Last year was all about nut milks, poke bowls, gut-friendly foods and vegan cuisine – so what’s on the cards for 2019? Here are this year’s hottest food trends…
Sri Lankan cuisine
Restaurants like Hoppers and The Coconut Tree, as well as M&S’ Taste Asia range, put Sri Lankan food on the map in 2018, and it’s becoming increasingly popular this year. “Before, Sri Lankan was lumped in with Indian cuisine but now, we’re not having an “Indian” anymore. It’s recognised in its own right,” says Emma Weinbren, food trends editor at retail magazine The Grocer. We’re going to be seeing more of dishes like kottu roti (fried vegetables, eggs, shredded roti and curry), and hoppers (bowl-shaped rice flour pancakes).
Meat-free and faux meat
Our attitude towards meat has changed dramatically in the UK in recent years, with plant-based eating, vegetarianism, veganism and flexitarianism on the rise. According to data seen by M&S, 3.5 million people now identify as vegan, 20 per cent of under-35s have tried veganism, and 25 per cent of our evening meals are now meat-free. Food outlets are changing to meet modern demands, and we’re seeing more and more meat alternatives appearing on menus. This year Whole Foods predicts the rise of jackfruit, which is regularly used in place of items like barbecue pulled pork, as well as faux-based meat snacks such as soy-based jerky and mushroom ‘bacon chips’.
“While plant-based foods aren’t exactly a new trend, our experts noted more people — even those who don’t eat only vegan or vegetarian — are exploring plant-based snacking as their palates crave adventure, want a break from meat or seek more ways to add savory umami flavors into snacks and meals,” Whole Foods says.
Praised for its health benefits, CBD oil is hot right now, with devotees swearing it helps with everything from sleep to pain relief. It’s creeping into our coffees and cocktails at healthy food spots like Wild By Tart, and this year Whole Foods predict we’ll see more and more hemp-based products gracing the shelves: “Hemp-derived products are going mainstream, if not by wide distribution, then by word of mouth.”
We won’t be saying goodbye to the hugely popular nut butter market, but seed butters will be joining the party this year. You can expect to see sunflower, pumpkin, and watermelon seed butters gracing the shelves, offering an alternative for those with nut allergies.
Frozen food makes a trendy comeback
Frozen food sales have soared 6.1 per cent since last year, in part thanks to fashionable new frozen meal ranges from brands like Deliciously Ella and meal delivery service byRuby. We’re also seeing a rise in guilt-free frozen goods as brands experiment with new ice cream bases such as avocado, hummus and tahini.
The battle against food waste isn’t a new one, but it’s set to gain more momentum this year, with wonky fruit and vegetables en route to going mainstream. Food once destined for the bin is now making its way onto high-end menus, with Mayfair hotspot Scully using corn silk to make syrup – the sort of thing we’re going to be seeing more and more of in 2019. Ocado buyer India Moore said: “We’re seeing exciting products made using misshapen fruit and veg that would otherwise go to waste, such as crisps and hummus. Eco-friendly searches on ocado.com leapt 93 per cent last year, and we can see this ‘rescued food’ trend gaining momentum in 2019.”
In part thanks to the eye-opening Blue Planet (which highlighted the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic waste which enters the seas each year), an increasing number of consumers are demanding recyclable, eco-friendly packaging. Waitrose now stock two new organic Chateau Maris wines in recyclable cans, while Carlsberg is gluing its cans together to create an easily snap-able bond, which will apparently remove 1,200 tonnes of plastic waste annually.
This year, Whole Foods predicts there will be “an even bigger emphasis on reuse”, with more outlets encouraging customers to bring their own bags, banning straws and reducing single-use packaging. Starbucks are saying goodbye to their iconic green straws, while Walkers are starting a recycling scheme for crisp packets in collaboration with Terracycle while they work on creating new types of recyclable packaging. An Oxford branch of Waitrose recently became the first to trial packaging-free shopping, offering consumers the opportunity to fill their own containers with a range of products using a dedicated refill station. “Some movements start as trends, then become necessities,” Whole Foods writes. “This is one of them.”
Pacific Rim-inspired flavours
Goji berries and acai, make way: guava, starfruit and dragon fruit are on the up, coming soon to a smoothie bowl near you. According to Whole Foods, Pacific Rim flavours will dominate the shelves in 2019, with a rise in flavours from Asia, Oceania and South America.
This year snacking will get a fancy upgrade, and we’ll be seeing more bite-sized luxury treats like prosciutto and aged mozzarella. To meet the increasing desire for “portable snack packages”, Whole Foods predict childhood snacks will return as new and improved versions, like gluten-free organic puffed rice treats and snack packs of cheese and crackers.
Whole Foods believe ocean-inspired greens, like seaweed butter and kelp noodles, are set to become big news. They also predict we’ll see more “puffed snacks made from water lily seeds,” as well as plant-based tuna alternatives, crispy salmon skins, and kelp jerkies.
If you’ve always dreamed of baking your own bread on a Sunday afternoon, 2019 may well be your year. According to Pinterest’s 100 top trends for 2019, bread baking is on the rise – particularly when it comes to fermented loaves like sourdough.
First we had micronutrients, then macros, and now it’s all about mesonutrients, chemical compounds which give many superfoods their edge. “They’re not micronutrients (like vitamins and minerals) and they’re not macronutrients (like carbohydrates or protein) – instead they sit somewhere in between. In fact, ‘meso’ comes from the Greek for ‘middle,'” explains Georgina Canfield, Registered Associate Nutritionist at AXA PPP healthcare.
Low and no-alcohol cocktails aren’t just for January. More and more of us are choosing to cut down our alcohol intake year-round, with the number of teetotal young people in the UK doubling in a decade. This year we’ll be seeing non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip pop up on cocktail menus around the country, alongside beverages with low ABV content.
Food from the ‘Stans
According to Baum + Whiteman, we’ll be seeing new spins on dishes from the likes of Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan – think dumplings stuffed with tarragon, cilantro, dill and spinach, as well as fancy new noodle creations.
Chefarmers and Chef Activists
More and more restaurants and hotels are partnering with urban city farms and local farmers to grow fruit and vegetables for them, hence the growing trend of the ‘Chefarmer’, who farms with menus in mind. There has also been an increase an chefs taking on activist roles on issues such as the environment and disaster food relief, which we’ll likely be seeing more of in 2019.