Sterling-Rice Group (SRG), Boulder, Colo., identified the Top 10 culinary trends that will stand out on restaurant menus, expand onto grocery shelves and attract consumer attention across the United States in 2017.
Broad and growing interest in wellness and the environment, as well as a strong desire to connect with international cultures, continue to be significant key factors influencing the way U.S. consumers eat and drink. In 2017, chefs and foodies will be inspired by ancient wellness philosophies and traditional cooking methods to create new and exciting menu items and elevated dining experiences.
Here are some cutting-edge trends:
1. Wake and cake. Have your cake and eat it—for breakfast? With recent science and research endorsing this diet strategy, in the year ahead, SRG expects more consumers to partake in this decadent post-breakfast trend.
2. Dosha dining. Long recommended as medicine by Siddha doctors (traditional Indian physicians), turmeric came into the spotlight in 2016 boasting its mega-health benefits and savory flavor. With sustained interest in food as medicine, consumers will take a deeper dive into the ancient practice of Ayurveda and eat for their doshas.
3. Plant butchery. Meat substitutes have graduated from seitan and soy with new options made from chickpeas, legumes and fungi. Mock meats are popping up in their own butcher-style storefronts, enticing a new generation to consider Meatless Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.
4. Food waste frenzy. With approximately 40% of food in the United States going to waste, restaurants and innovative food companies will increasingly serve up delicious food options using the whole fruit and vegetable—from seeds to rinds.
5. Snackin' sardines. In 2017, consumers will fish for more protein-rich snacks. High in omega-3s, protein and umami flavoring, sardines will move to the forefront as an uncomplicated yet elegant addition to any snacking situation.
6. Noodle on this. Noodle lovers who have long embraced Thai pad see ew, Vietnamese pho and fresh Japanese ramen are rediscovering Chinese lamian—or hand-pulled noodles—for both their taste and entertainment value. Watching a master noodle-smith knead, stretch and swing dough into strands for soup will be a new experience for eaters who not only enjoy good food, but also a good show.
7. Mocktail mixology. From non-alcoholic happy hours to stand-alone mocktail menus, beverages are being positioned as intricate and unique experiences that can be had without the hangover.
8. Get it goat. Low in calories, fat and cholesterol, goat is poised to become the next go-to protein in 2017. A great foundation for spicy and sour preparations, look for restaurants to feature goat in dishes, such as empanadas and lasagna.
9. Cook and connect. Chefs, home cooks and foodies are taking advantage of the sharing economy and coming together in a big and innovative way—from communal pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens to the fleet-farming movement.
10. Migratory meals. All over the world, people are moving; some by choice, others under duress. By celebrating their rich heritages and cuisines, large refugee populations are beginning to make culinary connections with their new home countries.
SRG's Culinary Trends 2017 report was compiled by an in-house culinary team and SRG's Culinary Council, a team of more than 175 chefs, restaurateurs and foodies.