When one idea becomes a trend in the food industry, it opens the door for another. Such is the case with a revival in traditional French cuisine, to the use of traditional fats like butter in everyday cooking. (In fact, some brands are now promoting their products’ high fat content.) That’s what Thomas Griffiths, Master Chef and VP of Culinary at Campbell, told FoodNavigator-USA.
Griffiths, of course, was helped by a network of other chefs, bakers, and food professionals to compile the Culinary TrendScape report for 2016.
“The report is part of Campbell’s culinary tracking system that identifies and categorizes the most impactful food trends and follows them on their journey as they evolve through six distinct stages,” a press release said.
The influences can fall into one of six categories, starting from Stage 1, Discovery, where industry professionals are playing with something new or reviving something that has remained dormant, to Stage 6, Expanded, where there is “universal appeal and international availability.”
Get on the veggie wagon
Griffiths said that the Veggie 2.0 influence is something the CPG industry should see as a golden opportunity. “Right now, we're seeing such an explosion of consumer interest in fresh foods. There is a real opportunity in this area, so much so that we formed an entire division around it called Campbell Fresh,” he said.
Another exciting influence that Griffiths noticed was the hearth in the kitchen (or more specifically, restaurant kitchens). “I think the Cooking with Fire trend is interesting, because it’s a technique that has been around for so many years, yet chefs are taking it to another level lately,” he said. “We're seeing live hearths pop up in restaurants all over the country, where chefs will cook on an open flame, sometimes deliberately burning foods to give it added taste or texture. We're also seeing specialty woods and charcoals become more commonplace, even finding their way onto menus.”
Here’s a quick snapshot of the list, courtesy of Campbell:
- Cooking with Fire (Stage 1, Discovery) – A return to the simplest form of grilling, chefs are embracing wood-fired grills for cocktails, appetizers and even desserts, deliberately burning dishes, and incorporating specialty woods and charcoals to intensify flavor.
- Authentic Thai (Stage 2, Introduction) – A step beyond traditional Thai. Homestyle dishes found throughout Thailand, like khao soy curry noodle soup, are hitting independent restaurants.
- French Revival (Stage 2, Introduction) – Timeless dishes and traditional pastries are back in the comfort food limelight at a new wave of French bistros and cafes.
- Inspired Ice Cream (Stage 3, Adoption) – The ice cream category is being reinvented one scoop at a time with bold new flavors like chorizo-caramel, hibiscus-beet and black pepper-butter pecan.
- Traditional Fats (Stage 3, Adoption) – Fat is back. Rendered chicken fat, beef tallow, pork fat, nuts and seeds of all varieties and even avocados are in fashion despite their high fat content.
- Veg 2.0 (Stage 3, Adoption) – The veggie revolution has expanded beyond kale to carrots wellington, beet tartare and zucchini pasta noodles.
- Asian Noodle Soups (Stage 4, Mainstream) – Creative ramen and Vietnamese pho continue to rise in popularity.
- Haute Dogs (Stage 5, Established) – New takes on the All-American classic include Vietnamese banh mi flavored links, mac-n-cheese garnishes and croissant buns.
- Simple & Real (Stage 5, Established) – The demand for wholesome food options with fewer and simpler ingredients is causing companies to become more transparent about how their food is made.
- Caramel (Stage 6, Expanded) – Caramel is here to stay and has found a home in a wide range of categories from coffees to cocktails.