Trends are so not me. I hate “trendy”. I’ve always thought trends exist so narcissists can justify their lives, and if at least 40% of all attention and adulation is not heaped upon them, they spontaneously combust. “Hey, let’s go try this NEW THING!” Ugh. I should say, some trends are mind-bendingly cool. Others are forehead-slapping stupid. I don’t seek a trend habitually and I do like to see new things when they’re well-thought ahead of time. In all seriousness, though…who thinks this stuff up?
Theory: trends are made up by four people randomly swept off the street or out of their car or house by black suit, MIB-types and sequestered in a windowless room and then ordered at gunpoint to come up with all the latest trends – in food, in fashion, in jargons and idioms and music and literature. So, when your idiot sister-in-law is fawning all over her new legwarmers to you…now you know who brought them back. But you don’t know WHY.
I always wait a month or so into the New Year for the predicted food trends for the coming year to make their way into the mainstream. I took a long, protracted stroll around CyberEarth, sniffing out trends and culinary migrations for this year. Some of the thinking is truly cutting-edge. Some of it was conjured on acid or at least some really gnarly hydro.
Food Delivery – no wonder America is developing more crenulated fat on their bodies. BiteSquad, uberEats, DoorDash, Lish, Munchery, Square-owned Caviar, Postmates, Seamless, GrubHub, Yelp-owned Eat 24, Peached….these are just a handful of the companies vying to bring all your food to your home. And it’s not just select restaurants anymore. Now, Amazon is trying to take over the whole market in large metropolitan centers. Rather than just delivering a Chipotle burrito or a Panera chicken salad to your front door that you answer wearing bunny slippers and three-day sweatpants, now Amazon Prime is looking at two-hour grocery delivery. You’ll literally never have to go outside again.
Unfortunately, the SEO algorithms that serve Google and Uber and Amazon randomly go against certain formulas, so your new sandwich shop you just opened with your life’s savings might already be fighting a losing battle for market share, all because you decided to add some unique items to your menu and it threw all the math off by a factor of ten. Guess what? Customers get steered to someone else’s sandwich shop during online ordering. IOW, you don’t have 100% market control of your product. Crazy. The business of rapid-fire food delivery is going to grow insanely in the next five years.
Vegetable Mania – a full 60% of Americans say they get their vegetable quotients from potatoes, lettuce and tomatoes. This has to be a fast-food anomaly. How are farmer’s markets supposedly exploding in popularity, yet we’re still a fat population of Mc-Guzzlers? Or are we? The newly bold vegetable eaters, aka, The Flexitarians, are spawning restaurants to treat vegetables as the main dish and not the accompaniment. Beef (or all “fleshes”) are now being considered the condiment rather than the headliner. Fascinating. And on an interesting side note, pasta consumption has declined in America by a full 6%, due to the Carb Nazis, but vegetable spiraling tools are becoming a coveted piece of kitchen equipment. The same gadget that turns potatoes into curly fries is now turning zucchini and beets and other occupants of the vegetable world into the most colorful, delightful pasta-esque food pictures not seen in quite some time.
2016 Food Trends – Tidbits
*No more tipping – restaurants adopt a living wage philosophy / *Poke (pronounced poh-kay’) replaces sushi in the Gonzo tasty protein-most-likely-to-be-binged-with-Sake category / *Alcohol in fast-food restaurants…get me a Summit Pale Ale with my McMuffin! / *3-D Food Printers. (Okay, this one is just plain stupid. What if I want to print out a chicken made from marshmallow? Oh wait! They already do that – they’re called PEEPS!) / *No more food waste – expect those carrot and beet greens in your salad instead of the garbage / *Kale not going away – in fact look for tons more dried and packaged vegetable snacks in your grocery’s vegetable section in the future / *Fried Chicken – especially Nashville Hot Chicken soars in popularity….
Spot a food trend or something cool? Give me a FB message or shoot me a Tweet.
Now, as always — go eat something! -J
photo courtesy of getty images.ca