Opinion: Why I'll be avoiding 2019's food trends
PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 December 2018
Emily Cashen is baffled by the foodie predictions for the New Year and says she’d rather eat ice cream.
It’s that time of year again – the trend-forecasters are making their food predictions, anticipating the hot new ingredients and flavours that might hit our plates in the year ahead. So what’s on the menu for 2019? Will the New Year take us on a culinary trip around the world, filling our plates with rich and indulgent flavours and tantalising our taste buds with hearty, decadent dishes? According to the trend-setters, we can expect quite the opposite. The focus is once again on lightness and wellness, as our current obsession with ‘clean eating’ shows no signs of abating. Just four years ago, the food predictions for 2015 featured a host of delicious and unapologetically rich dishes, from poutines and soul food to barbecue and burgers. In the years since then, ‘carb’ has become something of a dirty word in the food scene, with health-focussed chefs telling us to avoid starchy foods like the plague.
In a remarkably short space of time, the conversation around food has shifted from flavour and indulgence to cleanness and leanness. While we should all strive to eat a healthy diet, we seem in danger of forgetting the pleasure that comes with food. Life is about balance, so it is somewhat concerning to see forecasters predicting a rise in restricted eating and self-denial. After all, food is more than just sustenance – it should be shared, enjoyed and celebrated....shouldn’t it?
Let’s take a closer look at the food trends tipped for mainstream success in 2019. Avoid or indulge at your own whim!
According to Dutch food design agency Studio Bordewijk, food swaps are back on the menu. These so-called ‘food-hacks’ involve substituting a supposedly unhealthy meal component with a less calorie-rich ingredient. In other words - swapping something delicious for something rather unappealing. Think cauliflower pizza bases, courgetti, broccoli rice and chickpea crisps. Yes, you might succeed in cutting out some calories by making this kind of food swap, but at what cost? When you’re in the mood for a warm, comforting bowl of spaghetti Bolognese, spiralised courgette just won’t cut it.
Alternatively: If you’re looking to up your veg intake but don’t want to say goodbye to carbs - why not make a leafy salad to accompany your pasta or pizza dish, or throw some extra veggies in with your curry and rice?
Gut-healthy drinks rich in probiotics such as kombucha and apple cider vinegar are both experiencing a surge in sales, winning over consumers with their long list of alleged health benefits. These ‘miracle drinks’ are said to ease digestion and boost immunity, but their credentials are widely disputed. While some converts swear by starting the day with an apple cider vinegar shot, for many of us, its rumoured benefits can’t quite tempt us to reach for a morning acidic brew.
Alternatively: Fermented foods such as kimchi, tempeh and pickles are all rich in probiotics, or you could always grab a yoghurt if you’re feeling less adventurous.
Yes, really. You may have spotted this fuzzy green growth setting up shop on your garden fence, but next year you might be more likely to encounter lichen on your dinner plate. As many top restaurants look to embrace the continuing trends of indigenous ingredients and urban foraging, a number of high-profile chefs have begun to incorporate the unusual ingredient into their recipes. There are various different types of lichen, but in general, this mossy organism is said to have an earthy, mushroomy flavour.
Alternatively: If lichen is a bit too far outside of your culinary comfort zone, then why not try a more traditional delicacy? Rich in umami flavour, lichen has been compared to truffles. Whether shaved on top of a pappardelle pasta dish or folded into a homemade mayonnaise, 2019 could be the year to experiment with this decadent ingredient.
Tap water simply won’t cut it any more. In 2019, we’ll all be quenching our thirst with luxury water – or so says The Future 100 report, published by JWT Intelligence. Launched earlier this year, fledgling water company Szent promises consumers that their luxury beverage will allow them to “experience water all over again”. The brand places a small ring loaded with scents underneath the cap of its bottles, releasing aromas such as tangerine and mint as customers down their (unflavoured) water.
Alternatively: Do your bit for the planet and ditch bottled water for good. Invest in a good quality reusable bottle, fill it up in the morning and get into the habit of bringing it with you wherever you go. You’ll create far less waste and you’re sure to feel more hydrated, too.
‘Nicecream’ is the fruit-based soft serve that’s been taking the health food world by storm. Originally, nicecream referred to blended frozen bananas, but the term has come to encapsulate any form of fruit-based, dairy-free frozen treat – so long as it is free from added sugars, artificial flavours, colours and preservatives. Organic retail giant Whole Foods predicts the ‘nicecream’ craze to grow in 2019, with a new selection of soft-serve hitting the market. “The new pints on the block are adding a fresh take on a timeless treat with innovative bases like avocado, hummus, tahini and coconut water,” says the US grocery chain.
Alternatively: If hummus ice-cream isn’t for you, don’t despair.
There are plenty of low-calorie ice-cream options filling the supermarket shelves, ready to satisfy your sweet treat cravings. Or just grab a tub of the full-fat stuff. Life is too short for ice-cream guilt!