Cutting-edge culinary trends for 2015

Tuesday, 28 October, 2014

US advertising agency Sterling Rice Group (SRG) has released its list of Top 10 Cutting-Edge Culinary Trends for 2015:

Advanced Asian

This is a move to a more complex and true-to-region Asian foods. This spicier and funkier fare appeals to the ‘advanced’ Asian food lover and goes beyond the sweet, the tame and the friendly. Examples of foods that appreciative diners are discovering include northern (Issan) Thai cuisine, Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes and the tangy flavours of Filipino foods.

Matcha madness

The quest for vitality will lead to Japanese matcha, a nutrient powerhouse green tea hitting the market in convenient formats. Made from crushed green tea leaves, matcha is brimming with antioxidants, L-theanine and beta carotenes. Next year’s go-to energy and wellness beverage exerts a calming energy with less caffeine than green tea, but with more nutrient benefits.

Cannabis cuisine

SRG is based in Boulder Colorado, the first US state to legalise marijuana for recreational use. They’ve seen the market move beyond hash brownies, to confections, bars, simple syrups and even bottled cold-brewed coffee. Cookbooks, cooking classes and online reviewers are legitimising the burgeoning industry.

Hop-free beer

Brewers are taking a cue from their mediaeval predecessors and using herbs, spices and other bitter plants to provide flavour balance and aroma to beer instead of hops. These seasonings, or gruits, include mushrooms, sassafras, rosemary, tea, hemp and even reindeer lichen, yielding intriguing flavours instead of hoppy bitterness

Incendiary charcoal

Thanks to the rise of grilled Asian foods, more chefs are turning to ancient styles of charcoal. Japanese charcoal, or binchotan, is kilned oak that burns at 900 - 1200°C in a clean, odourless and smokeless way that allows food to cook fast and retain natural flavours. Thai charcoal performs a similar feat. Beyond the grill, charcoal is also colouring breads, crackers and lemonades.

Local grain network

Across the US, regional grain economies are growing with farmers raising small-scale alternative grain varieties and selling them to local bakers, brewers, chefs and consumers, who are in turn using mills to grind fresh flour for bread, pizza and pastries. With more farmers’ markets selling locally grown grains, a bigger demand is tipped for countertop mills, grain-milling appliances and products made from fresh-milled flour.

Coconut sugar sweetness

Sugar is in the doghouse these days and has many gravitating toward less-processed sweeteners like coconut sugar. Made from coconut blossom nectar, it has a lower glycaemic index than white sugar and more nutrients, adding a sweet halo to granolas, confections and spreads in the natural channel. Coconut sugar also appeals to sweets-loving Paleos and home cooks making Southeast Asian recipes.

Farm to table kosher

Those who seek to eat kosher in a more sustainable, conscious and cultural way, are supported by a rise in small businesses offering better tasting, better sourced and more varied kosher fare. These include artisan Jewish delis, handcrafted bagel shops and restaurants that also appeal to non-Jews attracted to food that seems cleaner and purer.

Hunger games: restaurant edition

This new restaurant concept combines communal dining, pop-up restaurant novelty, chef competitions and crowd-sourced creation, supporting aspiring chefs with kitchens, dining spaces and marketing power. Diners vote with their forks.

Ugly fruit and vegetable movement

In line with growing concerns over food waste, this French-born trend gives misshapen and funny-looking produce a place at the table and in recipes where looks don’t matter. “People around the globe are uniting to find new ways to reduce food waste. Efforts are already underway here to raise awareness to this issue and to find resourceful ways to manage our food supply and feed the hungry at the same time,” says Kara Nielsen, SRG Culinary Director.

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