Annual Trend Top Ten

What's gaining traction in the food world

As we embrace the fourth quarter of 2016, New Food Studio presents its Annual Trend Top Ten.  We combine insight from multiple resources and couple that information with first-hand experience to bring to you our observations of what’s getting attention in the food world.  If you’d prefer an in-depth, customized report, please reach out to Mark Graham, New Food Studio is happy to create one for you.

1. Pour-over coffee:

We reported this last year and continue seeing this trend pop-up more frequently.  For the specialty grocer, we don’t suggest offering up a pour-over coffee option for in-store coffee kiosks, however, we strongly suggest offering up coffee options and supplies (filters, grinders, water kettles, coffee pots, scales, etc.).  We think the ancillary services to this trend will gain the most traction in dollars and cents. Here, Hand Ground offers up the “47 Tips To Make Pour Over Coffee Like A Barista.”

2. Middle Eastern Spices

We see increasing flavors and spices of the Middle East pop up everywhere. Melissa Clark of The New York Times, claims, “they are perfect for summer cooking.”  We are also seeing these spice blends appear in menus across the board from casual restaurants to food service.  As an added bonus to these “new flavors,” many of these dishes trend towards vegetarian friendly options. Exotic and aromatic spice blends like za’atar (a blend of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds) and or Baharat (a blend of spices that includes coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cardamom) are mixed with garlic, lemon, onions and other aromatics to create new flavor experiences for most of us. Here is some inspiration: Mediterranean Exploration Company, Portland, OR;  The Crest Gastropub in Clintonville, OH.

3. Octopus

Octopus is becoming an increasingly popular menu item.  It’s a challenging item to cook, and the trick to a successful product is in the preparation – If you’ve had the chewy, tough octopus before, try again until you get one that’s tender and sweet.  It’s so very worth the experience. Here are several places doing it right: Strangers & Saints, Provincetown, MA; Quartino, Chicago, IL; The Purple Pig, Chicago, IL; Pasquale Jones, New York, NY

4. “Chef-Level Snacking”

The trade marked term “Chef level Snacking” has been coined by Fage, the Greek-style yogurt manufacturer.  Chef-influenced snacks are not limited to yogurt and their inspiration often is met with some nutritional bonus, like a protein boost as in the case of savory yogurt.

Here are three chef-inspired snacking trends:

  1. Savory yogurt: You’re probably most familiar with savory yogurt in the form of sauces like Tzatziki (Greek sauce flavored with cucumbers, garlic, salt, dill), and Raita (Indian [and often Middle Eastern] sauce flavored with cucumber, garlic, cilantro). Fage is betting you’re going to like savory yogurt as a snack.  Flavor profiles include: Coconut Curry with Cashews; Olive-Thyme with Olives. Even the Food Network is on board with this savory trend with recipes for “5 Savory Yogurt Bowls” by Amy Chaplin.
  2. Bone Broth or Sipping Broths:  Speaking of Protein, we continue to see naturally derived, high-protein, sipping broths take hold in bigger cities (Brodo in NYC is growing leaps and bounds and now offers home delivery), and Pacific Foods offers a single serving box with four flavor varieties.  These concentrated broths, made traditionally by simmering beef, or chicken bones for hours, serve not only the purpose of a protein boost (in some instances 9g of protein per serving), but offer up great comfort in consuming and digesting naturally derived protein.  What’s more comforting after a workout – a protein shake? Or a warm cup of chicken or beef broth?… 
  3. Soups:  The New York Times says, …”Souping is the New Juicing,” and reports on the growing trend of using soups as a fast or diet supplement.  The competition in the soup category has grown slowly (44% of market share is owned by Campbell’s) and Euromonitor reports, “Growth is expected to derive from innovation, which will reach a wider consumer base than the traditional chicken noodle format.”  Additionally, “After years of moderate declines between 2008 and 2011 and slow growth between 2011 and 2013, sales of pre-packaged soup are expected to continue growing slowly between 2013 and 2018, from $6.9 billion to $8 billion,” as reported in Prepared Foods.  Soups are also being transformed by chefs; here are some we’re excited to experience:  Carrot Coconut Soup at Michael’s Genuine, Miami, FL; Jane’s Corn Chowder at Jane’s, Chicago, IL; Chilled Pea Soup at Günter Seeger, New York, NY.

5. New Ways to Dine

Several “new” options of dining are hitting the streets of many cities across the globe.  EatWith, based in Tel Aviv, has chef resources globally that offer dining services in the home of a participating chef.  The menus range from elaborate to super casual, and some add features like a yoga class beforehand. Dining in the home of a Chef has never been easier, just point and click!  Several other dinner options continue to gain share of dinner dollars like Blue Apron and Home Chef.  These services include fully prepped ingredients, ready to cook, delivered to your door in refrigerated parcels.   Recently, The New York Times got on board with this trend and starting offering menus and menu items from their enormous archives of recipes delivered to your door in either pre-prepped or fully cooked options to certain parts of New York City.  We also continue to see home grown, locally made, small batch cooking being made available to consumers via Share Kitchens in cities across the US. In Chicago, Lakeview Kitchen & Marketfeatures several options from custom made baked goods to complete catering via more than a dozen vendors sharing the same professional kitchen and retail outlet.

6. Specialty Grocery and Delivery

Delivering on the promises of local, healthy, convenient and affordable, matched with new delivery systems like FoxTrot in Chicago, Uber Eats, Google Express, Amazon Prime Now, Postmates, Grub Hub, Yelp Eat 24, etc.  specialty grocers are stepping up their game.  Amazon Prime in certain New York zip codes delivers groceries … and prepared meals … from supermarkets and gourmet shops in an hour (for an extra $7.99) or their standard, free two-hour delivery service.  We also see the growth of grocers like New Seasons Market (Portland, OR) expand on their made-in-house-from-local-resources-mind-set with new facilities and operations all over the west coast.  Similar grocers like Mrs. Green’s (NY State), Goddess & The Grocer (Chicago), and Plum Market, (Michigan) are expanding into markets traditionally owned by big name grocers.

6. Indian Food

Indian food continues to gain influence on menus across the country.  The evolution of Indian food in the US can recently be credited in part to Suvir Saran.  One just has to look at his cookbooks to see how much his heritage and his environment have melded together; “Indian Home Cooking,” “American Masala,” and “Masala Farm.”  These cookbooks continue to inspire a new generation of diners who are looking for flavor options. Suvir’s newest restaurant, Tapestry, in NYC, features a menu that is heavily influenced by his cultural upbringing and wraps that nuance with locally available ingredients.  Try the Indio Posole and the Spicy Sticky Masala Fried Chicken. Both have spices and flavors of India wrapped up in traditional cultural dishes.  Business Insiderreports, “Millennials have increasingly adventurous tastes, and Nation’s Restaurant News reports that 10% of non-Indian restaurants offer an Indian-inspired item. That’s up 63% from the last nine years.”

8. Local Bakeries

Dedicated to bringing back the neighborhood bakery.  In Chicago we see Laine’s Bake Shop, and Kate’s Cookies/Homemade Sin Bakery venturing out of shared kitchen space and into brick and mortar retail in growing neighborhoods.  Also in Chicago we’re thrilled to see the growth of Baker & Nosh into a second location.  These bakeries feature daily, hand-made, small batch, freshly baked goods that range from traditional breads and sweets to signature items like Salted Black Bread, Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and Peach Cobbler.

9. Recipe Feeds

Some new and several improved recipe resources with archived data bases that feature edited and tested recipes (no more blaming yourself for a recipe that didn’t work).  Many of these resources are aligned with local vendors for ingredients that also feature discounts.  We love what’s happening at The New York Times, Chefs Feed, Chicago Tribune, Milk Street Kitchen, Lucky Peach, Amazon Kitchen

10. Medical Marijuana Comestibles

We’re not suggesting anyone manufacture medical marijuana comestibles.  However, according to the Los Angeles Times, this industry is expected to surpass “$11 billion by 2019.”  Ancillary services to this industry will be the highest money makers.  Food manufacturing equipment, technical manufacturing know-how, food packaging lines, security, water delivery systems, indoor agricultural lighting, construction, store design, packaging, etc. will gain in cash profits from this industry.  If you’re a company with down manufacturing equipment you’re looking to sell, this is the industry to consider. Keep in mind these sales will most likely be in cash. I don’t know any company that can’t use a million-dollar cash sale. There is also a new publication, “The Fresh Toast” that revolves its commentary in and around medical marijuana.