Chefs predict 2016's food trends

 West African chicken & peanut stew

As 2015 draws to a close, experts are prognosticating on what to expect for 2016. While it is almost impossible to predict some things (who could forsee the Cronut?), certain movements can be forecast. And who better than chefs to divine what the hot trends will be in the food industry? The National Restaurant Association thought so, surveying over 1,500 chefs to see what they thought would be the next big thing in the US. The chefs rated 221 items as either a hot trend, yesterday's news or a perennial favorite to appear on menus next year. 

According to the chefs, the biggest winner is African flavors, which was up by 20 percent. And where there's a winner, there must be a loser. That would be the category of underutilized fish, which fell by 11 percent, after being the fastest growing item last year. There were seven new entries in the top 20 trends: chef-driven fast-casual concepts, ethnic condiments/spices, authentic ethnic cuisine, artisan butchery, fresh/house-made sausage, house made/artisan pickles and street food/food trucks.

Other trends dropped out of the top 20, including artisan cheeses, which fell to 41, gluten-free cuisine, which plummeted to 45 and non-traditional or underutilized fish, which "fell precipitously to 101st place, with 40 percent of chefs saying it was yesterday's news." Topping that list was insects, which even though predicted to be a big trend for 2015, never quite caught on.

It seems that bacon-flavored chocolate may finally have hit its peak, as that trend also ranked near the top of the "yesterday's news", along with foam/froth air, molecular gastronomy, shrubs, and using liquid nitrogen to chill and freeze. What trends do you have your eye on for 2016?

Photo of West African chicken and peanut butter stew from The Guardian Cook Supplement

1 Comment

  • Agaillard  on  1/1/2016 at 11:18 AM

    Artisan cheeses drop??? Nooo - they are my favorite top trend, always and forever. Farmhouse Munster, Maroilles, Cheddar, Comte, Beaufort, Epoisses, Brie, I love you :) I agree for artisan butchers and ethnic or local condiment or spices. And would happily let the gluten free and other allergen free go, as well as their paleo friends !

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