A mid-year food outlook: A look back at early ’16 food trends and what delicious obsessions are ahead

August 4th 2016

As we’re well into 2016, it’s time to look at our recent food obsessions, future trends and much-anticipated culinary crazes.

The first half of the year has seen many food ventures take off. Home-cooked meals are becoming increasingly popular thanks to the growing number and appeal of meal delivery kit services, from Blue Apron to Plated to HelloFresh. They all provide easy-to-follow recipes and make it easy for anyone to cook a delicious meal with fresh ingredients, organic vegetables and sustainably-sourced proteins.

Traditional restaurant delivery is getting an upgrade with companies such as Chef’d who contract Chefs to prepare meals exclusively for delivery service. Think David Chang-backed Maple, Chefery in Las Vegas, and Gather, launched by Seattle chef James Perch: the reasonable prices, seasonal menus and exclusive, curated experience by a chef gives traditional restaurant delivery a run for its money.

For those who like to be overwhelmed by delicious food choices, the development of food halls across the country is offering culinary aficionados a new way to eat out and travelers new places to discover for local food bites. Even Anthony Bourdain is jumping on the bandwagon: he’s curating exceptional food vendors to serve sought-after dishes at one of the most anticipated food markets in the world (opening is slated for 2019 at Pier 57 in New York).

While 2015 was the year of the avocado toast, 2016 is shaping up to be the year of poke, a raw fish salad from Hawaii that has taken Los Angeles and New York City by storm. Poke bars are popping up everywhere, and the healthy benefits of the dish make it an extremely popular lunch or dinner choice. Our team is especially excited about the opening of a poke bar just a few blocks from our Union Square office!

With so much excitement within the first half of the year, it’s hard to predict what will come next. A recent story in New York Magazine’s Grub Street pointed out that edible insects are the future of food, explaining that “insect-gobbling has long been advanced-level epicureanism, a globalist adventure,” and is meant to become a standard practice for food aficionados. I am curious to see if this trend will actually take off.

A more reasonable assumption is the continued popularity of meals in the form of bowls: acai bowls for breakfast, poke bowls for lunch or quinoa bowls for dinner. We will see more iterations of those bowls as consumers discover more grains such as farro, teff, bulgur, buckwheat, and barley.

Finally, I am mostly excited about seeing key players in the culinary industry work together. We were already spoiled by some fantastic food collaborations: Dominique Ansel and Alex Stupak creating an ice cream taco, and the team from Ample Hills Creamery partnering with Four & Twenty Blackbirds to develop an ice-cream-and-pie mash-up named Walt and the Blackbirds. More collaborations are in the works and I cannot wait to see – and, obviously, taste – what comes next!

 

Amelie is an Account Supervisor on Mfa’s Travel & Hospitality division, leading a team that excels at reaching travelers and the food-obsessed community through integrated earned, owned, paid and shared media campaigns. A native of France, she developed a passion for food and travel at an early age and loves that her job allows her to travel and eat her way through the United States of America. 

 

Photo credit: FCSI.org

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