7 Food Trends to Look Out For in 2016

Put this job down on that list of things you want to be when you grow up: local forager. As the Local Forager for Whole Food Market’s Northeast Region, Elly Truesdell spends her days at farmers markets talking to local food artisans about their products and taste-testing them. Yes, Whole Foods pays her to eat fresh, local foods and because of that Truesdell has a unique view on what’s coming up in the food world. She expects 2016 to be flavorful, delicious and even healthy. Ready, set, eat.

A Deliciously Briny Year

long island oysters

image: matt furman

You already know oysters are booming, after all we live on Long Island, but this year the rest of the US is catching on to why we love the shellfish. Blame it on the farm-to-table trend but with more people focused on where their food is coming from there’s been an increasing interest in oyster growing methods and the nuances that produce oyster varieties. It’s a good thing, as the rituals of oyster eating will thrive.

Everything Old is New

Thank those gluten free eaters for this one. With more and more people exploring options that don’t include gluten, Truesdell expects to see an emphasis on non-commodity wheat and alternative flours in particular rye, spelt and durum that add flavor and depth to breads, pancakes and pastries.

Let Your Inner Sweet Tooth Indulge

food trends

image: istockphoto.com/warrengoldswain

Cacao is hot this year. Restaurants and even coffee roasters are using cacao in everything. Think chocolate brewed like coffee for a pure, hot chocolate and expect chocolate bars, smoothies and puddings to get a bit crunchier as producers experiment with adding cacao nibs to dishes.

Pistachios Steal the Show

Move over almonds, you’re going to have to share the spotlight with pistachios. Truesdell has been taste-testing pistachio milks, pistachio gelatos and ice creams, and other uses of pistachio into both sweet and savory desserts.

Protein Goes to the Plants

food trends

image: istockphoto.com/pgoodie76

As more and more people turn to plants instead of animals as a way to add more protein to their diet, Truesdell believes smoothies and bars derived from plant proteins will be all the rage. Her personal favorite are chickpeas, which can be a source for gluten free pastas and flatbreads.

Sweet Goes Savory

food trends

image: emily reiter/anna delores photography

If you have more of a savory tooth than sweet, your taste buds will be rejoicing. As international spices and sauces become even more popular this year we’ll see them incorporated into traditionally sweet dishes.

Wood-Fire Anything

The wood-fire oven trend is back, but this year it’s not just for Neapolitan pizza. The combination of better quality and old grains and flours in the wood-fire oven creates unbeatable baked goods. Hello crusty breads and bagels.