For decades, restaurants and chefs have been the driving force behind emerging food and beverage trends. Due to their influence, ingredients like kale, exotic mushrooms and lemongrass have all become part of our vocabulary and meals. Another great example is sushi. Years ago, the only way to get it was by ordering off a menu. Now, it’s readily available in most neighborhood grocery stores. But, things seem to be changing. For now, restaurants don’t seem to be as focused on innovation, leaving room for a new wave of trendmakers. Local artisan food and beverage companies, food trucks and pop-up food fairs like Smorgasburg are breaking new ground with seaweed snacks, fermented health beverages and insect bars.
Have A Cold Brew … Coffee
The cold brew coffee trend that started about five years ago has gone mainstream. Brewed without heat over a longer period, it offers a less bitter taste that is appealing to many…particularly younger, first time coffee drinkers. Research firm Mintel reports cold brew increasing by 338.9% between 2010 to 2015. That growth and the fact it’s sold at higher price point has prompted Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts to add it to the menu. Fans can also find the popular drink in grocery chains, as well as brew it at home by using one of the many cold brew coffee systems now available.
Is Kelp the New Kale?
The reign of King Kale is coming to an end and sea vegetables are gaining traction. Sea vegetables, like kelp are fat-free, low in calories and rich in vitamins, minerals and iodine. They are also packed with flavor. Which is why chefs around the country have begun adding them into a wide variety of sauces and dishes.
Grocery Prices Falling, Restaurant Prices Rising
You’d think lower food costs would be a good thing for restaurants. But, it’s proving to be the opposite, according to Baum + Whiteman. Reduced pricing of meat, chicken, eggs and other essentials has allowed grocery stores to pass the savings along to the consumer, which in turn has motivated more people to eat at home. Additionally, restaurant prices are going up due to increased rents, wages and health care. According to the Chicago Tribune and a look at the government index on grocery prices, we saw a 2.2 percent decline in the prices at grocers … the largest drop since 2009. And, grocers are taking advantage by not only lowering prices, but offering options like raw bars for steamed shrimp, fresh oysters and hot items like pizza straight from oven. What’s on the horizon? According to the Wall Street Journal, hundreds of restaurants closed in 2016 and the trend could continue for the next five to ten years. In the immediate future, supermarket prices, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), are expected to rise between one and two percent next year. However, the USDA is predicting a ten percent drop in beef and pork over the next decade.