has been used for years to color prepared mustard and curry powder. Now, it is finding its way into smoothies and other food dishes.
Have you noticed that clean food is a new trend? More and more companies are removing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives from their food. In addition, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat is also becoming more popular. This is true for grocery store items and in fast food restaurants. This has resulted in several large food companies slimming down the ingredients in their food. For some items in the grocery store, you no longer need a Ph.D. to read the ingredients list. That is good for all of us.
Vegetables will continue to be a larger part of our diet. For example, cauliflower is being used in many different ways. You are seeing cauliflower used in risotto or in a stir-fry. I even created a recipe for milk chocolate, peanut butter and cauliflower hot chocolate. You would never know the cauliflower is in there.
Vegetable ribbons, using zucchini, beets or sweet potatoes, are also seeing increased usage. You can treat them like pasta in many dishes. Vegetarian dishes are no longer taking a back seat at restaurants. More and more restaurants are creating fun, exciting vegetarian dishes that even a meat lover would love.
According to Willa Zhen, associate professor at the Culinary Institute of America, food served in a bowl is in. Food in a bowl can be a convenient way to consume different dishes. You have ramen served in a bowl, mixed grain in a bowl and even breakfast items served in a bowl. Poke, which is a Hawaiian dish of raw tuna marinated in soy sauce and sesame oil, is predicted to be popular in 2017 and it is often served in a bowl.
For beverages, you will continue to see more breweries open up. There are more than 5,000 breweries in the U.S. with more on the way. Because of this, more people will be getting beer made in their neighborhood; hyper locally made beer will be a trend. IPAs will continue to be very strong, but breweries will offer beers with lower alcohol and with fruit flavors. In addition, more and more breweries are making low-gluten or gluten-free beers.
If you love wine, you will see wine in alternative packaging. Wine in a can? You will see more of it. You will also see wine served in Tetra Paks. There are several producers that are already doing that. You also have wine in glass tubes and in small bottles you can take on an airline flight.
For distilled spirits, Fireball Cinnamon Whisky will continue to be strong. You will see more Irish whiskey on the shelves, and special limited-release scotches and bourbons will hit the market.
Last, smoothies as a meal replacement will continue to grow. You can make them however you like and consume it on the go. Kale was hot in previous years, but its popularity is trailing off. With that being said, it is still a good addition to a meal replacement beverage.
All of the predictions I mentioned are based on research from various sources, including Google, Nation’s Restaurant News and several restaurant consultant firms. I also used my educated informed thoughts to come up with food predictions for 2017. In 353 days we will see how accurate I am.
By: Douglass Miller, Who is a lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University.