Top 10 Food Trends in 2016

by Sue Taggart



There’s a lot going on in the food industry and we’ve compiled a roundup of the trends that will be driving innovation in 2016. From emerging flavors to good bacteria—sustainable and fermented foods are going mainstream. Alternatives to modern wheat and heirloom ingredients are gaining in popularity, in fact all the things we have been writing about over the past two years are now making an appearance on store shelves and in kitchens all over the US.


1.Alternative and wheat-free flours:

From ancient grains like KAMUT® to gluten-free flours made from legumes, teff, chickpeas, amaranth and nuts, these alternative flours are on the rise.

Appearing in bean-based pastas and other packaged goods, flour is making a healthy resurgence.

2.Graze Craze:

Grass-fed has proven it’s no longer a niche category for only health fanatics or Paleo devotees. With new grass-fed products – from milk, eggs, yogurt, butter and cheese options to packaged meat snacks and even protein powders – grass-fed is sprouting up across the aisles at retail stores.

3.Non-GMO verified products:

As shoppers demand more transparency in their food, the non-GMO movement will continue to gain momentum. Growth and innovation in the animal protein category will be especially strong, thanks to the recent development and approval of non-GMO verification methods for animal feed.

 4.Heirloom ingredients:

Heirloom ingredients are making a comeback and not just in the produce aisle. Prized for flavors and traits that have been preserved for centuries, these “old-world” edibles like heirloom cocoa and heirloom black mitcham peppermint are popping up in all kinds of packaged goods.

5.Fermented foods and probiotics:

Fermented foods and probiotics are growing like good bacteria – whether people are seeking foods to feed a healthy microbiome or just want to try new flavors. Fiery picks like kimchi and gochujang will continue to gain steam, while innovative options like chiogga beet kraut and non-dairy tonics will add variety.

6.Healthy Snacking:

With snacking at an all time high, shoppers are trading up for healthier, whole-food based snacks with simple, quality ingredients. 2016’s dehydrated trend takes it to new heights – from dehydrated broccoli, Brussels sprout and parsnip chips to sophisticated salmon, bison and chicken jerkies with grown-up flavor combinations. Even quinoa is getting a make-over with ready-to-eat delicious flavor combinations in on-the-go pouches.

7.Uncommon meat and seafood:

Lesser-known meat and seafood options are making their way into mainstream American kitchens. With a renewed interest in artisan butchers and a host of other factors, once-overlooked cuts like sirloin top, pork T-bone chop and Denver steaks are new choices for at-home cooks. More sustainable and unusual seafood species like responsibly farmed Paiche (a Peruvian white fish) and wild-caught blue catfish are adding more variety to seafood choices.

8.Acai Bowl:

Move over, smoothies … acai bowls are making it mainstream with franchises popping up all over! Made frozen acai pulp and soy or other non-dairy milks, plus bananas, bits of other fruits, and lots of ice … with toppings like granola, chia seeds, chocolate chips, coconut flakes and peanut butter. A vegan staple, these nutrient-filled bowls are easy to make at home and really filling.

9.Sweet Vegetables:

A trend that’s going to keep on growing – savory yogurt’s with sweet veggies like parsnip, carrots and butternut squash were just the beginning.

Celebrate the sweet vegetables in 2016, look out for new ice cream flavors like tomato cherry and carrot orange. New savory chocolate pairings like porcini mushroom and onion with olive oil are just a few of the new offerings.

10.When Heat Is Not Enough:

There’s an interesting shift away from just-plain-incendiary heat … to aromatic and flavorful spice blends and sauces. Piri-piri peppers (African birdseye chili) blended with tamer spices, herbs and citrus peels, used as bbq rubs or as bases for piquant sauces. Sweet-spicy gochujang, a thick Korean bbq sauce is made from malted barley, fermented soybean flour, red pepper and rice flour is a step-up from ubiquitous sriracha in Asian fusion dishes. And watch for new spice blends from Syria as well as Japanese Seven-Spice and Berberm, a highly fragrant but hot Ethopian mix. And the superstar spice for 2016 – Tumeric!

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