Every year there is always a push towards certain foods or food groups, and in 2015 there was undeniably an emphasis toward healthy eating with ‘free-from’ foods being placed firmly in the spotlight. The idea of eating for health became a sphere of interest, as opposed to ridicule, with bone broth and avocados leading the charge. When the humble cauliflower hit the mainstream as a genuinely tasty rice substitute it seemed that gluten and grain-free options were certainly here to stay. Hurrah! And about time!
The concept of ‘Meat-Free Monday’ gained momentum and more and more people found themselves questioning their consumption of meat; whether it is for welfare or sustainability issues, the concept of plant based eating is here to stay.
Some of the big food trends that we saw in 2015 were coconut products (following the trail blazing of coconut oil over the last few years), courgettes (think spiralizer), cacao, and medjool dates. This is without doubt a great list of ingredients and they are all firm fixtures in a Paleo/primal lifestyle. The health benefits of including these foods in your diet were touted across blogs and magazines and there was no escaping the abundance of recipes. Not that this is a bad thing; these foods do indeed have great health benefits and of course are absolutely delicious!
So what does 2016 have in store for us? I am sure you will have seen many lists popping up and all will have slightly different variations but there are usually a few core foods that consistently shine through. This year the hot trends are varied and plentiful but the stand out ones for me are avocado oil, turmeric, seaweed, matcha powder, plant based eating, raw foods, and non-dairy products.
I already include the contents of this list in my diet so I am pleased to see I am already ahead of the game! Let’s take a look at some of these items in a bit more detail…
Food Trends for 2016
If you have been on Instagram over the last six months you will no doubt have become acquainted with matcha. A green tea powder that originates from Japan, and is naturally rich in anti-oxidants; to be exact it boasts 137 times more antioxidants than traditional green tea and one cup equals the same nutritional content as 10 cups of green tea.3 Impressive stats by any standards and it certainly raises the bar on a long held ‘superfood’ status of green tea.
Matcha has become a firm favourite on many a coffee shop menu; often sold as a calming and nutritious alternative to a traditional latte. Expect to see matcha making the leap from your latte to your food. Its subtle flavours lend itself well to cookery and it has already been popular in a variety of dishes especially desserts such as brownies and cakes and is soon to be making its way to a savoury dish near you.
Not just a delight for the eyes; matcha is rich in antioxidants which are known to help prevent aging and chronic diseases. Having sufficient levels of antioxidants is essential for ensuring that your body is equipped for fighting disease and infections. It has been suggested that it could potentially reduce the risks of certain diseases including Parkinson’s, heart disease, and cancer although research is continuing in this area.
Seaweed has come a long way from the slimy covered rocks you find on any British beach holiday. If you like Japanese food then it is likely you will be accustomed to seaweed in the form of sushi rolls, perhaps in a miso soup, or stir fry. It is however set to make the transition from niche to mainstream and is heading to shops and restaurants near you.
Seaweed is very nutrient dense and rich in minerals especially iodine, which is used by the body to make thyroid hormones that keep cells and metabolic rate healthy. Just one gram of seaweed contains roughly five to fifty times our recommended daily iodine intake. Dried seaweed can be used as a salt replacement to season your food and you can even use Seafood Spaghetti to create some delicious pasta replacement recipes. For more information on seaweed take a look at the Primal Eye article ‘Seaweed the Superfood’.
Plant Based Eating
In 2015, we saw the spiralizer take the vegetable world by storm. The humble courgette was lifted to new heights and TV chefs across the world soon adapted this simple piece of kitchen equipment into their repertoire.
The concept of ‘Meat-Free Monday’ gained momentum and more and more people found themselves questioning their consumption of meat; whether it is for welfare or sustainability issues, the concept of plant based eating is here to stay. As with most food trends you just need to take a look on Instagram to see what is gaining momentum; without a doubt smoothie bowls and raw food posts rank amongst the most popular and are taking the health arena by storm.
With health awareness very much at the root of the movement expect to see a variety of vegetables and encouragement to ‘eat a rainbow’ in every meal. Think of vegetables in an assortment of colours; purple cauliflowers, multi-coloured carrots, and yellow beetroot are all on the list. The emphasis is often on keeping meals as natural as possible with little cooking or interference.
The concept of ‘root-to-stem dining’ will also showcase innovative ways to use the entire plant including leaves, roots and stems with nothing going to waste and maximum nutrients being extracted. Look out for cauliflower heads being delicately spiced and roasted whole.
Until recently non-dairy was generally the domain of those who avoided it purely for health reasons or those who were diagnosed as lactose intolerant. Following on from the rise in gluten-free and sugar-free it seems natural; almost inevitable you might say that the dairy-free movement would follow.
The main interest seems to be nut milks; with soya milk on its way out as the non-dairy go-to milk of choice and interest in nut milk is increasing. It is not surprising though as fresh nut milk has a great nutritional profile being rich in protein, fibre, monounsaturated fats, vitamin B, iron, and magnesium to name just a few benefits. It’s also really easy to make your own at home – all you need is a blender (Nutribullet type works wonders), your favourite nuts, a clean tea towel, and some water.
Expect to see a wider variety of options appearing and small producers becoming more prevalent with the promise of a better nutritional profile and no hidden stabilisers and thickeners.
We Are Getting There…
The trend toward real, whole foods continues and I am proud to see that Paleo/primal principles are leading the way. Many of the foods which are deemed as ‘trends have been at the forefront of the Paleo lifestyle long before they became main stream and I can only sit and smile as non-Paleo friends now avidly advocate the benefits. It seems that good eating principles are getting to the masses; just one step at a time and 2016 is a step in the right direction.
Have you any food trends for this year that you’d like to add to the list? Why not leave a comment below to let us know!
- McCoy, F. (2016). 2016 in food: the dishes that will be taking over your Instagram. In Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 January 2016 from http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/restaurants/2016-in-food-the-trends-that-will-be-taking-over-your-instagram-a3149741.html
- Myall, S. (2016). Food trend predictions for 2016: Bacon doughnuts, melon juice, cocktail golf and cauliflower being the new kale. In Mirror. Retrieved 25 January 2016 from http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/food-trends-predictions-2016-bacon-7099312
- (Anonymous). (n.d.). Health benefits of matcha tea. In Matcha Source. Retrieved 27 January 2016 from http://matchasource.com/health-benefits-of-matcha-tea/
- Hobson, R. (2016). 6 health food trends that will definitely be huge in 2016. In BT. Retrieved 25 January 2016 from http://home.bt.com/lifestyle/wellbeing/6-health-food-trends-that-will-definitely-be-huge-in-2016-11364031432552