There are many hot food trends this year. So far, most of them have one thing in common—they are plant based.
It’s all about the green
The biggest food trend in 2016 is vegetables, plain and simple. In fact, there are so many plants on American plates that NPR alluded that produce may be the “new meat.”
There are quite a few reasons for this shift. Chefs are beginning to use and create dishes with entire vegetables. “What used to go in the compost heap is now fermented, roasted or smoked and used in other dishes. The stem-to-leaf approach follows the example of nose-to-tail eating,” NPR reports.
This concept allows chefs to create tasty dishes while eliminating food waste. "Food waste has become a concern to the U.S. government as well as chefs," NPR adds.
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have set a goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030, calling in a joint statement to "feed people not landfills." The statement says food loss and waste account for about 31 percent (133 billion pounds) of the nation's food supply.”
Be prepared to see spiralized vegetables instead of pasta in dishes, more dried beans, peas, and lentils, and organic produce in recipes.
Other plant-based food trends
According to Paste Magazine, spices and vegan products were the bell of the ball during the 2016 Natural Foods Expo. The following are some of our favorite, meat-free trends from the Expo.
Vegan is in
Want to cut animal products out of your diet? This is the year to make the change. Food producers have discovered that people want easy, convenient, vegan substitutes and snacks.
One such product is Veggan, a powder vegan egg replacement for baking.
Vegan “dairy” products are gaining popularity, too. For example, Kite Hill Creamery has formulated a line of cream-cheese-like products from almond milk.
Turmeric, the healthy powerhouse of the spice world, is showing up in a lot of products this year. The anti-inflammatory spice is the main ingredient in RISHI Tea’s Turmeric Ginger Chai Concentrate.
Ayurvedic tonics are catching on, too. Many companies are formulating their own Golden Milk, a "traditional Ayurvedic tonic of turmeric, spices, and warm milk," Paste reports.
Jackfruit isn't a new meat alternative, but it's appearing in more products—think pulled-pork-like products, nuggets, meatballs—in 2016.
Other companies that produce alternative meat are also expanding their ranges.
Beyond Meat's pea protein chicken-style strips, Hodo Soy's Sichuan mapo tofu, Gardein's new breakfast pockets with meat-free sausage and vegan egg, and Vegetarian Plus Soy Jerky are just some of the tasty meatless options new to market this year.
Are you new to the meat-free lifestyle? If so, which of these plant-based food trends appeals to your taste buds?
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Image of vegetables in a store via Shutterstock