Food trends are constantly changing. Want proof? A mere decade or so ago, if you asked for a cake pop or slider you’d probably be met by blank stares. If you want to stay ahead of the food trends, here’s a handy guide to what’s happening in the world of haute cuisine, including inspired eats from foreign destinations, new dietary preferences and a throwback to some classic culinary techniques.
Before you ask – this is not a religion. Pescatarians are a branch of vegetarians who still consume fish and seafood. The term blends the Italian word for fish, pesce, with vegetarian to denote people who turn down all other types of meat, from beef to chicken to pork. The term was first created in the 1990s, but these days the pesca movement, as it’s known, is going stronger than ever.
If you’ve sipped on cascara, you’ll already know it’s the ultimate hybrid: part-tea, part-coffee. Also known as “coffee cherry tea,” cascara is made by brewing the dried skins of coffee fruit (AKA what’s left behind after the coffee beans are harvested). While it’s not as caffeinated as coffee itself, it’s a favored cold-brew option that’s gaining steam.
Look out tequila – you’ve got some competition from another Mexican-made alcohol. Mezcal is made from distilled agave, lending it a smokier, richer taste. Some of the biggest brands in the world are starting to invest in mezcalerias, and liquor store shelves are increasingly making space for this unique spirit.
Middle Eastern eats are trending thanks to their rich flavor profiles. You can thank za’atar for that – this unique spice blend includes oregano, thyme, marjoram, sumac, ground sesame seeds and salt. You'll find this spice blend giving a kick to soups, spice rubs, teas and dressings. Give za’atar a try the next time you’re looking for something to spice up a boring chicken.
Hear us out: Pickling has been around for millennia (as in, as far back as 2400 BC). But pickling has enjoyed a resurgence this year thanks to its alignment with sustainability and gut-healthy eating practices. From rapid-fire quick pickling of onions as part of your BBQ spread, to classic bread and butter pickles, to the still wildly popular world of kombucha, this old-school fermentation technique is totally trending again.
This sesame paste has been kicking around for awhile, but now that we’re all familiar with the Middle Eastern cuisine staple, don’t be surprised to see it show up in unexpected places. Chefs are starting to use tahini in sweet dishes as an easy (and healthier) sub for peanut butter.
Buffets are so 1990s – grazing tables are where it’s at, particularly for social functions. Instead of loading up a plate, a visit to the grazing table is meant to encourage nibbling all night long. Think charcuterie style, with deli meats, cheese, veggies, fruits, breads, hot appetizers, olives, nuts and sweet treats.
Move over matcha! Yerba mate is a highly-caffeinated tea that hails from South America and is starting to gain a huge following abroad. It’ll put an all-natural pep in your step that might just allow you to kick coffee for good.
We all know greens are good for us, but there’s only so much kale one person can take. Sorrel has a lemony flavor when cooked, and is found on the plates of diners around the globe from Eastern Europe and Africa to the Middle East and the Caribbean, and now North America.
Foodie words aren’t just about food – let’s talk movements. Pegan refers to a cross between paleo and vegan diets, meaning no animals products and no grains. It may sound a little spartan, but practitioners swear by its health benefits.
As the demand for veggie dishes rises, so does our interest in trying out new foods. Yuca, a hearty root vegetable, is becoming ubiquitous enough to start popping up on fast food restaurant menus, in fry form of course.
This French method of cooking is gaining popularity as a foolproof way to get perfectly-pink rare steaks, healthy steamed veggies and flawlessly-cooked fish every single time. Food is placed in a plastic pouch or jar with yummy spices or marinades, and then inserted into a water bath at a precise temperature. The result is food that’s juicy and bursting with flavor – with minimal effort.
Another south-of-the-border find is chayote, or Mexican pear squash, also known as chocho. With a bright green color and curvy shape, it’s like the veggie superfood cousin to pears. The semi-sweet cucumber-adjacent flavor can be enjoyed raw or cooked, and was identified as a food trend in 2019 by Pinterest after a 76% surge in searches for chayote recipes.
As mass cannabis legalization creeps nearer and nearer to reality, some crafty brands are coming up with clever ways to infuse their products with CBD or cannabidiol, a cannabinoid that provides the relaxing benefits of marijuana, without the mental impairment effects. Keep an eye out for CBD-laced teas, protein powders, gummies, drinks and even pet treats.
We won’t lie: This one is less than delectable. You’ve heard about vegetarians, vegans, and as of reading this article, pegans, but what about freegans? Freegans are indeed most commonly vegetarians or vegans, but with a twist: They avoid buying food as a political statement against consumerism and factory farming. By foraging, receiving donated food that grocery stores would otherwise throw out, or dumpster diving (eep!), freegans represent a new, independent approach to filling their plates.