While we've barely begun to reflect on 2015, Whole Foods Market is already thinking about 2016. The grocery chain's product team has pinpointed 10 top food trends to watch in 2016, from fermented foods to wine in a can.
Here are the hot trends for 2016:
Uncommon meat and seafood. Offbeat and lesser-known meat and seafood options are moving from restaurants into the American kitchen. The trend results from a number of factors including concerns over waste and an increase in butchery. New cuts include sirloin top, pork T-bone chop, and Denver steaks. Unfamiliar seafoods include paiche and blue catfish.
Wine in a can. With wine drinkers getting younger and less hidebound, winemakers are offering wine in an aluminum can. One of the first to do it was Francis Ford Coppola's sparkling Sofia, joined more recently by Infinite Monkey Theorem and Presto Sparkling. Single-serve aluminum cans are not only convenient, they're more sustainable.
Plant-based everything. Plants are playing a meatier role in a surprising number of products, not just vegan and vegetarian items, from quinoa protein in hair care products to vitamin-rich veggies in frozen dessert pops.
Fermented foods and probiotics. Fermented foods are recommended for good intestinal health, be it kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, gochujang, and pickled things such as chiogga beet kraut.
Non-GMO. The non-GMO movement continues to grow, even extending to verifying that the food fed to animals (or what Whole Foods delicately calls the "animal protein category") is also non-GMO.
Grass-fed 2.0. Currently common in dairy items such as milk, eggs, yogurt, butter, and cheese, grass-fed is expanding into packaged meat snacks and even protein powders.
Dehydrated foods. Last year, it was kale chips. In 2016, it'll be dehydrated broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and parsnip chips, plus salmon, bison, and chicken jerkies.
Heirloom ingredients. Going beyond the commonly known heirloom tomato, heirloom ingredients are popping up in packaged goods such as popcorn, chocolate made with heirloom cocoa, and even candy such as Seely's Mint Patties made with heirloom peppermint.
Alternative flours. The wheat-haters and gluten-phobes have plenty to choose from with flours made from legumes, ancient grains, teff, amaranth, and nuts. Chickpea flour is a quick riser, while other legume flours are showing up in bean-based pastas and other packaged goods.
Old World flavors. In this case, Whole Foods describes Old World as flavors from Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia, as well as Middle Eastern ingredients.
Predictions came from Whole Foods Market's team that spots trends for the grocer's stores and sources items across the retailer’s cheese, grocery, meat, seafood, prepared foods, produce, and personal care departments.