As we approach the holiday season, it’s an exciting time to start thinking ahead to the new year and what’s next on the foodie horizon. Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, recently shared his predictions about what we should expect to look forward to both in supermarkets and restaurants in 2015. Here are some of the appetizing predictions for the coming year of food:
Grazing Golden-Agers: Who doesn’t love snacking? The trend of grazing, or eating smaller portions throughout the day, is likely to grow more popular than ever before with the Baby Boomers—a generation of folks who were raised on and maintained a schedule of “three square meals a day.” Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have begun eschewing big meals in favor of lighter, more energy-sustaining fare. They recognize the fact that, as Lempert put it, “The antiquated idea of three square meals a day probably was never that healthful.”
More Same-Day Delivery for Food: The technology behind food delivery continues to develop with convenient choices like Instacart, which can get your food to you as quickly as an hour from when you purchase it. Also, a $95/year or $10/month subscription to Google Express now ensures same-day delivery to shoppers in Chicago and a handful of other cities. Lempert predicts that these innovations will lead to a sea-change in the assumption that we all go grocery shopping 2-3 times a week.
Smoked Everything: Where to go after a year tossed in hot sauce? Try smoky flavors, whether they come from a backyard smoker or a touch of liquid smoke in a recipe. The smoke-craze may extend beyond flavoring meats to stocking smoked canned vegetables on the supermarket aisles or featuring smoked cheese in the deli department.
Focus on Fermented Foods: All kinds of fermented foods—kombucha, kimchee, yogurt, tofu and sauerkraut, to name a few—will gain fans thanks to their purported digestion-boosting benefits (thanks to an abundance of live probiotic cultures).
Lempert claims that the proof will be in the packaging, with labels touting the importance of digestive health. Also, “We’re going to start pickling all kinds of things.”
The New Home Chef—Gen Z: Beyond all the talk of Millennials dominating the trends reports, Lempert identifies Generation Z, the post-Millennial shoppers born in 1995 or later, as the newest foodie adventurers. These young consumers look for both intensity and diversity of flavors while seeking to keep their food simple and healthful.
An Influx of Craft Foods and Beverages: It’s not just craft beer anymore. Every industry is coming up with ways to create and promote products that have an artisanal feel and a down-to-earth story. Some prominent examples that Lempert notes are Pepsi’s new cane sugar soda, Caleb’s Kola, ConAgra’s acquisition of the Alexia potato line, and Hillshire’s acquisition of West Coast sausage company Aidells.
More Information—Beyond Nutrition Labels: Lempert points out that more than ever, people want to learn more about what they’re eating. One high-tech source of nutritional information he cites is the Prep Pad,which is an iPad-connected counter-top scale that retails for around $150 and gives the user comprehensive nutritional details about the food it analyzes.
Supermarkets as a Social Scene: What makes a supermarket different than the other places (drug stores, restaurants, farmers’ markets, etc.) you can purchase food? Lempert anticipates an increase in the educational and social aspects of visiting a supermarket. Look for the emergence of experts such as chefs and registered dietitians to contribute to the food culture of your local grocery store.
As Lempert explains, the stores that understand that there’s more to grocery shopping than just convenience are “looking to build a relationship with shoppers that transcends price. There are chains around the country that are really getting it, and other ones are going to go out of business.”
And, of course, for something a little weird…
Since fermentation is going to gain more popularity in the coming food year, we wonder if anyone will try natto, the Japanese fermented soybeans known for a strong flavor and aroma as well as slimy texture. Check out this video from Buzzfeed to see some Americans react to trying natto and other unusual Asian foods!
We look forward to learning what else is ahead in the next year!
What do you anticipate in upcoming food trends?
Happy Foodie Friday!