What a couple of years we’ve had!
I don’t think anyone’s crystal ball from 2019 would have predicted a Worldwide Pandemic, much less one that’s been going on for almost two years. The Covid-19 Pandemic has affected every single aspect of our lives and food, dining out, cooking and restaurant trends are no exception. So let’s look at what various enquiring minds think will be the Upcoming Food Trends for 2022.
Healthy Comfort Food
With what’s been going on these last two years, who can blame anyone for wanting to stay in bed and pull up the covers? What do we turn to, food-wise? Comfort food, that big warm hug of culinary delights, of course. But I predict our Comfort Foods with be healthier, because if we’ve learned anything, it’s that protecting our health is paramount in importance. So, we might see Mac ‘N Cheese mixed with some Butternut Squash puree to up our veggie intake and Chicken Noodle Soup with Zoodles, instead of the normal Egg Noodles. No one wants to give up Comfort Food, but making it healthier is a win-win!
Vegetables are King
Along those lines, the Plant-Based Diet or Flexitarian Diet with more veggies, shows no sign of stopping. Restaurants and chefs have had to up their Vegetable Game as diners demand interesting, delicious and visually appealing vegetarian options.
Fishless Fish etc…
It all started with the Impossible Burger, but now fish, shrimp and chicken are also been created in a lab. As our oceans are depleted of fish, alternatives are being sought. I’m not quite sure I will ever get on board with this trend.
Mushrooms reign supreme
Along the lines of cutting down on meat, but still wanting that “meaty” taste, in come mushrooms to fill that vacuum. Mushrooms are good for us in so many ways- helping the digestive system, energy, brain, heart health and boosting the immune system- we should be eating them every day. And with so many varieties to try, they never get boring.
This flower has been coined the “flavor of the year”, appearing in cocktails, yogurt, tea and sparkling water, like La Croix. It’s pretty to look at, with it’s cheerful rosy hue and high in Vitamin C, to keep us healthy.
Still a trend (although seemingly not among people I know), Gen Z is pushing this development with events like “Dry January” and “drysolation.” While I want my cocktail calories to count (so I’ll stick with my Prosecco), I do try to offer a fun, non-alcoholic alternative at gatherings. Not drinking alcohol shouldn’t be a punishment, after all.
Not all Gen X’s are swearing off alcohol, however, including my step-daughter Emma who has fallen in love with Expresso Martinis. They’re all over Instagram now, so you know they’re a thing. Cocktails that pack a punch, like Spicy Margaritas, are trending, as well.
With 92% of families planning on continuing dining at home, the same-old, same-old can get boring. So enter… condiments. An easy way to add interest to eggs, meat, fish, poultry or vegetable dishes. Cooking fatigue is real and a fun condiment- like Trader Joe’s Zhoug Sauce made with cilantro, jalapeno peppers and garlic- can bring your cooking flame back to life.
This is a citrus fruit that’s trending hot and heavy. It’s about the size of a tangerine and is mostly used in Asian cooking, particularly Ponzu dipping sauce. The zest and juice of the fruit are used in salad dressings, cocktails and as a marinade. Trader Joe’s sells a hot sauce made with Yuzu for about $3, although due to an increase in demand, that exact sauce is now selling for $20+ online.
Seeds over Nuts
“Isn’t there room for both?” is my question. But apparently, seeds are big right now, especially Sunflower Seeds, which are popping up in places like crackers, dips and even ice cream. Pumpkin seeds and flax seeds are also having a moment. I love seeds, but I will never give up my nuts!
I don’t know what this and I don’t really want to know. I was just getting used to Almond Milk!
Hyper Local Foods, Urban Farming, Indoor Farming
All part of the local, local, local trend! With the supply chain disrupting delivery of food items we’d come to take for granted, we now realize shopping for foods raised locally makes a whole lot of sense. Shopping at Farmer’s Markets, ordering C.S.A. baskets, and frequenting U-Pick Farms is all part of the new awareness we, as consumers, have gained. Our Social Consciousness has also been raised these last few years and the food we eat has come under that microscope.
With entertaining at home making a semi-comeback, hosts want to pull out all the stops with luxury items, including that most luxurious of items- caviar. For our Christmas Eve celebration, we ordered from Imperia Caviar, a sustainable caviar that is from an L.A.-based, eco-friendly farm. They harvest Kaluga and Ossetra caviar from farm-raised sturgeons. The other plus side to this trend? It’s a fraction of the cost of imported caviar.
According to chefs (Food and Wine article), in 2022, restaurants will be open fewer days, menu prices will go up (this has already happened) and menu items will shrink. Outdoor Dining, which became a huge trend of necessity during the Pandemic, continues going strong. They also predict cooking from Pantry to Plate will continue, as home-cooks have become accustomed to making do with what’s readily available.
Thanks to Whole Foods, Food and Wine, Food Network for content in this article.
Eat drink and be merry! For tomorrow…Ecclesiastes
Up Next: My New Jumbo Mini, trying to go out on the boat, update on Construction next door, Birthday meals continued.