Culinary Professionals Identify What's Next in Food Trends

Tofu? Old hat. Bruschetta? Passé. Pomegranate Molasses? Now we’re talking.

Almost as hard as keeping track of the “new black,” trends in the food industry seem to come and go with the seasons. Now, what’s hot and what’s not in the food world can be identified earlier, thanks to a new panel formed by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

"Tomorrow’s Table: IACP Trend Initiative" performs quantitative research and culls opinion from a broad spectrum of food industry professionals. The association’s recent study asked culinary professionals how they perceive consumer awareness of a broad spectrum of food items, to rate their experience with them, and to predict the trend worthiness of each item.

The verdict? Of almost 60 products, the most cutting-edge for food industry professionals included Spain’s Cabrales cheese, yerba mate, arepas and annato oil. Among the least likely to foment a future food trend were risotto, couscous and hummus. For consumers, the newest foods also included queso fresco and churrasqueria.

The panel also found that the newest food catchphrase is “blended” cuisine. One step beyond the now outdated fusion movement, blended cuisine is popular among chefs and consumers alike, although executed differently by the two groups.

More than simply combining two cuisine types, chefs tend to create blended dishes by focusing on a specific flavor or ingredient and building a dish around it. Consumers focus on the food concepts (i.e. the Greek Quesadilla or the Chicken Enchilada Quiche). The most frequently blended cuisines are Asian, Mexican and Mediterranean.

Further analysis of the studies will be released by the "Tomorrow’s Table: IACP Trend Initiative" over the next several months. The membership of IACP, representing 39 countries, also took part in more trend surveying at the 27th annual international conference, Gastronomy: Culture and Cuisine, taking place April 13-16 in Dallas, Texas.

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