What’s 2019 go­ing to taste like

Get your palate ready for cheese tea, the pe­gan diet (pa­leo and ve­gan), ro­bot sal­ads and mother­less meat, plus a rash of new fer­mented foods, writes Kim Sev­er­son

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE -

MORE veg­eta­bles. Im­proved gut bac­te­ria. Cock­tails with less al­co­hol.

Many of the predictions about what we’ll eat and drink in 2019 point to a quiet, restora­tive and po­ten­tially grim time ahead. Then again, these fore­casts al­ways ar­rive car­ry­ing the clean, healthy pine scent of New Year’s res­o­lu­tions.

The good news: there will be cheese tea. And salad robots, ac­cord­ing to the prog­nos­ti­ca­tors.

As we pored over dozens of lists hand­i­cap­ping the next big food trends, and in­ter­viewed the peo­ple who get paid to drill into con­sumer be­hav­iour, we kept in mind that ev­ery­one could be dead wrong. Food fore­cast­ing is not a sci­ence, or even an art. Still, the game is a fun one.

Here are some of the most in­trigu­ing guesses at what and how we will be eat­ing in the new year.

THE NEXT LET­TUCE

Ex­pect to see lit­tle-known va­ri­eties show­ing up on menus, and an ex­plo­sion in let­tuces grown hy­dro­pon­i­cally, many of them in ur­ban con­tainer farms. Some chefs are rallying around cel­tuce, a let­tuce with a leafy, bit­ter top and a stalk that’s kind of a cross be­tween cel­ery and as­para­gus.

THE NEW FLAVOUR PRO­FILE

Sour and funky, with shades of heat. This is what hap­pens when you mix the in­ter­est in fer­ment­ing with the mil­len­nial palate. Melina Romero, trend in­sights man­ager at CCD Helms­man, a food re­search and prod­uct devel­op­ment firm in Cal­i­for­nia, ex­plained the gen­er­a­tion that loves global mash-ups and bold flavours this way: “They grew up with Flamin’ Hot Chee­tos, and while they still want spicy, I think, be­yond that, they have grown to be­come in­ter­ested in flavours that are ac­quired – sour flavours and even funky flavours like fer­mented foods.”

THE THING YOU WILL TRY AGAINST YOUR BET­TER JUDGE­MENT

Cheese tea, an im­port from Tai­wan, will hit the main­stream this year. Green or black tea is sipped through a cap of cream cheese blended with cream or con­densed milk, which can be ei­ther sweet or slightly salty.

THE BIG HEALTH FIX

Any­thing to do with your gut flora. Ex­pect more ways to in­gest pro­bi­otics and pre­bi­otics and foods de­signed to im­prove the bac­te­rial health of your in­testi­nal tract. Kim­chi, sauer­kraut and pickled things will work their way into new ter­ri­tory. Smooth­ies with ke­fir will be pop­u­lar, and kom­bucha will show up in salad dress­ings.

THE HOT DI­ETS

Di­ets that em­pha­sise fat over car­bo­hy­drates will con­tinue to dom­i­nate. In­sta­gram says video posts us­ing the hash­tag “keto” – the name of a high-fat, low-carb diet – grew five­fold over the past six months. Restau­rants will add more low-carb op­tions. The term “pe­gan” – a cross be­tween a pa­leo and a ve­gan diet – will take hold.

THE NEW SHEET-PAN SUP­PER

With barely any clean-up and a deep whiff of nos­tal­gia, cook­ing din­ner in foil pack­ets is poised for pop­u­lar­ity.

THE DRI­EST DRINKS

Lighter wines, nat­u­ral wines and drinks with less or no al­co­hol will be pop­u­lar. Peo­ple aged 18 to 34 are more in­ter­ested in spirit-free cock­tails than any other de­mo­graphic group, ac­cord­ing to Min­tel. As a re­sult, bar­tenders will re­place high-al­co­hol liquors like gin with lower-al­co­hol wines like prosecco in mixed drinks, and make more use of shrubs, craft ver­mouths, botan­i­cals and dis­tilled non-al­co­holic spir­its. Out­lier pre­dic­tion: Forbes mag­a­zine is bet­ting the break­fast cock­tail will be big.

THE CASE AGAINST WASTE

With the plas­tic straw and the plas­tic bag in­creas­ingly out of fash­ion, restau­rants, food man­u­fac­tur­ers and gro­ceries will face new pres­sure to re­duce other pack­ag­ing waste. Restau­rants that serve food on plas­tic with dis­pos­able cut­lery will have an in­cen­tive to in­vest in re­us­able plates and forks. Cut­ting waste in the de­liv­ery mar­ket will get new at­ten­tion, too.

THE PLANT-BASED MAIN COURSE

Sub­stan­tial veg­etable en­trées will be­come a fix­ture on restau­rant menus. Many din­ers have started to eat less red meat or aban­don an­i­mal pro­tein al­to­gether, whether for health, en­vi­ron­men­tal or eth­i­cal rea­sons. A few cor­po­ra­tions have banned meat con­sump­tion on their cam­puses. In Los An­ge­les, a mem­ber of the city coun­cil pro­posed a law that would re­quire a sub­stan­tial ve­gan pro­tein en­trée be avail­able at movie the­atres.

THE MOTHER­LESS MEAT

Lab­o­ra­tory-grown pro­teins will en­ter the main­stream. KFC, Tyson Foods and Cargill are in­vest­ing heav­ily, and the prod­ucts are catch­ing on so fast that ranch­ers have started cam­paigns to stop the en­gi­neered pro­teins from be­ing called “meat,” Forbes re­ports. Pre­pare for the next gen­er­a­tion of plant-based al­ter­na­tives to dairy: sub­sti­tutes for cheese, butter and ice cream made with nuts, soy or co­conut.

THE TECH AD­VANCE­MENT YOU’LL HATE UN­TIL YOU NEED IT

Salad-mak­ing robots will show up in hos­pi­tals and air­ports, where freshly made food is not easy to find at all hours. The sys­tems rely on chilled con­tain­ers of fresh in­gre­di­ents that are re­stocked dur­ing the course of the day. Push a few but­tons on a key­pad and the ro­bot makes a cus­tom salad topped with dressing.

THE HOPE FOR DOPE

Ma­jor food and bev­er­age com­pa­nies are re­search­ing ways to get THC, the psy­choac­tive com­po­nent of mar­i­juana, and cannabid­iol, a part of the plant that may have ther­a­peu­tic prop­er­ties, into more food and drinks.

THE NEW “IT” VEG­ETABLE

It’s a tie be­tween mush­rooms – which have ac­quired what food mar­keters call a health halo and are ex­pected to pop up in teas, desserts, jerky and cock­tails – and sea veg­eta­bles, which most peo­ple just call sea­weed. Con­sump­tion of sea­weed is grow­ing 7% an­nu­ally in the US. It checks all the boxes: health­ful, en­vi­ron­men­tally sound and full of umami.

| JEENAH MOON The New York Times

GET ready for more cheese tea — green or black tea sipped through a cap of cream cheese blended with cream or con­densed milk.

| AXEL KOESTER The New York Times

WITH health scares about ro­maine or cos, the field is open for a new let­tuce to catch on.

| ERIC ROJAS The New York Times

JOSE An­drés cre­ated a new model for pro­vid­ing di­rect re­lief through cook­ing.

DISHES with fer­mented in­gre­di­ents will grow in pop­u­lar­ity.

| DANIEL KRIEGER The New York Times

SEA veg­eta­bles like dulce, kelp, sea­weed and spir­ulina are trend­ing.

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