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Seven Food Trends to Look For in 2019

It’s time to look ahead into 2019 with hope and positivity. For some us, that may include a change in our lifestyle, specifically the way in which we consume food. Fortunately, there are plenty of new trends on the rise for the dietary-conscious reader and for those who want to be on top of sustainability trends. Here are just a few to look forward to in 2019:

  1. Oat Milk

Oat milk began to gain traction early last year amid disappointment with other milk substitutes. Made with soaked and strained oats, oat milk has long been popular in Europe before venturing overseas. What makes oat milk unique among its competitors are its accessibility and affordability to make; you can easily make oat milk from the comfort of your own home with just raw oats and a blender.

Additionally, oat milk is great for those with food sensitivities (particularly towards nuts) and those who are looking to improve their diets. A great source of fiber, calcium, and magnesium, oat milk surpasses standard milk on various levels.

2. Sea Vegetables

Sea vegetables are nothing new (think about the nori that’s keeping your sushi rolls together), in fact, they are predicted to become more trendy in the United States in the near future. Long before becoming a part of our salads, sea vegetables such as seaweed were utilized in ancient China and Egypt to treat ailments. Today they are used in dishes throughout Asia and even Europe.

With current trends encompassing sustainable food, and the increase interested in foraging, seaweed consumption is on the rise. You can now find seaweed sheets and snacks in supermarkets, not just health food stores. Restaurants are also using seaweed seasonings as a lower sodium alternative to salt.

While vegetables such as seaweed are a good source of minerals, excessive consumption can lead to thyroid complications, so be careful and check into recommended intake for your age group.

3. The Fight Against Food Waste

Chefs all over the globe are taking a stand against excessive food waste, with organizations, such as the Nation Restaurant Association, citing its capacity to negatively influence the environment. Furthermore, with 1 in 8 Americans facing food insecurity, it just makes sense to have limiting food waste play a critical role in ending hunger, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agricultural practices. Organizations such as the World Association of Chefs Societies are launching initiatives such as the Food Waste Challenge [AM1] to help kitchens measure just how much they waste when preparing food.

4. Sustainable Packaging

Eco-friendly packaging is no longer just appeals to environmentally conscious consumers. Today, it is considered a business standard, in fact, we may have come to a tipping point in regard to the transition to sustainable packaging.

This year we saw the move away from plastic straws, bans on Styrofoam and more and more grocery stores doing away with bags. As demand grows for sustainable products new trends in packaging are reshaping the way restaurants think about disposables.

In order to minimize the carbon footprint, left by much of the standard take-out packaging, restaurants are moving to eco-friendly materials. Even McDonalds has committed that by 2025, 100% of McDonald’s guest packaging will come from renewable, recycled or certified sources.

Look for these innovations to come into the mainstream:

  • Ecologic paper bottles which are made from recycled corrugated cardboard or from tree pulp

  • Edible/biodegradable film, similar to plastic wrap, is made by combining protein, ployaccharide or lipid materials and can be wrapped around food to prevent spoilage.

  • Potato skins used to create an organic and biodegradable alternative to traditional french fry cones[AM2] .

  • Plastic take-out containers, often referred to as clamshell packaging, made out of plant-based materials.

  • Bio-degradable pizza boxes made from a combination of plant-based materials, sugarcane, and bamboo.

5. The Pegan Diet

The pegan diet was introduced to the world in 2015 by Dr. Mark Hyman as an alternative to other diets, having taken the best principles from both the paleo and vegan diets and incorporating those principles to make a hybrid diet that reaps the benefits of both.

The word “pegan” is a portmanteau of the words “paleo” and “vegan,” a moniker that aptly fits what the diet advertises. Believed to be a compromise between the paleo and vegan diets, the pegan diet emphasizes consumption of both plant-based food as well as foods containing nutritional fat (e.g., most nuts, seeds, avocados[AM3] ). The idea is to include the best element from each diet to avoid drawback of one particular. Basically 75% of daily intake comes from vegetables and some fruits. The other 25% comes from high-quality proteins, (grass-fed, free range, etc.) an healthy fats.

6. Infused Water

What exactly is infused water? Is it water dunked with fruit or is it simply fruit in water? Whatever the case may be, infused water will continue to make a splash into 2019 as an alternative to sugary beverages such as sodas and juices.

With zero calories and the combined benefits of both water and fruit, infused water is a great resource to utilize in the battle against weight loss -- especially if you enjoy a little flavor in your water. Likewise, fruit isn’t the only thing that can be used to create infused water; other popular options include mint and vegetables such as cucumbers.

7. Cauliflower

Yes, the modest cauliflower will be taking center stage in 2019 as a substitute for high gluten carbs. As Americans become more health-conscious, many have decided to switch out everyday carbs with healthier substitutes, with only a handful being as popular as cauliflower. As a result, it isn’t strange to find products such as cauliflower-crusted pizza, riced cauliflower and cauliflower crackers in your supermarket.

One of the reasons for cauliflower’s popularity stems from the fact that cauliflower, when mixed with other foods, will absorb their flavor, making the perfect base for ingredient-heavy meals.

These are just a few of the trends we will see this year. What other trends do you think will be on your table in 2019?

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