Top 8 Food & Beverage Trends for 2015

Featured article from Mareya Ibrahim, The Fit Foodie
"From meals to snacks, veggies to bevvies, the outlook for the 2015 looks cold and colorful, fungus-filled and crawling with crickets"



1) MAGICAL MUSHROOM BLENDS

This isnt a scene out of a 60s hallucination. Mushrooms are getting unearthed for their powerhouse composition, richness in B vitamins, minerals, digestibility and low calories but they are getting more and more popular for their ability to mimic meat texture and possibly help with lower glycemic responses, according to a 2014 study by the University of Buffalo. In 2015, expect to see more mushroom blends on menus and in products, and even in school lunches where pilot programs, like one in Cincinnati, helped prove the case that kids are happy to dig into a shroom burger. Mushroom blend consumption will increase for its deft ability to blend into meat mixtures seamlessly to boost nutrient density while lowering calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium and cost. Youll also see more varieties take the limelight, including shiitake and oyster mushrooms for their culinary contributions and a magical substance called Beta-glucans, which is said to boost immunity and help with allergy resistance.

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2) ORGANIC ADULT BEVERAGES

With the ongoing double-digit growth in organics, the trend is also spilling into your cocktail and wine glass, too. Cultivated without the use of chemical pesticides, preservatives or flavors, consumers are becoming just as conscientious about what they imbibe as what they eat. Organic wine is getting better, beer and cider companies are getting on board, and organic spirits are now available in most categories, including vodka, gin, liqueurs, whiskey, tequila and rum.


3) COLD AND PRESSED

The trend in bevvies has gone cold, proving that its not just about the product. its the process, too. Cold-pressed juices and coffee are hot no pun intended where flavor and nutrient density rein king. When it comes to juices, cold-pressed varieties claim to keep more of the enzymes and vitamins intact that usually get eradicated with traditional heat packaged varieties. Suja, named #3 in Forbes Most Promising Companies in 2014, is driving a surge in the category with its line of organic & cold-pressured juices, smoothies & teas sprouting up at Whole Foods across the country. Juice Press, which markets its line of cold-pressed juices, smoothies and coffee ships everyone in the US from their website, sprang from the 21+ popular café locations in NYC.


4) BEYOND SOY MEAT-LESS MEAT

Flesh-free alternatives will continue to show up on menus and in school cafeterias everywhere, but there will be a shift in what those substitutes are made from as the industry seeks ways to satiate the more than 100 million Americans turning to more vegetarian and vegan meals, according to a Harris Interactive Study.

Brands like Beyond Meat make their soy-free “Beyond Beef” crumbles from non-GMO pea protein isolate, among other ingredients. The company has an impressive investor backing, including the one and only Bill Gates, so you know theyre onto something big. I tasted the Beyond Beef crumbles at the California School Nutrition Association Convention this past week and couldnt help but thinking how all those unsuspecting kids would have no idea that their sloppy joes were made mostly from pea protein. More veggies on their plates! adds Ibrahim.

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5) CRICKET CUISINE

The FDA allows a certain amount of insect parts in your packaged goods, but some manufacturers are featuring them as their star ingredient. The industry is literally hopping with cricket powder, getting popular for their nutrient density, inexpensive nature and low-on-the-food-chain environmentally conscious status. Youll find this in brands like Chapul bars, made popular on the show The Shark Tank, with the selling points that cricket powder has 15% more iron than spinach, 2 times more protein than beef and as much vitamin B12 as salmon.


6) GOURMET MEAT SNACKS

The Paleo push has given way to a lot of new products that are protein rich, especially snacks. The fact is, with 2/3rds of the US population deemed overweight or obese, manufacturers will keep pushing on better-for-you convenience foods using higher protein content to balance out carbs and sugar.

7) THE NEXT NEW SUPERFRUIT

Weve seen the industry fall in love with one superfruit after another from pomegranates to acai, goji to mangosteen, boasting their ORAC levels like sports team statistics. In 2015, look for the next superhero fruit Baobab pronounced bowbab, which outperformed all of the other tested superfruits in recent ORAC rankings performed by Brunswick Laboratories.


8) THE IT VEGGIE

Kale has been the darling of the veggie world for the last few years, graduating from homely garnish to the star of Michelin ranked plates. Now, for 2015, which green will hail queen? Melissas Produce in Los Angeles is predicting a rainbow based on recent year-over-year growth, including mini sweet peppers, Sunflowerchokes, Kalettes (aka kale sprouts) and Romanesco. Colorful veggies, including chard, carrots and cauliflower in vibrant pink, green, purple and peach hues, will also get very popular as they elevate the appearance of finished dishes. We eat with our eyes first, so its no wonder these colorful characters are getting more attention, comments produce guru, Robert Schueller, Director of PR for Melissas Produce.


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