Handicapping The Washington Post’s 10 Trendiest Foods List


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Flavored ghee is trending, apparently.

Washington Post reporter Maura Judkis visited the recent Fancy Foods Show in New York City and came away with the 10 trendiest foods, which she named in a recent article. To be sure, the trade show, where manufacturers peddle everything from frozen yogurt variations to the latest superfood-infused product to potential distributors and buyers (read: Whole Foods), can be a bellwether for industry trends.

Yet, having visited the sprawling show in past years and sampled our way through myriad new offerings, we’d caution against reading too much into the trendiness of ingredients based solely on what start-ups and established food companies are trying to sell.

That’s why we’ve decided to handicap the Post’s list, to separate the true trends from the “I went to the Fancy Foods Show and all I got was this trend listicle” angle.

Ayurvedic Foods
Do you practice yoga? Have you traveled to India for pleasure? This is the food trend for you! Ayurvedic foods are meant to heal the body, often in tandem with medicine. The Post spotted a range of products in the genre, including herbal jams, pickles, teas, and of course energy bars and protein shakes. You can definitely envision these items showing up on shelves at health food stores and in specialty aisles, but it’s a decidedly niche category.
Odds of catching on: 25-to-1

Canned Fish Salads
This is the most curious entry on the Post’s list. On the one hand, canned fish is nothing new: sardines, anchovies and herring are staples across many cultures, and there’s even a restaurant in Chicago devoted to showcasing the stuff. But Judkis, mindful of the unsexy nature of a fish salad in a can, finds some intriguing new products, including a not-bad-sounding lemon veggie sardine option from Season that comes with a spoon and crackers. Practical, healthy and sustainable—so this could be a winner!
Odds of catching on: 6-to-1

Drinking Vinegar Gets Spicy
We’re all about the vinegar, from the various kinds used in cooking and seasoning, to the broader use of it, as found in Michael Harlan Turkell’s excellent book from 2017, Acid Trip. And we fully endorse chef Andy Ricker’s line of Som drinking vinegars. So we want to believe that spicy drinking vinegar could become trendy, with lots of ginger, horseradish and garlic to add a kick to the bracing acidity, but we remain doubtful that this nudges aside the Sprite from the drinks aisle.
Odds of catching on: 20-to-1

Flavored Ghee
As Judkis notes, this clarified butter is riding a wave of popularity because of its “good” fats’ place in the trendy Ketogenic and Paleo diets. Now, brands are adding flavors such as garlic scape and vanilla maple chai. Ghee is essentially like butter, and while we’re all for homemade flavored butters, we question what the market is for flavored ghee products. Especially when it’s fairly simple to make ghee at home.
Odds of catching on: 15-to-2

Quinoa Where You Don’t Expect It
This isn’t so much a trend as a fact at this point. As the Post suggests, quinoa is basically everywhere, and some food companies are exploring any last culinary territory that the Incan superfood has yet to conquer. This includes something called “maq and cheese” and Unreal’s healthier candy products.
Odds of catching on: Even

Moringa Goes Mainstream
What the hell is moringa? Last year, NPR called it the “next kale”—excuse me, Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh—and now it’s the latest superfood item to try to break into the mainstream. The leading brand working with moringa is Kali Kali, which once sent me an email calling it a “multi-vitamin in a leaf,” noting its antioxidant properties and other death-defying health benefits. It usually comes in powder form and bars, teas and even puff snacks. What the heck, we’d try it.
Odds of catching on: 3-to-1

Cauliflower Gets Convenient
Here’s another trend that’s already evident—you can find riced cauliflower on shelves at even the most basic grocery stores (and yes, basic in the slangy sense). As the Post notes, food brands are getting more creative with the veg, using it to make flour, fried rice and even faux-Cheez-Its. Still, it’s cauliflower. Effective as a steak substitute for vegans and vegetarians maybe, but ubiquitous ingredient? Probably not.
Odds of catching on: 10-to-1

Boozy Kombucha
Kombucha already has trace amounts of alcohol in it, which hasn’t always gone over well with the authorities, but now some brewers are fermenting it to reach ABVs more typical of beer. Should the craft beer industry be concerned about this fizzy new competition? Will boozy kombucha be the next rosé cider? We doubt it.
Odds of catching on: 20-to-1

Cucumber, Inexplicably
We have an explanation: Climate change is pumping up the heat across the planet, and few food items have the cooling properties of the trusty cuke. Hence, the proliferation of cucumber waters, syrups, juices, shrubs and yes, kombuchas. Makes for a refreshing treat while you’re catching a neighbor’s inflatable raft ride off the roof of your rapidly flooding house.
Odds of catching on: 3-to-1

Weird And Wonderful Waters
Honey water. Maple water. Grape water. This isn’t so much a trend as an industry’s attempt to find a replacement for the sugar-laden soft drinks that are falling further and further out of fashion. Or to create the next coconut water. Will everyone from the start-up brands to the Cokes and Pepsis stop trying to generate a flavored water with mass appeal? No. Will any of them become a massive hit? Not bloody likely.
Odds of catching on: 9-to-2



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