SN's Jon Springer with Kara Nielsen from the Sterling-Rice Group
Food trends in 2015 will be marked by more sophisticated tastes aided by travel, technology and the entrepreneurial Millennium generation. This will result in deeper explorations of ethnic cuisines, exotic ingredients and new cooking methods along with a concurrent emphasis on local and fresh, according to Kara Nielsen, culinary director of Sterling Rice Group.
In an interview with SN, Nielsen said she expects Asian influence to emerge in more “true-to-region” Asian foods, bring “fattier and funkier” tastes like tangy Fillipino cuisine. In grocery stores, this trend could emerge in the condiment aisles and in frozen foods, she said.
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Likewise, Sterling Rice forecasts new attention toward coconut sugar as a sweetener and Japanese matcha tea — each riding demand for vitality and wellness — as well as binchotan, an oderless Japanese charcoal she said allows food to cook fast and retain its natural flavors.
At the same time, Nielsen said, interest in local foods will deepen. She predicts that producers will look to locally grown grains as an ingredient in foods like pasta and breads, and savvy stores will allow shoppers to mill local whole grains on-site. “One think I’d like to see in 2015 are supermarkets bringing in a mill where people can buy local whole grains and mill them to order, in the same way we see coffee beans ground in the grocery store.”
Creative craft brewers already have a movement in full swing, but Nielsen said she expects flavors will shift behind a wider variety of ingredients, broadening taste profiles beyond the hoppy styles in fashion today. Seasonings known as gruits — herbs, spices and aromatics — are bringing new flavors and aromas to the beer aisle.
Technology — in particular social networks providing more visibility to global cuisine — and younger consumers with interest in authentic experiences are driving much of these food trends, Neilsen said.
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