Industry survey results are in — in 2014, healthy eating is in. Next year’s food trends will build upon much of the progress toward sustainable, locally sourced and healthy foods; some trends reflect a return to tradition while others reflect a more experimental spirit. Let’s take a look at some of the food trends we can expect to see emerge in 2014.
1) A Continued Emphasis on Sustainable and Locally Sourced Foods
When you go to school to study for a Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness, you will learn about the massive impact of sustainable farming practices and local food sourcing on nutrition. Local food is more nutritious, because food loses its nutritional value rapidly in transit. In 2014, the trend toward sustainable, organically grown and locally produced food will gain strength.
2) Gluten-Free Pasta
Gluten-free diets are all the rage lately, but until now people avoiding wheat have been forced to steer clear of pasta dishes. In 2014, expect to see a plethora of delicious pastas made from bean and nut flours as well as non-wheat grain flours.
3) More Emphasis on Pediatric Nutrition
People are more conscious than ever of what they’re feeding their children. In 2013, the FDA tightened up its food regulations and consumers grew ever more knowledgeable about their food choices. In 2014, healthy meals for kids are expected to become one of the hottest food trends.
4) More Nut-Based Milks
Nut-based milks are delicious and incredibly nutritious. They offer a balance of healthy fats, phytochemicals that help fight chronic disease, fiber, vitamins and minerals. They’re great for people who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk and for those who want to eat a more plant-based diet. In 2014, expect to see them used in savory dishes, sauces, smoothies and baked goods.
5) More Egg Yolks
Once shunned as unhealthily high in dietary cholesterol, egg yolks are now known to be a great source of antioxidants like lutein and xeaxanthin and nutrients like choline, which is essential to maintain brain health. They’re also a leading food source of vitamin D.
6) A Return to Pickling
Your grandmother will be happy to see pickling come back into vogue in 2014, as a new generation discovers old-fashioned food preservation techniques. No longer just a garnish, pickles will occupy a more central place in the meals of 2014.
7) More Ethnic-Inspired Foods
Ethnic-inspired foods are expected to make it big in 2014, especially at breakfast. Expect to see Asian-inspired toppings and syrups on your Belgian waffles and Dutch pancakes.
8) More Dessert Mash-Ups
Dessert mash-ups like the cronut were incredibly popular in 2013, and they’re expected to get even bigger in 2014. Next year, keep your eyes peeled and your taste buds primed for hybrid sweets like ice cream cupcakes and “townies,” or tartlet-brownies, which have a soft, gooey brownie center and a crisp outer tartlet shell.
9) Increased Emphasis on Poaching and Steaming
Poaching and steaming are two of the healthiest cooking methods, but they have a bad reputation for producing bland, boring dishes. In 2014, expect to see poaching and steaming come to the forefront of professional cuisine, and expect to see various culinary artists put their own flavorful twists on these two cooking methods. All it takes is adding spices or flavoring to the water or using a different liquid source altogether, to bring some life to poached or steamed dishes.
10) Tea as a Seasoning
Tea is packed with antioxidants that protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer and other chronic diseases. Most varieties of tea also have a rich, earthy flavor. In 2014, expect to see a variety of dishes cooked with tea as an aromatic and flavorful seasoning.
Next year’s food trends are expected to comprise both a return to and a departure from the past, as can be seen in trends like the resurgence in the popularity of pickling, the return of steaming and poaching as cooking methods, and the emergences of new cooking trends like the use of nut milks and tea as cooking ingredients. In 2014, consumers will demand sustainable, locally-produced foods for themselves and their children, and increased emphasis will be placed on healthy cooking methods and healthy ingredients.
About the Author: Contributing blogger Alicia Madison holds a Master of Science in Nutrition and Wellness and has written for a number of food and nutrition blogs.