Food companies and distribution chains prepare their forecast every year, mixing experience, R&D and marketing, with data that quantify objectively what they liked more than what they proposed the previous year, in what their clients spent their money, what has made their competition better, and so on.
Some manufacturers consider, in addition, first-hand information from consumer panels, and there are those who travel to international food fairs to draw their own conclusions.
Probably, everyone also takes a look at the reports that the world’s consumer consultants produce every year, and for 2019, the new fads seem to be about ‘smart food’.
The advent of ‘smart food’ will allegedly favor digestion, optimize nutritional values and be more humanitarian and responsible with the environment.
Analysts refer to acellular agriculture, which uses, for example, bacteria and yeasts to produce milk without cows. Non-dairy milk is making its way via the use of flours of nuts and chickpeas. The same idea goes along producing pasta made of lentils, which reduces the load of materials that now are overexploited.
What is being labeled as ‘smart foods’ seeks to create suitable alternatives for sustainable development and comparable nutritional values.
There is the cauliflower pizza dough, the zucchini spaghetti, grated cauliflower that looks like rice, the chickpea chips or the nicecream, made with bananas and avocado instead of milk, cream, and eggs.
These are products in which a traditional component is replaced, intelligently, by a more fibrous one, rich in proteins or low in calories.
The experts at Whole Foods, one of the most popular supermarket chains in the US, talk about artifices for enjoyment and originality. That we must also nourish our spirit.
“There’s something comforting about a classic vanilla ice cream ball, but some consumers are looking for something, let’s say, less vanilla. The new terrines add an original touch with innovative bases such as avocado, hummus or coconut water. ”
One more term we will learn this year: “aquafaba”, the water to cook the vegetables, which is assembled just like some egg whites or makes possible a mayonnaise without eggs.
What do nutritionists say?
Vegetable drinks are a good option for people with an allergy to cow’s protein or who, for whatever reason, do not want to eat animal-based foods, provided they are enriched with calcium and vitamin D and whose sugar content be similar to milk.
In short, continue to investigate to offer alternatives that enrich the palate of those who have digestive restrictions.
But do not forget that for those who “need” there are those for whom the new fad is not vital in the strictest sense of the word. In many cases, these foods do not provide any nutritional or health benefits and may end up creating a problem by inadequate intake of nutrients.
It’s important to remember how difficult it is to fill the fridge with them without getting caught up spending much more money than when buying traditional foods.
The key is nutrition. “Using alternative ingredients in snacks or ice cream to improve their nutritional profile, can also be good.
In general, replacing animal materials with vegetables has health and planet benefits. However, changing cereals for vegetables, as in the colirroz, is still a culinary alternative that can make food like cauliflower more palatable to children, but both have their role in the diet and must be consumed.
Bringing fruit by boat from Brazil, no matter how “organic” it is, is a catastrophe for the environment. But if we only eat foods that are grown close to where we live it would be beneficial for us and the environment.
When we speak of this as a tool to curb climate change, we refer to finding the recommended foods in the closest possible environment. The empowerment of the buyer continues to motivate changes in the industry.
The client expects more and in 2019 clients can contribute to social movements that trigger changes beyond the retail world.
The goal is fresh and nutritious food
We often talk about real unprocessed food. Why? Because studies show how the degree of processing is as important as the nutrient content and that the more processing the worse it is for consumers.
Trends show that new foods and dishes prepared with few ingredients will be introduced, in line with what dietitians advocates. Most of them recommend a maximum of five meals a day, and none of them with sugar, salt, flour or vegetable oil.
A dish with many ingredients, if they are fresh and little processed and, in addition, of vegetable origin should predominate in our diets. That needs to be accompanied by a simple preparation.
The key is in the quality and nutritional profile of the main ingredients of the dish. However, it is true that some complex elaborations use techniques that require adding a lot of fat or fatty ingredients. In these cases, undoubtedly, simple preparation such as steaming, in papillote or sautéed, is better.
It is important to prioritize food made with fresh vegetables and rice or whole grains or legumes.
Sandwiches are another alternative. It is not usual to find options made with wholemeal bread, although it is becoming easier to see fillings rich in vegetables such as roasted peppers or legumes such as hummus.
Add some flexibility to that roast
Veganism is not a food movement, but a whole lifestyle. Its followers are driven by moral conviction, not taste. Many of the newly convinced and long-lived animal-friendly folks leave taste texture and even the ceremonies of the meat aside.
“One in eight Britons is vegetarian or vegan, with 21% identifying themselves as a flexitarian. This means that a third of British people eat less meat or nothing at all.
But the meaning of vegetarian or vegan is shifting towards a more practical approach.
For many, the distinction between vegetarians and meat eaters still exists but, for others, the lines have faded.
Not only one in five Britons is defined as flexitarian, but half of those who consider themselves vegans or vegetarians eat meat on weekends, occasionally or at special events.
Vegetarianism has grown and evolved and people go in and out of it. Customers are looking for meat-free inspiration. Searches for vegetable barbeque recipes grew 350% last summer, with beetroot burgers and celery steaks high on the list.
Choosing a low or no meat lifestyle does not mean missing out on long-honored cooking rituals.
Today, vegetables are prepared and cooked with the same care and attention that we dedicate to meat or fish.