Last year, quinoa and kale were the hot topic, so what does 2015 have in in store for us? Expert Nutritionist, Lucy-Ann gives us her predictions…
It appears that many of us as suffer from a condition called “restless palate syndrome”… a term coined by food analysts to describe our ever-increasing desire to try new or exotic foods, unusual or particularly nutrient-dense foods, or our need to find new ways of impressing our friends. Chefs are heavily in the act, spurring many of us on to try novel ingredients, as restaurateurs try and tempt new customers through the door and stay ahead of rivals and competitors.
All this underpins, and drives new food trends across the board, from food retail and food service, to food manufacture. Here’s a taster of what to expect and look out for in 2015.
Not content with nature’s creations, we seem to be in the throes of an increased production of “hybrid vegetables”. Crossing one vegetable with another to enhance the nutritional value, versatility or appeal of vegetables, is set to top the list of food trends in 2015. New veggies you will see appearing include kalettes (a cross between kale and Brussels sprouts), rainbow carrots, broccolini (broccoli crossed with Chinese broccoli), and broccoflower (broccoli crossed with cauliflower). Like it or not, tinkering with Mother Nature is an area of food production that is expanding.
We may see more “ugly” vegetables in the shops too, as these are also set to become trendier in 2015, amongst chefs and consumers alike. Ugly vegetables include the knobbly celeriac, kohlrabi, as well as the humble parsnip. Chefs again will show us the way in terms of how to cook these fantastic plant foods. Of course these vegetables are not new to devoted plant-based eaters, and I for one, love ‘ugly veg’! There’s a myriad of ways to eat them too. Celeriac and parsnips make the most delicious “oven chips”, simply chopped into chunky strips, sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper and dry-roasted in the oven. They can also be mashed, pureed, fried or baked and even flavoured with honey and spices! So next time you pass the “ugly veg” in the shopping aisle, take your pick and give them a go!
You may have already noticed that Japanese cuisine (including fermented foods and sushi) is on the up, with more Japanese restaurants popping up, along with Japanese foods on the shop shelves. We appear to love all things Japanese!
If you’re unsure as to what exactly fermented produce is, this area covers a number of foods and products from yogurts to certain breads (e.g. sourdough bread), as well as pickled vegetables, vinegars and the Japanese products tofu, miso, tempeh and tamari. All these are examples of foods that are fermented naturally with bacterial cultures. Fermentation is an old way of preserving food and shelf life, and populations the world over have used fermentation methods for centuries. One of the key attractions nowadays, driving the trend in fermented foods, is how they benefit intestinal health.
Eating fermented foods such as “live” yogurt for example helps to boost levels of beneficial bacteria and/or optimise the pH of the gut. Our gut “beneficial bacteria” aid digestion, boost immunity and even lead to increased production of certain vitamins. Many fermented foods are however heavily salted (think of sauerkraut and tamari), so whilst they are beneficial in small amounts and used as “condiments”, eating them in moderation is the key.
Other trends set to increase include gluten-free foods, “healthy snacks” such as our very own Nakd and Trek bars, frozen foods for “locked-in freshness”, protein-rich foods, protein-boosted flours, and of course, dairy-free milks. There will also be more of a focus on plant-based proteins, and guess what… pistachios are tipped to be “the nut of 2015”!
Dips, desserts and artisan breads
Something which may float your boat is the upcoming trend of vegetable ice-creams, and even vegetable yogurts. How does tomato or carrot ice-cream sound?! Maybe you’d prefer a tomato yogurt, butternut squash yogurt, beet, carrot or kimchee yogurt? Good news or bad, these new products are set to hit the UK shelves pretty soon!
We will also be seeing lots of different kinds of hummus, artichoke and guacamole-style dips, flavoured again with different herbs and spices. One new spice to hit the shelves is the Middle Eastern blend, za’atar.
Lastly, “artisan breads” will expand, along with new-fangled toast toppings and sandwich fillings! Personally, I am quite happy with a little rye bread topped with avocado, tomato and watercress. I am not entirely sure I’ll be tempted by a filling of “smoked kale jelly”!