Post Categories: January 2016

Trending Tastes: Elevating the Eating Experience—Top Trends for 2016


Each winter, culinary experts predict what foods and flavors will change the dining landscape in the coming year. For 2016, it’s all about elevating the eating experience—through exotic spices, unique cooking preparations and better-for-you ingredients.

#1 – Spice It Up!

Several leading flavor experts are predicting bold or unusual spices and unique combinations will have a big role to play in the hottest food trends of 2016. In its 2016 Flavor Forecast McCormick & Company says we’ll see more hot and tangy combinations, such as Peruvian chilies with lime and Pinoy BBQ—a popular Filipino dish flavored with pepper, soy sauce, lemon, garlic, sugar and banana ketchup.

Meanwhile, food research and consulting firm Technomic is betting the “Sriracha effect” will extend to other spices, such as harissa, sumac and dukka from North Africa and ghost peppers from India. Similarly, commercial flavor company Comax predicts the recent lifting of the U.S.-Cuba embargo will drive demand for Cuban flavors such as sofrito, mojito and toasted coconut flan.

#2 – Roasted, Toasted and Brined

Not only will spices influence the top flavor trends this year, so will preparation techniques. Pickling, roasting, smoking, brining and even burning are tops on many experts’ lists. For example, McCormick & Company predicts we’ll see unique beverage infusions like pickled watermelon and bruléed sugar, while Comax is rolling out several similar flavor options, including pickled artichoke, roasted strawberry and smoked avocado. Technomic predicts more chefs will experiment with charred vegetables and fruits, burnt-sugar toppings on desserts and cocktails featuring smoked salt, smoked ice or smoky syrups.

#3 – Healthy Halos

Beyond flavor, nutritional and health benefits (real or perceived) will also factor into many food trends this year. McCormick predicts shoppers will be looking for more dishes that incorporate foods that not only taste good but also have specific health benefits, such as omega-3 rich chia and flax seeds, antioxidant superstar turmeric and low-fat, low-cholesterol vegetable proteins such as pigeon peas and beluga black lentils.

Technomic predicts there will be a big push for non-GMO foods, as shoppers continue to question the safety of genetic modification. They also expect a rise in fresher, healthier fast food options as more consumers seek to eat well while still maximizing convenience and minimize cost.