If you pay attention to trends in the culinary world, you couldn’t help but notice trends such as bacon in the dishes from appetizers through desserts, kale as America’s superfood, and the popularity of gluten-free diets. It’s always fun to guess what the next year will bring. As 2014 winds down and 2015 approaches, you might be wondering what the New Year will bring in terms of culinary trends. These are six food trends to watch for in 2015.
- Custom-Made Everything
Whether you are ordering fast food from a quick service restaurant or a beverage in a coffee shop, consumers have made it clear that they want to choose what they eat and how it is prepared. Customized orders will become the norm increasingly. Cupcakes provide a good example since they allow each person at an event to eat the flavor that they want unlike when cake that the entire party needs to share.
- A Taste of Spain
Spanish flavors may not be mainstream, but Spanish tapas are becoming more widespread. The word “tapas” means “covers,” and it refers to the small plates upon which restaurants and bars can serve a variety of different foods. In 2015, watch out for more food service establishments that would offer appetizers and other dishes to share with others at the table. This lets you taste small amounts of many different dishes instead of limiting yourself to a large portion of a single dish.
- Gluten-free Diets
Gluten free diets were all the rage in 2014, and they show no signs of becoming less popular in 2015. Gluten-free diets have gone beyond being a simple advice to avoid wheat products and processed foods. You can find gluten-free baked goods, frozen meals, cereals, and sauces in every grocery store. A gluten-free grain to watch for is kaniwa, a South American grain not to be confused with quinoa. Teff, an Ethiopian grain, is another gluten-free option that you can use as a hot breakfast cereal.
- Foods for Your Digestive Health
Fermented foods have known benefits for your digestion. Many, such as yogurt, provide probiotics, which are healthy bacteria that can live in your gut and whose benefits include reducing diarrhea after antibiotic use. Some recent research has also suggested the benefits of a positive bacterial balance in your gut to prevent obesity. Fermented foods to watch for include miso (a fermented seasoning made with tofu), kombucha (a fermented tea drink), and kimchi (potent, fermented Korean vegetables made with salt, fish sauce, hot sauce, and garlic.)
- Asian-Inspired Cuisine
Asian fusion has taken hold in many parts of the country, with kimchi tacos available in Los Angeles as a notable example of Asian-inspired Mexican food. Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean flavors are becoming more familiar as diners no longer look only to the corner Chinese take-out restaurant to get their fill of Asian flare. That’s not to say that Chinese is out as dim sum or small dumplings, are increasing in popularity.
- Marijuana-Laced Delicacies
Republicans were not the only winners when voters went to the ballots in early November. Marijuana was another clear winner. Now, nearly half the States allow marijuana for medical use and four states allow it for recreational use, with more states likely on the way. In 2015, you may be able to find cannabis in coffee beverages and baked goods beyond pot-laced brownies.
More of the Same
The food industry knows a good thing when it sees it, and it’s not going to stop catering to consumers before some of the trends of 2014 have finished running their course. Beyond bacon and cupcakes, think about organic, natural, and locally grown food, build-your-own ice cream and frozen yogurt, and gourmet pizza.