The Future of Food: Food Network Kitchen Reveals the Trends to Look for in 2015

Stunt snacks, Soylent lunches and scoops of scrumptious ice cream: Food Network Kitchen forecasts what we’ll “order, eat, watch and read” in 2015.

What do Dewitos (that would be Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew), Candy Cane Candy Corn and Turkey & Stuffing Mini Doughnuts have in common? Yes, they are all things you’ve read about on this blog in the past few months. They are also a harbinger of things to come.

Food Network Kitchen has surveyed the food-trend landscape and gazed into its crystal ball to come up with its forecast for 2015, predicting what we’ll “order, eat, watch and read this year.”

First on the list? “Stunt Snacks” like Pumpkin Pie-Flavored Pringles and Oreo Churros. Consumer product companies “are forgoing the extensive testing and marketing work that comes with launching new products in favor of shocking tweaks to existing ones, grabbing consumers’ attention with a no-apologies celebration of the packaged and the processed,” the Food Network Kitchen team notes. In 2015 we can look for more “collisions of sweet and salty,” “candy bar-flavored sodas” and “flavors found nowhere in nature.”

Here are a few other food trends Food Network Kitchen predicts we’ll see more of in 2015:

Customization: Although high-end restaurants have increasingly embraced fixed menus, which allows the chefs to adjust them daily, fast and fast-casual eateries are heading in the opposite direction: giving customers the power to personalize what’s on their plates. These choices may be offered “within a tightly knit framework” — a la Chipotle — sort of a mix-and-match situation, only within parameters that essentially guarantee deliciousness regardless of selection, the team notes. Food Network Kitchen adds, “Consumers are happy in both scenarios — all the choice or none of it — as long as there’s a safety net and they know it’s going to be good.”

Liquidity: Chew on this prediction: In 2015 more people will drink their meals than ever, whether they’re sipping green juice, fruit smoothies or butter coffee, sucking down Soylent, or, um, “flavor vaping.” The team notes that liquid food is “a fast, convenient (and often-delicious) way to hack meal prep: getting your protein, vitamins and minerals in, on the go, with way less planning, preparing (and sharing), consuming and cleaning up.” They also suggest, however, that inhaling a liquid lunch doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy a solid dinner: “This trend is about fuel, ingesting your nutrients during the day so you can eat pizza in the evening.”

Gut Health and Digestion: Our collective obsession with yogurt was just the beginning. We’re already moving on to other “live culture, lacto-fermented and probiotic foods,” the team observes. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi and miso are going mainstream, and prebiotic-containing foods (bananas, asparagus, raw garlic), which give the healthy flora in your gut a boost, will soon join them there. Expect to see more fermented pickles and DIY sauerkraut on your food-nerd radar this year.

Tastes of the Middle East: “You already know about Greek yogurt, hummus, pita and the Mediterranean diet,” the team observes. In 2015 Eastern Mediterranean flavors will stake their claim to your shopping list. “Get ready for tahini, za’atar and pomegranate molasses,” Food Network Kitchen advises.

Going Granular: Rye, buckwheat, spelt and barley — 2015 will see us, increasingly, embracing grains: artisan Old-World breads, specialty rice, and “heirloom” and single-origin tortillas. You may find yourself excited about “fresh-milled” and “whole-milled” flours, and you may even find yourself milling your own grains, the team suggests. Yes.

Foods That Challenge: Spicy, sour, bitter — been there, tasted that. So what’s next for adventurous eaters? “We’re thinking difficult and challenging,” the team says, cleverly dubbing this category “uncomfort foods.” In the coming year, you can expect to relish “the burnt, the slimy, the stinky, the raw, the incendiary and the bet-you-can’t-handle-it food experience.” Burnt honey as a flavor and burnt toast powder as a spice: Who’s up for the challenge?

Vive la France: From croissants, cassoulets, confits and coq au vain to tarte tatins and terrines, “French food is cool again,” the team notes. “Chefs are going back to their culinary school roots with a return to tradition and technique.”

I Scream, You Scream: This year we’ll all be screaming for ice cream, perhaps as never before. It’s all about the adventurous and artisanal, as celebrated pastry chefs get into the scoop-shop biz. “Get ready for plenty of crazy (and crazy-delicious) flavors: vegetable flavors (sweet corn, beet), infusions of booze and smoke, ingredient-driven sophistication (cardamom-lemon jam, raspberry-orgeat), plus ice cream cookbooks galore,” the team suggests.

Stunt snacks, Soylent lunches and scoops of scrumptious ice cream? May 2015 find you and your loved ones happy, healthy and well-fed.

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