How food trends are made

aquafabulous mayonnaise

We can all see the evidence of a food trend: bloggers and food writers discuss the subject, cookbooks are written about it, and social media feeds are full of images reflecting the trend. While it's fun to explore the new product, technique, or idea, it can also be interesting to investigate how the trend got its start. Popular NZ cookbook author and television personality Annabel Langbein recently explored this subject when she wrote about the forces behind recent food trends, and the trends themselves.

There are many different sources that can inspire new culinary movements. Social, environmental and economic changes all play a role. Says Langbein, "research around health drives some trends, others come about through immigration, climate change or, as I wrote recently, the discovery of new ingredients like the miraculous egg white substitute, aquafaba." (See Annabel's recipe for Aquafabulous mayonnaise, pictured above, for an example of this trend.)

She further illustrates the idea by discussing Thai sweet chilli sauce. Just a few years ago, finding this ingredient could involve several trips to different specialty markets, but now you can find it in nearly every supermarket. Langbein recently took a trip that went to several of the most influential cities for food and fashion trends. She has a list of six trends that she identified both at home in New Zealand and during her travels.

Right now one of the hottest trends involves putting vegetables front and center of the meal. "In case you hadn't noticed, vegetables are the new sexy," she notes, saying that "All over the globe, high-end chefs are doing fancy-pants things with vegetables, and making them the star feature on their menus." Hand in hand with this trend is the focus on heirloom varieties. Fermented foods are also popular now, as are apps devoted to cooking and the use of botanicals to replace artificial flavors and colors. 

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