Saturday, January 2, 2016

What does 2016 have in store for us?

I took a look at 2016 food trend predictions out of curiosity. Now I'll have to look back at the end of the year and see what the trends really were. I often think about 'history repeating' itself when we look at trends or consider with amusement when a former garnish (kale) turns superfood (a term I don't like, and that is all about marketing) or an everyday, almost forgotten vegetable (cauliflower) becomes popular. It can become worrisome when a less healthy item (bacon) starts appearing everywhere too.

Trends can be a way to stem curiosity, increase variety, and perhaps get people back into the kitchen to eat real, whole foods, but we must remember that no one food gives us everything that we need. We need a lot of nutrients, and we eat foods (that contain nutrients), thus we need a lot of different foods not only for our health, but also to satisfy our cravings and tastebuds.

I think it's great that more people are interested in health and food, but we also continue to see extremes of obesity and poverty, and now the obsession with healthy eating, known as orthorexia nervosa. We still have a lot to learn!

2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses which I think is great in so many ways. I hope that definitely means pulses are on people's minds and menus. A few sites I looked at for their predictions were Yahoo Food, HuffPost, The Toronto Star, and Entrepreneur. They didn't just look at ingredients, but also how food is delivered and prepared. What similarities did I find? What can we expect to see in 2016?

  • a continued interest in fermented and pickled food
  • vegetables taking centre stage (yes!)
  • less waste in the kitchen, using 'ugly' food etc.
  • acai or smoothie bowls instead of juices
  • healthier fast food
  • poke (a Hawaiian raw fish dish)
  • seaweed
  • spice and spicy condiments
  • concern with where our food comes from
  • discussion around tipping and minimum wage (servers vs cooks, etc.)
  • fried chicken
  • food that's burned (on purpose)
  • a continued interest in ethnic flavours and gourmet versions of international comfort foods
  • freekeh and ancient grain/artisan breads

I love food, but it's only one part of our life. I hope you can define yourself beyond the type of diet you eat or the foods you restrict. One trend (more hopefully, a long term change) I would like to see is a removal of labelling the way we eat. I am fortunate that I don't have allergies or intolerances, and I know that makes things difficult and also makes it important that others know what you can't consume, but I still don't think we need to define ourselves by our way of eating. I eat food, lots of different kinds of food.

Happy New Year!
Steph Langdon, RD