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2014 was all about quinoa, kale, Paleo and the rise of vegetarianism, veganism and ‘clean eating’. But times are a changing and there’s a whole new range of food and drink trends that are slowly emerging and are predicted to make a splash in 2015. Here are some predictions as to what’s going to be hot in terms of foods, snacks and beverages in 2015:

1. Fermented Foods

Fermented and pickled foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha and pickles are increasingly being used in both restaurant dishes and are making their way onto the shelves of specialty stores. Of course, these products have been around for ages in Asian grocers and continental delicatessens, but are making their mark on the general public. Fermented foods are foods which undergo a process called lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the starches and sugars in foods, preserving the product but also creating a food which acts an excellent probiotic and offering great benefits to gut health. Fermented foods have a complex flavour and are a great addition to main meals or just as a side dish or snack. They can often be high in salt though, so keep this in mind before loading your plate up.

2. Cauliflower

Just as fashion is cyclical, so it seems are vegetables. And cauliflower is coming back in a big way. Tipped to be the next ‘superfood’, cauliflower is packed full of nutrients, is low in fat and carbohydrates but is high in dietary fibre, folate and vitamin C. They also contain phytochemicals such as carotenoids and glucosinolates, which offer a range of health benefits. With the rise of the Paleo and low carb lifestyles, cauliflower is becoming a popular carbohydrate substitute thanks to its similarity in mouth feel to potatoes and rice. An extremely versatile and tasty vegetable, cauliflower is generally a cool season food, so get ready to see it to fly off the shelves during Autumn and Winter. With worldwide kale crops suffering because of overenthusiastic foodies, let’s hope this doesn’t happen with the humble cauliflower.

3. Kaniwa

Kaniwa (ka-nyi-wa) is touted to be the new quinoa (keen-wa), is smaller in size, but just as nutritious. It is a dark reddish brown grain with a nutty flavour which is high in protein and gluten free. In addition, it is a good source of dietary fibre and essential minerals such as calcium, iron and zinc, making it an ideal food to include in vegetarian and vegan diets. Similar to quinoa, kaniwa is a versatile grain, but commercial production still requires some work. Similar to kale, quinoa crops aren’t fairing so well, so it’s a good idea to have another grain to fall back on. Other popular grains include the Ethiopian supergrain Teff and the ancient South American grain Amaranth.

4. Alternative Dairy

As an increasing proportion of the population start adopting Paleo, vegetarian and vegan lifestyles and practices, milk and dairy products are slowly being shunned in favour of alternatives such as nut, grain and seed milks as well as vegetarian cheeses. For example, according to leading market researcher Mintel, almond milk sales have increased 93% in recent time while oat milk sales have increased 38%. While, these milks are tasty inclusions in the diet and provide a diverse range of excellent nutrients, a lot of them lack the calcium content of dairy, so it’s important to keep this in mind if you’re planning to make a permanent switch.

5. Seaweed

Popular in Asian cultures and cuisines, especially Japanese, Chinese and Korean dishes, seaweed are edible forms of algae which are considered a complete source of protein and are also generally high in fibre. Seaweed is also a good source of iodine and new research has even suggested the use of seaweeds to help support weight loss. There is a large range of edible seaweeds on the market, but the more common ones include wakame, kombu and dulse. Get ready to see some strange and novel uses for seaweed and algae including it being added to smoothies and juices and even in beer!

6. Brussels Sprouts

Already trending in overseas markets, the often disliked Brussels Sprouts is going to experience a bit of a renaissance in 2015. It’s unpopularity is often due to the fact that many people don’t know how to cook it and instead boil it to the point where it is gray, pungent and unpleasant. Rather, a better way to cook it is to sauté it with some bacon or parmesan cheese to give it a nice salty crispness. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C and K and are tipped to be another replacement for the waning kale.

7. Natural Everything - Especially Sweeteners

As the growth of ‘natural’ products continues to increase, you’re going to be seeing a lot more food and drink labels advertising their ‘naturalness’. What this means exactly is anyone’s guess considering there aren’t any clear definitions as to what constitutes a ‘natural’ product. However, most regard it as any product that is free from artificial flavours, colours, preservatives and sweeteners. They also often advertise using ingredients which are GMO free (genetically modified organism), organic, free range and hormone or antibiotic free. Artificial sweeteners in particular will be focused on and will be swapped out of many products in favour of natural sweeteners such as Stevia and Monk Fruit as a way to support the ‘natural’ tag of many items. This drive in the use of natural sweeteners is also partly due to the rise in anti-sugar advocates.

8. Functional Brain Beverages

Beverages in general are going to be big in 2015 with many restaurants and fast food chains slated to make drinks a highlight rather than an accompaniment. As our lives become more hectic and fast paced, liquids are going to be the new solids when it comes to snack foods and even main meals. You’ll begin to see even more of so called ‘functional beverages’, which contain a range of ingredients to help boost focus, attention and cognitive performance and keep you sharp throughout the day. However, these will differ from the stim heavy energy drinks that have been popular in recent years. Instead companies will be following the natural route by using natural pick me ups such as Maca, Matcha Green Tea and Yerba Mate just to name a few. You’ll also most likely find yourself seeing more of the word ‘nootropics’, which is an umbrella term for any ingredient that helps to support cognition and brain function.

9. Millenials, Marketing, Snacking and Convenience

This particular food trend focuses on the increasing presence of millenials, a pool of consumers aged between 15-35, who are increasingly tech savvy and make up roughly a third of the global population. This group represents a huge opportunity, but what’s difficult is that they’re not only more informed, but they’re brand loyalty is less. So expect to see companies alter their marketing practices in a way that will connect to this audience; by providing origin stories about the company and their products. In addition, you’ll find a growing variety of snack and convenience food options, but those that are considered healthier, more gourmet, individualised and hands on. Think create your own meals with fresh ingredients that you choose. This will also factor in the growing trend of personalised diets such as gluten free, Paleo, vegetarian, wheat free, dairy free, etc. Interestingly enough, market trends have analysed that those born around the 1950’s will also be embracing a growth in snacking.

10. Growth of Protein

Protein’s popularity has been on the rise for quite some time now and yet there is no sign of a slow down in its use. As such, in 2015, be prepared to see everything either advertising their high protein content or the fact that they have ‘added protein’. Being part of the sports supplement industry, we figured this was bound to happen sooner or later since protein is often considered the most beneficial of the three macronutrients. In terms of protein trends for 2015, get ready to see a lot more vegetarian sources of protein including the rise in soy, pea and rice proteins.

New Food & Snack Trends 2015

2015 is going to be another exciting year for foods, snacks and beverages. As a trainer and fitness enthusiast, you’re going to spoiled for choice and be increasingly targeted by food and beverage companies. Other trends which will continue to rise next year will be:

  • Coconuts – Continue rise of coconut products including water, sugar, oils, milk and cream.
  • Crunchy Snacks – Get ready for more rice crackers, seaweed chips, lentil chips and roasted chickpeas and other legumes. Texture is in and crunch is on the forefront.
  • Upsized Supermarkets – Like the giant food halls of Japan and China, get ready to see your supermarkets grow in size, especially in terms of food options.
  • Charcoal and Smoked – Expect to see increased charcoal cooking and smoked products.
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