As 2018 draws to a close, many predictions for the coming year are being published. For restauranteurs, foodies and amateur chefs, it’s always a delight to see forecasts for what new ingredients, cooking methods or types of cuisine are going to dominate the year of cooking ahead. After years of cooking heavy with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spices, here are our 2019 food trend predictions.
Global flavors will continue dominating dishes
We expect that global and exotic flavors will continue to grow in popularity. There may be a shift away from Mediterranean flavors, but some Middle Eastern flavors may remain popular. Cumin, tahini and sumac continue to rank high on chef preference lists. In general, the trend towards fiery, spicy foods shows no sign of slowing. This bodes well for continued growth in Mexican and North African spices.
Spice blends continue saving time & money for professional chefs, home cooks, and more
The use of spice blends is also on the rise. Morocco’s Ras El-Hanout and Ethiopia’s Berbere don’t have a set recipe but feature a mix of spices including coriander, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon, paprika, cardamom, ginger and turmeric. Japanese Shichimi Togarashi (seven spice mix) could also be a popular flavoring option with its black peppercorns, red chili, garlic, ginger, nori and white and black sesame seed make-up. Grocery stores are starting to carry these blends, but it’s always a treat to bring the blends direct from their country of origin if possible.
Superfoods aren’t going anywhere
We also predict that the growing consciousness around healthy foods and health benefits from spices will continue to grow. This could boost the demand for spices such as turmeric, sage, holy basil, ginger, lemongrass and rosemary. As consumers embrace natural flavors and clean-label products, its likely that natural products such as spices will be used in more and more products, from snacks to meals to drinks.
Plant-based diets remain in 2019
There is also growing momentum in the plant-based food movement. Even people who aren’t vegan or vegetarian are recognizing the importance on their health and the environment of consuming less animal-based protein. This shift to more meat-free days could also boost spice consumption, as many of these plant products pair nicely with additional seasoning.
None of these are guarantees, and we’ve certainly missed some trends in the past. Part of this prediction may even be wishful thinking given that we are big fans of dynamic, rich and varied spices used on the African continent. How about you? Do you have any predictions for the coming year around food and spice trends?