- Andrew Webb
- Food & Drink Editor
As 2016 draws to a close, Culture Trip’s food editor Andrew Webb predicts the big trends for the coming year.
Move over cornflakes, so long bacon, in October this year, many media outlets reported that chocolate cake for breakfast was going to be a big trend for 2017. We here at Culture Trip are calling foul on this one. Here’s why…
• The best breakfast foods you eat with your hands.
• Sales of cereals are down because of high sugar levels, and there’s a lot of sugar in cake.
• Breakfast is either fibre, protein, fruits or grains – not cake.
• In Britain, it’s socially unacceptable to eat cake before 9am.
• And finally… the entire story comes from one press release that doesn’t even mention chocolate cake.
Yes, that’s right. The story comes not from Hackney, or Williamsburg, but from an advertising agency in Boulder, Colorado. Boulder’s a nice place, but a hot bed of food trends it is not. Of course, like all good food stories, there’s a healthy dollop of dodgy science to ‘back it up’.
Apparently, a recent report shows that eating chocolate ‘improves’ brain functions. The idea is that people might want to eat it in the morning to get their minds going. This then, ‘might’ lead to diners and brunch outlets offering dessert on their morning menus. And so through a process of Chinese whispers in the media, this came to be regarded as a full-blown new food trend: chocolate cake for breakfast, everyone!
Food trends for 2017
Chocolate cake aside, what could be the food trends for 2017 in the UK? Well, here’s my round up based on hunches, lunches, and a bit of the ol’ crystal ball gazing.
1. Brexit bites
Overshadowing everthing is the Brexit deal the Government is currently negotiating. Will it be hard, soft, smooth, rough or will it even go ahead? Whatever happens, Brexit will affect the UK’s dining scene, from the cost of raw ingredients to staffing issues. Many restaurants import their raw ingredients from EU countries. If the cost of these rise, so will the prices on menus. It’s not just eating out either. We’ve already seen Morrisons raise the price of Marmite recently. Could this be the beginning of the end of ‘cheap food’?
2. Freakshake backlash
In the late 90s everyone went mad for cupcakes. Then people realised they didn’t taste all that good and were all about the spectacle. Today, you only see cupcakes at tacky weddings in regional towns. The same thing will happen to freakshakes, mark my words.
3. The personal chef
I predict a big trend for 2017 will be the affordable personal chef. Everyone has a cleaner these days, so why not a cook? Services like EhoChef match home cooks and chefs with hungry people and families, so you come home to dinner on the table.
4. Break out vegetable
With waste reduction high on the agenda, expect to see things like sprouts and carrots topping menus. Also, after kale, could 2017 be seaweed’s time to shine? It’s cheap, natural and good for you.
5. Breakout fruit
Watermelon: the clean eating fanatics love it as it’s mainly water. You can now even buy the seeds separately, which are of course ‘packed with powerful nutrients’ and other such mumbo jumbo.
6. Souper dooper
After years associated with poverty and soup kitchens, soups are back, thanks mainly to the success of ramen and bone broths in the past few years. They are set to replace juices as 2017’s ‘healthy’ food.
7. The death of at least one app or service
Just Eats v Deliveroo v Uber Eats, Gusto v Hello Fresh, and Amazon versus just about everyone. 2016 was the year of the food delivery service. One thing is for sure: food and tech is a winner-takes-all industry. Expect this war to be bloody, but someone should steal a lead by the end of 2017.
8. Speed dining
We’re all in a rush, and booking, choosing and waiting to pay takes ages. Services like All Set Now do away with all that via an app you use before leaving the office in the evening. This means more time eating and having fun, and less time squabbling over the bill.
9. 24/7 dining
Set meal times are fast disappearing in our bigger cities, and London is leading the way. The start of the night tube will only add to the 24/7 phenomena, so expect more open-all-hours venues to emerge. Also, the smart restaurants continue to offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner and supper.
Fake meat that actually looks and tastes like meat and mocktails for those that don’t drink alcohol – 2017 will be the year of fake food and drink. Furthermore, we’ll see more synthetic and performance-enhancing foods. Products such as Huel in the UK and Soylent in the US could continue to gain ground with those too busy to actually bother with all the cooking and masticating business.