Do you remember a time before quinoa? During 2015 we have seen many new ‘superfoods’ dominating our kitchens and no doubt many of us now wonder how we ever lived without them! If you can’t make a meal without your beloved kale, blueberries, coconut oil or avocado, hold on tight – brand new trends are coming for 2016.
We spoke to our Nutritional Therapist Manager Sarah Hughes to get the lowdown on the foods we’ll be finding on our plates in 2016, and to discover her predictions for the next big thing in food.
“Sarah, we’ve heard these are the food trends to hit our shelves in 2016, what’s your take on whether these are nutritious or just faddy?…”
Avocado oil to become the new coconut oil
“Yes this is being hailed as the new oil. It’s a nutritious oil made from the flesh of the avocado and like coconut oil has a high burn point for frying foods. It’s been used as a skin oil for years – it can soften rough dry flaky skin and also improve hair growth if massaged into the scalp. Avocados are not a cheap food and hence the oil is not cheap.”
Sriracha (hot sauce from Thailand)
“With our British love affair with Thai food it’s not surprising that this sauce is becoming more and more mainstream. Sriracha is a punchy hot sauce that is made up of chili, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar, but it does have a high sugar content. Those trying to shift a few pounds in 2016 should be aware and use it sparingly.”
Vegetable stalks (to minimise food waste)
“From a nutritional point of view I’m thrilled that vegetable stalks are started to be used more. Even 20 years ago we’d have been eating all of the vegetable and it’s only in the last 10 years that stalks and leaves from vegetables like celery and beetroot have ended up in the bin instead of on our plates. Many of the celebrity chefs are getting behind these campaigns – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for example – which is having a really positive effect on cutting food waste in our kitchens. In my mind broccoli stalks are tastier than the tops.”
Golden Berries (Peruvian)
“These berries from the Andes are being hailed as a new panacea for all ills. Beware when this happens as they will have a huge sales campaign behind them. These berries grow on vines and are dried in the sun and taste both sweet and tart. They are nutritious and full of antioxidants … but then so are blackberries and they don’t have to travel all the way from Peru.”
Savoury snacks to be more popular rather than sugary snacks – sugar deemed to be the ingredient to avoid
“This seems good idea initially, but many savoury snacks are high in salt and many additives. Eat clean and keep your savoury snacks simple by eating nuts and seeds – leave the ones coated with flavourings and colourants on the shop shelves.”
Bugs becoming more mainstream (not just in Asia)
“I predict that we will all be eating bugs as part of our diet in 10 years’ time and not just in bush tucker trials. It will be the norm as it is for many countries in Africa, Asia and South America. With our expanding populations we need more food sources and bugs are high in protein and low in fat. The idea of eating beetles, moths, grasshoppers, crickets, locusts and lice is repulsive to most of us in Europe but a way of life to many other countries. From a personal point of view I have eaten a meal made of ants in Africa; it was sweet, nutty and surprisingly good!”
Full fat products to be back on trend
“Hooray – how long have we had to bear the low fat/no fat trend that we now know just meant high sugar and has not helped people lose weight? We will see the demise of the low fat label, but beware that the rise of the gluten free label is taking its place. “Gluten free” labels are being added to foods that never go near a glutinous grain.”
Seaweed to be the new kale
“Seaweed has been a staple of China and Japan for thousands of years and with the abundance of it around our shores it always surprises me how long it’s taken to be part of our everyday menu. It has been used in the food industry for years for its gelatinous properties but has only been used as a sea vegetable by a small minority until now where it is seen more on the shelves and is a high mineral food. Again, with the growth of the population I predict seaweeds or sea vegetables will take on a larger role in our diet in 2016.”
“What foods do you see becoming more mainstream next year?”
“Teff is becoming more mainstream – it’s not just found in London restaurants anymore. The non-gluten grain, which is a seed from Ethiopia, is similar to quinoa and millet but smaller so cooks quicker. It’s high in protein, calcium and iron and a great alternative carbohydrate. The flour can be used in baking too.”
“Like buckwheat and quinoa amaranth is a seed rather than a grain and is therefore gluten free. Historically it was a staple of the Aztec diet. High in antioxidants, high quality protein, cholesterol lowering phytosterols, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, it has many nutritional benefits. Try adding sprouted amaranth grains to salads & sandwiches. Amaranth flour is gluten free, however it does have a bitter taste so in baking only use 10-15%.”
“These ancient foods are having a resurgence, and have quickly become more mainstream. Traditional diets around the world were based around fermented foods, and fermenting was once an essential skill needed to preserve milk, meat, fish, fruit and vegetables throughout the seasons. Many of us may remember our grannies pickling vegetables and keeping in jars in the larder to be eaten throughout the year, especially in the depths of winter when there’s very little fresh produce available. Pickling is a form of fermentation. By eating fermented foods we are consuming higher levels of beneficial bacteria which are present in the fermentation process. These foods can improve our gut flora and go on to give us more energy and improve immunity as well as gut health. Fermenting is a very simple process and can be done at home. However fermented foods can be shop bought too such as sauerkraut (cabbage) or kimchi (spicy oriental sauerkraut), tempeh (fermented soya beans), kefir (milk) and miso (soybeans). Fermented foods are showing up more and more in restaurants as the on trend ingredient to be using.”
“This sugar has a subtle taste, a slightly caramel flavour a little like brown sugar. Made from the sap of the flower buds of the coconut tree this sugar has been used traditionally in Asia for centuries. It is becoming more and more popular in health food stores and recipes, as it has a lower glycaemic index than sugar meaning it doesn’t spike our blood sugar levels. The downside is it’s more expensive than sugar.”
Beef Dripping and Lard
“Beef dripping and lard are making a comeback amongst many chefs and nutritional therapists. Beef dripping is a rendered fat i.e. the fat is separated from the bone, meat and connective tissue and what is left is a clear liquid. It is an incredibly tasty fat and dripping sandwiches were a post war staple. Several chefs are going back to the old ways of cooking and using beef dripping as it is both nutritious and tasty. Likewise, lard is pig fat. There was always a jar of this in most households following the Sunday roast which would then be used during the week to fry and cook other foods with. Lard has a very high burning point unlike oils like olive oil which should not be used for frying – just for a quick stir fry. Lard is cheap and again like dripping it’s using the whole animal so practical and cost saving and gives a wonderful flavour to roast potatoes.”
New Food Blues?
From new food trends to New Years’ resolutions, 2016 may well see you getting more adventurous in the kitchen. But if you find you stomach is less excited about the changes, there is an easy way to confirm whether something you’ve introduced into your diet isn’t working for you. The Food&DrinkScan Programme analyses your reactions to 158 food and drink ingredients to pinpoint the foods you needs to avoid. Find out more.