This is the first Food Non-Fiction episode of 2016, so we are going to talk about food trends. This episode will cover how to spot food trends, how to track food trends and what food trends we can expect in 2016.
Using the New York Times' Chronicle tool, writer Neil Irwin came up with the Fried Calamari Index to track food trends by looking at the frequency at which the NYT mentioned various foods.
Culinary trendologist, Christine Couvelier, forecasts food trends by going to food shows around the world, talking to chefs, visiting grocery stores/gourmet retail stores, and looking at food magazines.
Christine says that food trends start at industry food shows around the world where food companies show their new food ideas. Some ideas are adopted in restaurant menus and the successful flavours then become available in specialty stores and magazines. From there, certain foods make it to grocery stores, thus becoming widespread and easily available to the average consumer. This is the path that balsamic vinegar has taken and this item is now commonplace in kitchens.
In 2016, we can expect to see the flavour combination of sweet and heat. We can also expect new flavours of hummus, as well as vegetable yogurts. Continuing on from 2015, vegetables will be more and more central to dishes. Rather than simply being the healthy option or a garnish, vegetables will be used in enticing new ways - grilled, charred, roasted and smoked.
2016 has been deemed the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, so we'll be encouraged to use pulses like chick peas, beans and lentils.
Thank you to our fascinating interviewees:
Christine Couvelier of the Culinary Concierge
Dr. Sylvain Charlebois of the University of Guelph
Special thanks to the musician, truekey, for writing music for Food Non-Fiction: