I’ve already introduced you to the top wellness trends this year and now I bring you my take on all things edible as I explore the futuristic food trends that are winging their way to our restaurants, plates and bellies in 2019 and beyond.
Sit back, grab your cutlery and get ready to drool… things just got tasty!
I first tried camel milk back in 2006 when I was on honeymoon in Dubai. We were staying at the Burj Al Arab for a few nights and had somehow not only managed to swing a good deal on the accommodation but had also inadvertently managed to wangle lots of extras into the bargain. One of which was a treatment at the hotel spa and a free mocktail – a mocktail made from camel milk!
Arab countries have been drinking camel milk for centuries, I mean it makes sense really doesn’t it? In the UK we have cows and so we drink cow’s milk, in Arabia they have camels therefore they drink camel milk. But somehow to us Brits it seems a bit odd, a bit exotic for our meat and two veg tastebuds. Well, as it happens that mocktail I had at the Burj all those years ago was really tasty and it turns out there’s a whole heap of health benefits to be had from drinking it too.
Camel milk has roughly 50% less fat than cows milk and is naturally probiotic, meaning it helps healthy bacteria grow in the gut. It also has high levels of protein, but interestingly does not contain the protein beta-lactoglobin that is found in cow’s milk, and which often causes allergic reactions. This means it is ideal for people who are lactose intolerant or are allergic to dairy. Other than tasting ever so slightly saltier than cow’s milk (yes I know, salty milk doesn’t sound all that great!) and slightly creamier, you really wouldn’t know the difference. But where on earth do you go about getting your mitts on some camel milk in this country? Well aside from a few specialist online stockists and Amazon (because Amazon sells everything, doesn’t it!?!) you can simply pop down to your nearest Asda. Yep you heard me, Asda sell camel milk!
It’s always good to try new things, so give it a go. Now, the only question that remains to be answered is… would you like one hump or two?
Part paleo, part vegan it’s time to say hello to the pegan diet – come on…. everyone loves a dietary mash up don’t they!
So there’s paleo, the diet more commonly referred to as the ‘caveman’ diet where you eat a load of meat and stuff you can hunt and gather, and then you’ve got vegan which is not eating any animal product at all. So forgive me if I’m wrong, but have we not got a bit of a problem here?
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the pegan diet must therefore be super strict over the foods you can and can’t eat. But no, as a matter of fact the pegan diet is way less strict and there are definitely loopholes to be found. Of course there are restrictions, I mean come on every diet has some kind of restriction right, and for the main part peganists (I may have just invented this word!) should be sticking by the rules of:
Can eat – veg, fruit, nuts, seeds, fish, meat, eggs, some oils.
Can’t eat – sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, processed foods, some refined oils.
So we’re back to the question of how can a diet proclaiming to be in any way vegan also allow the consumption of fish, meat and eggs. Confused? Me too!
Basically the ethos seems to be to eat real, whole food. Meat is fine, but we’re talking good quality, organic and ethically farmed meat and of course your fruit and veg should be organic. As a rule of thumb, roughly 75% of a pegan diet is made up of fruit and vegetables. In a bit of a traditional meat and two veg role reversal, meat becomes the side dish and veggies take centre stage in the pegan diet. However, we think it’s a great way of eating a balanced diet that only cuts out the things that deep down we know aren’t good for us anyway. We reckon the pegan diet is going to get way more popular in the next few years, as more and more people make the move to adopt a more plantbased diet but can’t quite handle giving up meat entirely.
OK so this is a bit of a cheeky one, but I’m totally going there! I invented the hashtag #FlapjackFriday probably about two years ago now and since then have gone on to create and make just under 100 different flavoured flapjack recipes.
Traditionally, flapjacks are made using plenty of butter and lots of golden syrup, however we all know that too much of either of these things isn’t good for us. So with a few simple swaps, such as reducing the amount of butter with fruit puree or replacing with coconut oil, or by taking out the syrup and replacing with a non-refined alternative such as maple syrup, agave nectar or honey, all of a sudden you’ve got a tasty treat that fares relatively well in the nutritional stakes as well.
Oats are one of the healthiest grains on earth and a little goes a long way, so you really don’t need much to keep you feeling full. They contain beta-glucans, which is a type of soluble fibre that helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. And because oats are digested nice and slowly it means blood sugar and insulin levels stay nicely evened out, something which goes a long way in helping reduce the production and storage of body fat. On top of this, oats are a rich source of magnesium, which is super important for enzyme function and energy production. This means that as long as you don’t stuff your homemade flapjacks with fatty rubbish, you are essentially creating the ultimate fitness food.
Flapjacks are actually way more versatile than you may first imagine, especially as they can be made to be either sweet or savoury. In fact you could even have a go at making your own savoury dessert with them (see below for more info on the ‘Savoury Dessert’ trend). Pretty much anything can go in a flapjack – trust me I’ve tried loads of different ingredients and flavour combinations and it is simply a question of taste and of course a bit of trial and error. From the more traditional Raisin and Apple, and Nutter Butter flapjacks; the pudding style Lemon Meringue, Peach Melba, and Blueberry Cheesecake flapjacks; the drink inspired Gin and Tonic, Pimms, and Guinness flapjacks; right through to the savoury specials of Marmite, and Feta and Tomato flapjacks, you mark my words… flapjacks are the foodie buzzword of 2019.
Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems, having been developed in India over 3000 years ago. Its principle belief is that the health and wellness of a person depends on an optimal balance of mind, body and spirit. Totally makes sense right, but not always so easily achievable in our busy modern day society.
Ayurverdic food is food that has been created especially for your body type, which in Ayurvedic terms will be either one of three types (or doshas if you want to get all technical!): Vata (air), Pitta (fire) or Kapha (water and earth). You can find out what body type you are by completing an online quiz.
As the famous Ayurvedic saying goes,
“When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use; When diet is correct, medicine is of no need.”
Sort your diet out, eat for your dosha as well as thinking about how you eat and at what time you eat and that should result in better health and wellness.
You can easily find out what foods you should be eating for your dosha type, and for the main part they are whole foods which of course we know are healthier for us than a diet high in processed foods. But because food manufacturers are hot on trends, there are of course some food products already out there that are aimed at the Ayurvedic market – and we predict this will only increase in the future.
Not yet available to the general public, although we say watch this space, heme (pronounced ‘heem’ from the Greek word for ‘blood’) is food sorcery of the very highest level. Since the increase in popularity of veganism, food manufacturers and restaurateurs have been obsessed with creating vegan food that looks like meat. But the thing is no amount of nuts, lentils, tofu or beans is ever going to make a veggie burger look like a full on meaty beef one. Well, not unless you inject a bit of heme into it that is.
Because you see, heme is basically plant blood. Yep, it is the blood of plants… well, it’s the protein in haemoglobin, the molecule that carries oxygen around the body or in this case the plant. And most importantly, it is red.
Tech-food start-up Impossible Foods use heme to bring a meaty quality to their plant-based burgers and part of that is to ensure it has the bloodiness of rare cooked meat. And if it can be done with burgers, imagine what other meats it can be used to help replicate!
Plant based products that contain heme are for the people who sit on the fence. It’s about creating flavours and textures that people recognise and love and allowing them to replicate the foods they miss most when become vegetarian or vegan. Heme products are ideal for pegan and flexitarian diets and as the number of people converting to these types of diet continues to increase, you can expect to see plenty more heme where that came from.
Ghee is a staple of Indian cooking and has been around for centuries. On the surface it’s arguably nothing special – it’s basically clarified butter, which is made by gently heating the butter and then scooping off the milk solids. This process means that there is less lactose in the end product and it will also keep for longer without needing to be refrigerated. Tastewise, it has a much purer, richer and some might say more luxurious velvety smooth taste than that of standard butter.
So what’s the big deal?
Well it seems that the image conscious celebs who are permanently on the look out for the latest functional food fad to help with their weightloss can’t get enough of ghee. And ever since Kourtney Kardashian raved about how ghee helped her stay slim and healthy, the big brands and food manufacturers want a slice of that buttery pie!
Since then a flood of ghee based products have emerged onto the market. From spiced and flavoured ghee to chocolate and ghee nut butters, and even ghee that contains medium chain triglyceride oil so that it can be stirred into coffee as a milk replacement.
As with all food products, you pretty much get what you pay for, and if you want high quality amazing tasting ghee it is essential you check that it has been made from the milk of grass fed cows. We think it’s ghee-licious!
Sales of cannabis oil and cannabinoid products have gone absolutely crazy recently, as the health benefits of medical marijuana has reached the mainstream and has become more accepted by the masses. But let’s get one thing straight before we continue, we’re not talking weed infused brownies or wacky backy chocolate chip cookies, no, cannabinoid (or CBD) is the non-psychoactive part of the plant so there’s no chance of getting high or experiencing the munchies!
Last November, the UK’s first vegan and vegetarian cannabis restaurant opened up in Brighton (obviously), selling a mixture of food and drink that has been infused with legal organic cannabinoid products. The Canna Kitchen see this as an opportunity to normalise the plant and to help educate people about its potential to boost appetite, ease pain, help with digestive problems and reproduction issues and to deal with stress or memory loss.
Our food trends tend to stem from those that have started firstly in America, and there are already an abundance of cannabis restaurants dotted across the states. The Mint Dispensary in Tempe, Arizona features cannabis infused burgers and pasta on its menu, and Prank a bar on 11th and Hope Streets in downtown L.A. uses terpene oil (it’s what gives flavour and smell to cannabis) in their legendary cocktails.
One thing is for sure and that is that CBD oil and food products are seriously switching up how we eat and we predict in the future there will be even more cannabis based products available as well as more cannabis cafes and restaurants for us to choose from.
Yep seriously, savoury desserts are a thing. If you’re a lover of a well stocked cheeseboard to round off a meal then you are gonna love this fab food trend, but if you’re more sweet than sour and you always check out the dessert menu before you order your main (just to make sure you can fit pudding in obvs.!) then I’m sorry but you are totally gonna hate this one!
I’m sure you’re all aware of the infamous snail porridge created by the gastronomic inventor come chef Heston Blumenthal, so the concept of a savoury dessert isn’t exactly new. However, with the war against sugar still well and truly raging it seems as though slowly but surely our tastebuds are changing and so too are our desserts.
Unexpected flavour pairings are cropping up all over the place. From parsnip and white chocolate cream to Stilton and apricot cheesecake (can totes see that working!) if you think about it we’ve already started using vegetables such as carrots, beetroot and courgette in cakes and you show me any vegan who hasn’t used avocado in a chocolate mousse! But things are about to get Willy Wonka crazy on our asses with chefs around the world vying to create the next savoury pud. Doughnut burgers, bacon cupcakes, sweet hummus (check out my sweet hummus recipe here) and of course savoury flapjacks (shameless plug number 2 😉 )
Savoury desserts are the ultimate guilt free treat and it seems that at the moment it’s the crazier the better. We predict there will be a savoury dessert bar opening in some trendy metropolitan city in the near distant future for sure.
In a world where we are no longer satisfied with doing one thing at a time, the mere thought of sitting down and just eating seems laughable. We’ve gone multi tasking, multi sensory crazy and are now demanding more from a restaurant than its food. Going out for a meal used to be saved for special occasions, however these days it’s more about convenience, wanting decent food without having to spend time cooking it ourselves and it’s about meeting up and socialising with friends. So if we’re paying a fair amount for our food and when there are so many restaurants to choose from restaurateurs are having to up their game to ensure their restaurant stands out from the crowd.
Immersive dining experiences range from eating in the dark at Dans le Noir? restaurant in Clerkenwell, London; engaging in water pistol fights, champagne spraying and jelly wars at Rascals, also in London; dining in the sky where diners eat from a table and chairs that are suspended 150ft in the air by a crane, at various locations across 40 different countries; dining with cats at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in East London; being served your dinner by prisoners in The Clink Restaurant, which is based inside an actual prison – HMP Brixton; and dining on interactive tables at Inamo in Covent Garden, London which allow you to order your food on virtual tablecloths as well as order your taxi home and do a bit of net surfing at the same time.
According to a survey carried out by Eventbrite, 75% of people questioned said that they believe unique dining experiences are worth paying more money for and three in four millennial consumers said they would rather pay for an experience than for a product.
Immersive dining experiences scream out for photos to be taken, videos to be made and for stories to be told, which is precisely what social media hungry modern diners are after. It needs to be something that is worthy of making its way onto their social media feeds otherwise it just isn’t worth them spending their money on it!
So there you have it, our round up of the food trends that are making their way into our worlds and that are set to continue making the future of our food experiences an exciting and truly tasty meal to remember.