Campbell Soup unveils top 10 influential food themes for 2015

By Elaine Watson

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Campbell Soup unveils top 10 influential food themes for 2015

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From Filipino flavors to ancient grains, Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute (CCBI), a global network of chefs, bakers and culinary professionals, has released its second annual Culinary TrendScape report tracking the top 10 influential food themes for 2015.

The report is part of Campbell Soup’s culinary monitoring and tracking system that identifies the most impactful food trends and follows them as they evolve from the ‘Discovery’ stage, such as Filipino Flavors, which are popping up in upscale, independent restaurants; to the ‘Expanded’ stage, such as chili peppers, which have universal appeal and international availability.

The top 10 trends to watch in 2015 are:

FILIPINO FLAVORS​ (Stage 1, Discovery) – Southeast Asian fusion flavors like home-cooked adobos, lechon pork roasts and lumpia spring rolls are appearing in upscale dining, pop-ups and food trucks from NYC to LA, says CCBI:

It’s global fusion at its best, full of sharp, distinctive flavors that blend native, Spanish, Malaysian, Chinese and American traditions. Vinegar, garlic, soy sauce, fish sauce, calamansi lime, tamarind, bay leaf, annatto and smoked paprika are just a few mainstays of an eclectic Filipino pantry that our team is eager to explore.”

BREAD REVIVAL​ (Stage 2, Introduction) – Bread is on the rise, with a renewed focus on slow fermentation, natural leavens and alternative grains, says CCBI:

Breadbaskets and bread courses featuring chefs’ signature rolls and house-made butter have become a major menu offering, and artisanal toast is the latest affirmation that Elevated Simplicity has round-the-clock appeal.”

SEAFOOD AWARENESS​ (Stage 2, Introduction) – Depleted fish populations and inefficient trade practices have chefs practicing responsible sea-to-table consumption.

EATING WITH PURPOSE​ (Stage 3, Adoption) – An increasing focus on food for wellness has brought superfoods like quinoa and goji berries to mainstream restaurants, says CCBI:

Healthy eating is no longer about what you don’t​ eat. Foods with superfood status, like quinoa and goji berries, are showing up in a myriad of products, offering a value-added boost to beverages and snacks. We’re starting to see more Powerhouse Plates at restaurants as well, in dishes layered with thoughtfully selected foods that promise satisfying, optimized nutrition.”

FOOD IS FUN​ (Stage 3, Adoption) – Previously mundane chores like grocery shopping are becoming explorations for a growing number of enthusiastic home cooks and ‘foodies’ looking for inspiration, says CCBI:

Meal kits, subscription delivery services and cooking classes at supermarkets are making it easier for households to shift that mealtime mindset from chore to explore.”

MIDWESTERN ROOTS​ (Stage 3, Adoption) – Farm-to-table practices and a homegrown approach to cooking has American chefs rediscovering the Heartland.

FAST-CASUAL EFFECT​ (Stage 4, Mainstream) – Speedy service, upscale ambiance, premium ingredients and better-for-you menus promise elevated simplicity.

TEA TIME​ (Stage 4, Mainstream) – The popularity of tea has skyrocketed, thanks to its distinctive flavor profiles, upscale appeal, and implied wellness benefits, says CCBI:

Last year our beverage-inspired flavors trend signaled that Matcha and chai were being used as ingredients in the kitchen and bar, and this year chamomile and jasmine are filling the culinary trendscape as well​.”

REGIONAL BARBECUE​ (Stage 5, Established) – This is now an established trend, from the vinegary, whole-hog barbecue of Eastern North Carolina to the sliced beef brisket of Central Texas.

CHILI PEPPERS​ (Stage 6, Expanded) – North Americans are building up their heat tolerance with the expanding presence of jalapeño, chipotle and habanero peppers in unexpected categories such as cocktails, says CCBI:

The demand for spicy isn’t just about heat. It’s also about a complex layering of distinctive flavors that play on the pepper’s unique characteristics. Here at Campbell, we’re looking to Korea, Peru, Africa and Turkey for inspiration, while our chefs at Arnott’s in Australia are exploring the chiles of Mexico.”

Sprouted grains are really interesting trend

Tom Griffiths, CMC, VP, Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute, told FoodNavigator-USA: “Using hot chili peppers in cooking is obviously an established trend, but things are always evolving; I remember going to a farmer’s market in Hawaii and they had ghost peppers and they seemed so exotic, but they started getting onto menus really quickly.”

As for the bread revival trend, while parts of the packaged bread category have been struggling, saidGriffiths, there were pockets of opportunity.  

“Sprouted grains are really interesting trend, and there are so many opportunities for more artisanal products to enter the mainstream. I was at a conference in South Carolina and I remember seeing buttered toast in restaurants for $8 as an appetizer; and these wonderful artisanal breads with goat milk butters and ancient grains.”

Meanwhile, several of the above trends can work together, he said, noting that green tea was creeping into all kinds of confectionery, snacks and baked goods, for example. 

Read the full report HERE​.

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