A new year…it represents freshness, the opportunity for change, the anticipation of something new. Being foodies who also work in the food industry, the beginning of a new year signifies many things but nothing more exciting than what’s trending on menus, television, in grocery markets and on the streets. We here at Nikken Foods spend a lot of time at the office (and at home), analyzing food trends through food blogs, websites, newspaper and magazine articles and sampling, of course. We also confess to watching the Food Network or Cooking Channel from time to time. Without further adieu (and a little drumroll, please), here are the food trends that we’ve uncovered and expect to inspire innovation in 2014.
- Order, pay, drive thru all from your mobile device or in-car touch screen. Also expect retailers like Amazon.com to grow and compete in the grocery market, as consumers will increasingly depend on online merchants for staples1.
- New Pan-Asian Flavors Gochujang, Shichimi Togarashi: Gochujang is made of fermented soybeans and chilis, gochujang is the glorious deep red paste responsible for giving Korean fried chicken its amazing taste. Shichimi togarashi, other than being fun to say, is an amalgam of chiles, dried orange peel, Sichuan peppercorns, sesame seeds (white and black), dried ginger, and seaweed. It is commonly known as Japanese Seven Spice.
- Fizzy, Bubbling Drinks: everybody loves a celebration and fizzy, bubbling drinks are the trend. Expect to see retailers with unique flavors accented with ginger and other sweet, spicy notes2.
- Creative spreads: EVOO served with the bread basket is being replaced by creative spread combinations like black garlic mostada, vanilla tapenades or unique treats liked smoked sea salt.
- Buckwheat: The Whole Grains Council has named buckwheat its grain of the month for December but food trend experts are naming buckwheat as the grain of the year for 2014. A naturally gluten-free whole grain; expect to see an increase in buckwheat in packaged pancake mixes and pastas.
- Move Over Kale, Make Room For Cauliflower! Its star began rising this year with a cauliflower pizza crust recipe. A natural in gratins, mashes and soups, the thickening properties of cauliflower and its favorable nutritional profile make cauliflower a healthy solution for casseroles. Expect unusual preparations such as a risotto where the “rice” is made out of grated cauliflower.
- Poaching: it’s not just with water: unexpected poaching liquids like sour beers or hickory smoked waters (using a smoking gun) to transform ordinary chicken or fish into flavorful dishes3.
- Sour beers: we here at Nikken are especially interested in anything made from the same microbes as miso, which is why sour beers are attracting our attentions and those of the food community for 20144.
- Tea and tea cocktails: handcrafted teas cocktails are in demand as are ready to drink cold teas in interesting flavors. Mixologists are crafting tea infused vodkas and gins and churning up satisfying libations.
- Ice cream sandwiches: move over cupcakes, the ice cream sandwich is making a comeback. Easy to eat with the ability to conjure up one’s childhood, the ice cream sandwich will present diners with a variety of spicy, sweet and savory combinations guaranteed to melt a few hearts5.
Now that the introductions to the expected food giants of 2014 have been made, Nikken will take some time over the next few months to delve into some of these with our own Nikken-twist on them. In the meantime, we hope that this holiday season finds you happy, healthy and prosperous.