Gluten has had a bad reputation for a while now. Ever-increasing numbers of consumers are turning their backs on it, claiming to be allergic or gluten intolerant. The agri-food business has joined in with this movement to meet changing demand. Various kinds of pulse-based flour are appearing on the shelves, sold on their own or already incorporated into preparations. Quinoa and amaranth are doing particularly well. Gluten-free restaurants such as the newly-opened Rice Trotters, in Paris are sure to be a hit. The statistics on new product launches and consumer behaviour are all pointing to a boom in alternatives to conventional cereals. Mintel, a world leader in market research in the field of food product launches, has confirmed strong growth in the number of new gluten-free products on the supermarket shelves.
Kale crisps were all the rage in 2015. Now it’s the turn of dried meat, fish and vegetables. In their kitchens in Hong Kong, Lima, Copenhagen and Paris, top chefs such as Jason Atherton, Virgilio Martinez, Rasmus Kofoed and Hiroki Yoshitake are already making fruit and vegetable-based preparations, often carefully dried out in very sophisticated appliances. Their aim being to create textural contrasts.
Trend analysts such as Global Food Forum and Gatronomixs predict dried food to be ‘the next big thing’. They are heralding the arrival on the market of dried fruit, vegetables and meat, and meat and fish jerkies flavoured with vegetable and fruit powders. Suppliers to the creative gastronomy sector, such as Sosa in Spain, are already offering a whole range of dehydrated ingredients for use in preparations.
While Africa is winning over the world with its baobab powder, this year Caribbean cuisine should also attract the attention of many inquisitive gourmets. Trend-spotters promise that 2016 will be the year for discovering or rediscovering condiments and blends of various spices. Topping the flavour charts are gochujang from Korea (a fermented, spicy condiment made from red peppers, soybeans, glutinous rice flour and wheat germ), Middle Eastern specialities like zaatar (a blend of thyme, sesame and sumac) and baharat (a blend of rosebud powder and cinnamon), or the Egyptian dukkah (a ground blend of different nuts, spices and sesame seeds).
Seaweed on your plate
From land to sea. Kale has been knocked off the top spot by flavours from the sea. Marine vegetables are coming in with the sea breeze. Many coastal populations ate them until the beginning of the 20th century, after which point they declined in popularity as meat consumption became more common. Never mind, they’re back in the spotlight now! Seaweed has high concentrations of protein, minerals and vitamins and can be prepared in many ways. You can drink it, eat it as a side like a vegetable or enjoy it as a spread.