If you own a restaurant, food-service business or food manufacturing firm, you’ll want to know what trends are going to be hot for 2014. Sterling-Rice Group has compiled a list of top 10 food trends for both restaurant menus and supermarket shelves in the coming year, based on input from a team of over 100 chefs, restaurateurs and foodies.
Overall, 2014 will continue the current trend toward healthy options—but of course, customers will still make an occasional splurge! Here’s what’s forecast for 2014’s taste buds.
- Lemon: Lemon is a classic taste that will come to the forefront in dressings and sauces in 2012. It will shine as a main ingredient in juice and drinks, but will also be used as a preserve, as an addition to yogurt and as a star pastry ingredient. The popularity of Mediterranean foods, which use lemon frequently, is one reason this citrus is getting the star treatment.
- Tea: Whether it’s black, green or another type of tea, teas will continue to be popular not only as a beverage, but as ingredients in dinner, desserts and more. Tea’s earthy taste helps boost food’s flavor without relying on unhealthy fats or oils.
- Middle East: Middle Eastern seasonings such as sumac, za’atar, and marash will expand the boundaries of traditional Mediterranean cuisine as foods from Turkey and Israel become more mainstream.
- Nut-dairies: Allergies and lactose intolerance are concerns for many diners, while others simply prefer more healthful alternatives to cow’s milk. In 2014, nut milk made from cashews, almonds and peanuts will bring dairy-free flavor to sauces, drinks and main dishes.
- Yolk: Eggs have been popular in dishes for a while, from ramen noodles to burgers topped with fried eggs. This year, the focus will be on egg yolks, which will be used to add richness previously provided by cheese, dairy and sauces.
- Refined American Eats: American food will continue to hold center stage, but more upscale American classics such as wedge salads, creamy Caesar salads, steak tartare and other upscale classics will upstage burgers, hot dogs and fries.
- Poaching and Steaming: Smoky liquids, wine, coffee and beer will be added to the steaming and poaching process instead of water. The payoff: more flavorful dishes that are still healthy.
- Seaweed: It’s not just for California rolls anymore. Nutritious and full of deep, salty flavor, seaweed will move beyond sushi in 2014, being used as a snack and also as a rich seasoning that gives any dish that sought-after umami flavor.
- Pasta: Traditional pasta shapes and flavors will step aside to make way for new noodles made with alternative flours, global spices, and in new shapes.
- Farm-to-Table: This sizzling hot trend will continue but move on to even more exotic meats. Goat, rabbit and pigeon raised by small-scale produces will offer new tastes and protein choices that restaurateurs can feel good about offering—and diners will feel adventurous for tasting.