Foods, just like fashion, have their moment in the spotlight and what may be considered the ‘in’ thing at the moment, by next year will have been banished into the deep, dark depths of your store cupboard never to be seen or used again.
Waitrose have recently released their annual consumer trend report, which details the foods and drinks we have been buying more of and those that are no longer proving as popular.
Here are the findings from the 2015 report:
- Pre-chopped frozen fruit – The continued rise in popularity of smoothies and juices has meant more people are buying conveniently prepared frozen fruit. Most people consume smoothies/juices for breakfast or as an ‘on the go’ snack, so speed and convenience is crucial. Frozen fruit that has already been stoned, chopped, peeled etc. may be more expensive to buy, but ‘time is money’ and most people would rather pay that little bit extra and have a longer lie in of a morning, than having to set an alarm to get up and peel, core, chop and juice an apple!
- Medjool dates – These large, sumptuous, juicy dates have seen a sales increase of 16% throughout 2015, something that has been attributed to Ella Woodward, founder of Deliciously Ella. Ella was diagnosed with the rare illness Postural Tachycardia Syndrome back in September 2011 and deciding to take matters into her own hand she changed her diet to include whole and plant-based foods and to cut out meat, dairy, sugar, gluten, anything processed and all chemicals and additives. Her blog includes a variety of recipes all of which use raw, natural ingredient, such as Medjool dates, and we’ve got to say her Date and Oat Bars are pretty hard to beat!
- Date nectar and maple syrup – 2015 saw the war on sugar rage on, but we are still very much a nation with a sweet tooth. Date nectar and maple syrup are naturally sweet foods, which means not only are they are better for us, but they also have the added benefit of being incredibly flavourful, meaning we can use less of them when we add it to our food.
- Cacao bars – We also LOVE chocolate, but because we have all become a lot more health conscious we are choosing to consume healthier, more natural alternatives, such as cacao. And we like it best when it is conveniently added to our snack bars. Sales of cacao bars in 2015 have risen by a whopping 37%.
- Courgettes – Anyone who’s anyone has invested in a Spiralizer this year; the nifty gadget that allows users to turn vegetables into healthy strands of spaghetti. Courgettes are one of best vegetables to use for this, as they are hard enough to not turn to mush, but still soft enough to cook quickly and retain their flavour. In fact using courgettes for this purpose has become so popular amongst people who want a pasta alternative, that it has been given it’s own name – courgetti. Just think, you could have Courgetti Bolognaise, Courgetti Vongole or maybe even Alphabetti Courgetti!
- Soya milk – Almond milk and coconut milk have stolen the crown away from this non-dairy alternative.
- White sugar – Sugar is our new worst enemy and as such sales have seen a dramatic decline, with natural alternative (see above) being considered the healthier choice.
- 75cl bottles of wine – The traditional wine bottle size has struggled to sell this year, with people favouring more convenient, travel friendly individual-sized wine bottles, which saw sales rise by 25 %, and larger sized bottles that people have been buying as presents.
A lot can happen in a year and, as these findings prove, we can be pretty fickle with what we chose to buy. In most cases it is because of what we have read or been told about by the media that determines our food choices, which is why we have researched and put together a list of foods, drinks and health innovations that we think are likely to tantalise our tastebuds throughout 2016.
3D Meal Printing
The biggest, most revolutionary technological advancement in food science is the prospect of 3D Meal printing. Sounds too ridiculous to be true right? But this futuristic technology is currently being developed in various labs across the world. The concept is that base materials would be fed into a machine, which can then be programmed to produce an end product that has personalised nutritional benefits. The implications of what this technology could do for the future of our society is staggering. Not only can food have custom-designed flavours, colours and nutritional benefits, but it can also be produced very quickly, which will have incredible impact in times of crisis. Being able to produce nutrition heavy food, that can be produced quickly and in easily transportable shapes, could make all the difference when sending aid to refugee camps and famine stricken areas. A team of scientists at the National University of Ireland Galway have joined up with Concern Worldwide to also develop the technology to produce 3D printed tools, which would help smallholders in Kenya improve farming and local food production. It is absolutely amazing stuff and something many of us would imagine only ever seeing in a science fiction movie. For those of us living in first world countries, we can expect to see 3D meal printing add a fun element to our food, with exciting new flavours, colours and shapes that will make us feel exactly like children in a sweet shop. Watch this space…
Not a day goes by when we’re not told about the powerful health benefits of the latest liquid elixir that will prevent all illnesses, solve our health concerns and help us lose weight. There’s been coconut water, soy milk, green tea, Kombucha, smoothies, juices, vitamin enriched water, aloe, probiotics, the list goes on and on. The latest offering, set to hit our stores in 2016, is artichoke water. Yes, it sounds hideous doesn’t it? But, apparently artichoke water has a very sweet taste and along with the fact it is rich in magnesium, potassium and vitamin C as well as containing just 30 calories per serving, we’re pretty certain we’ll have all bought some by the end of the year.
2015 has been the year for Prosecco, so what can expect our nightly tipple to be during 2016? Well, scientists are currently working on inventing an alcoholic drink that doesn’t give you a hangover. Professor David Nutt from Imperial College, London, is developing a substance similar to benzodiazepine, which will allow drinkers to enjoy the pleasant affects you can experience when drinking alcohol, but you won’t actually get drunk, which therefore means no morning hangover. If this actually happens, it could revolutionise the alcohol industry, but it may seriously affect the fast food industry and the good old English fry up!
Apologies if you happened to be eating or drinking whilst reading this, but it’s honestly not as disgusting as it first sounds. UNICEF has come up with a concept machine that would allow the filtration of sweat into drinkable water. Simply by placing a sweat drenched garment into the machine, it will then filter out impurities and produce clean water. Unfortunately, the cost of doing this is far more expensive than the current cost of purification tablets, however it is cheaper than the water purification system currently used on the International Space Station. Anyone fancy a glass of sweat?
Other foods expected to see a surge in popularity in 2016 include:
- Golden berries
- Sprouting seeds
- Brazilian BBQs
- Persian inspired food
- Home smoked foods
There are a lot of very exciting things happening in the food industry at the moment and as the number of people who change their diets to become healthier and more nutritionally balanced continues to rise, we can only expect even more exciting things to come in the future.