2017 food trend predictions

Food experts predict the hottest food trends for the upcoming year.

Each year the National Restaurant Association (NRA), major grocery store outlets, food magazines, and others offer predictions for the hottest food trends for the upcoming year. Annually, the National Restaurant Association surveys approximately 1,300 professional chefs from around the U.S. to determine the Top 10 hot trends. For 2017, these include:

  1. New cuts of meat (new and affordable cuts)
  2. Street food-inspired dishes (often from other cultures)
  3. Healthful kids’ meals (whole grains, fruit, salads, and lean protein)
  4. House-made charcuterie (cured meat using all parts of an animal)
  5. Sustainable seafood (consumers are demanding to know more about where their seafood is coming from and how it is harvested)
  6. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items (chorizo, breakfast burritos, etc.)
  7. House-made condiments
  8. Authentic ethnic cuisine (largely due to millennials with adventurous palates)
  9. Heirloom fruits and vegetables (increasingly chefs are noticing that customers are interested in where their food comes from and how it is grown)
  10. African flavors (increasing demand for international food)

Rounding out the top 20 are more ethnic based ingredients, house made products like sausage and pickles, whole and protein rich grains, artisan cheeses and more. The NRA also produces a list of the top ten concept trends, trends by category, and more. For a complete breakdown of the top food trends please visit the National Restaurant Association report.

Largely based upon consumer preferences, Whole Foods Market also recently released their predictions for the top food trends as well. The variety of “wellness tonics” that include products claiming to have anti-inflammatory properties like turmeric or apple cider vinegar, will likely increase in popularity. Also look for products containing coconut, purple food (chips, cauliflower, cereal), creative condiments, pasta made from alternative grains like quinoa and lentils, and Japanese-inspired food beyond sushi to account for a larger share of consumers’ food budgets. Whole Foods experts also predict more “mindful” purchasing and meal preparation as many consumers attempt to eat healthier meals and reduce food waste.

Finally, the market intelligence firm MINTEL, also recently announced its predictions for the top global food and drink trends for 2017. These food trends include: higher demand for ancient grains; unprocessed whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and herbs; creative uses for imperfect foods to reduce food waste; time saving recipes; calming food and drink, especially for evening consumption; and an increasing emphasis on healthy food for all regardless of socioeconomic status. As Mintel analyst Jenny Zegler suggests, “This year’s trends are grounded in current consumer demands for healthy, convenient, and trustworthy food and drink”.

Taken together, the 2017 food trends seem to suggest an ever increasing focus on locally grown foods, increasing demand for “whole” foods, a desire for more ethnic-based food, and an overall interest in healthy eating.

For more information about local food, farming, and community food systems, please contact MSU Extension educators who specialize in Community Food Systems or contact your local Michigan State University Extension office. 

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