2024 food trends may bring interesting changes

January 5, 2024

This is the time of year when food bloggers and lifestyle websites typically post their prognostications about the culinary trends we should expect in the year ahead. The Washington Post went even further with a recent article summarizing the 10 most popular Google searches related to food and drink recipes during the past 12 months. 

As you may imagine, they were connected to events (Coronation quiche), TikTok trends (cottage cheese ice cream, lasagna soup, cowboy butter and McDonald’s Grimace shake), television shows (the pumptini and black cake), comfort food (chicken cobbler), and trendy cocktails (Hugo spritz and Brazilian lemonade). I’ve had a version of the spritz (made with elderflower liquor and Prosecco) and found it a light summer refresher. 

The New York Times published its list of predictions of both what might be on the horizon and what will disappear, starting with the climate-conscious issue of food processing. They expect to see both restaurants and food manufacturers streamline their ingredient lists, omitting artificial flavorings, colorings and preservatives (as much as possible) and becoming clearer about what is in a specific dish.

When color experts at Pantone declared “peach fuzz” the color of the year, food stylists followed suit. Officially called Pantone 13-1023 Peach Fuzz, the color is velvety, gentle and subtly sensual, according to the design and color authority. Peach has been touted as the flavor of the year by some culinary trend-setters, while others have endorsed cherry blossom and violet.

According to the Specialty Food Association, shoppers can expect to see more soups and soup starter mixes on supermarket shelves. For cost-conscious cooks, this makes sense, as soup is a logical destination for vegetables and leftovers that might otherwise be sent to the compost bin. They also suggested these soups will reflect the growing popularity of Asian flavors and spice blends.

The top trend predicted by the folks at “Today” is that we’ll see food portions shrinking, from meals based on small snacks to luxurious but tiny treats. From a cultural standpoint, they agree with the Times about sustainability and reliance on smaller, local farmers rather than industrial-scale producers. They also think the increased demand for fish coupled with limited supply will drive seaweed and soy creations to replace fish on restaurant menus.

One subtle change is the way chefs are expected to focus on the trend for plant-based foods. Instead of relying on tofu and pea protein to create faux foods that look and taste like the meat they’re imitating, chefs are featuring vegetables as star ingredients in the center of the plate, as in the popular dish beetroot tartare, seen in the photo. This combines minced beets (mine could have been chopped finer) with shallot, capers and miso for a colorful, tasty appetizer. 

A trend I’ve noticed across the wide range of chain supermarkets located along Route 1 is the increased availability of fruit-forward hydration. From energy drinks to kombucha, the produce aisles have lots of shelf space dedicated to these bottled concoctions, combining this year’s predictions for color, flavor and plant-based focus. Happy eating in 2024!  

Beet Tartare

2 cooked medium beets*
2 t olive oil
1 t white miso
1 T minced capers
2 t minced shallot
1 t Dijon mustard
splash red wine vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste
minced parsley for garnish

Chop the beets into a fine dice; place in a mixing bowl. Whisk together oil, miso, capers, shallot, mustard and vinegar. Add dressing to bowl and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pack half the mixture into a medium ramekin and invert onto a serving plate. Repeat with remaining mixture. Sprinkle with parsley and serve with crackers. Yield: 6 servings. *Packages of cooked beets can be found in your grocer’s produce aisle; avoid those that are pickled.

Elderflower Cocktail

1/2 oz elderflower liqueur*
3 1/2 oz Prosecco
peach slices for garnish

Pour liqueur into a champagne flute and add Prosecco. Garnish with peach slice and serve. Yield: 1 cocktail. *St. Germain is a widely available brand. 

Brownie for One

1/4 C flour
1/4 C sugar
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon
1/4 C water
2 T canola oil
2 drops vanilla

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and cinnamon in a large, microwave-safe mug. Stir to break up any lumps. Add water, oil and vanilla; stir until smooth. Microwave on high until moist but cooked through, about 90 seconds. Allow to rest for a minute. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Yield: 1 serving.

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