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Ugly Fruit+ Plant Butchers: Forecasting for a New Year from Trendologist Christine Couvelier

Where do we go when we’re looking through the kitchen for a special item? We root around in the pantry of course! Look no further than our MENU pantry for the latest ideas, ingredients, inspiration trends, technology, equipment, products or services.



Today’s consumer is rushed and looking for more time in their days. We have an expectation of being able to customize food choices. Meal delivery services such as Blue Apron in the US, Marley Spoon (from Martha Stewart) and Fresh Prep in Vancouver are in our immediate future as is further revolutionizing the ways that food can be ordered, customized and delivered. 

CUSTOMIZATION is key: this is just the beginning of the delivery revolution; consumers want to innovate and customize their meals in their own kitchens too. Customization is showing up in grocery stores; retail operations are carrying products chosen according to regional preferences and buying habits. Watch for aromatic pizza stations, trendy poke bowls, build-your-own-sandwich bars, seasonal, fresh seafood grill stations and retro flavours like mouthwatering brisket to accompany craft beers and clever cocktails. 

Poke (pronounced POH-keh): a traditional Hawaiian dish. Poke is essentially a raw fish salad in a savoury marinade of soy sauce, sesame oil, green onion and spice; seaweed, fruits and/or vegetables and oily fish such as tuna, octopus or salmon; with sushi-styled white rice. 


Turmeric (Curcuma longa): the colourful, aromatic powder from a perennial plant in the ginger family has been awakening palates for millennia in parts of Asia. Today it is a beloved ingredient which is about to be elevated further. Its rich, gorgeous hue is a draw in itself; but historically turmeric has been regarded as one of the healthiest ingredients in the world. Turmeric’s active ingredient is curcumin, and its purported health benefits include mood balancing, reducing inflammation and fighting infections. This flavourful spice is not only a staple ingredient in Asian dishes; we have recently seen it in bone broths and in teas. Watch for turmeric in salad dressings, juices and smoothies.


Innovation around how to use food waste will be in the spotlight in 2017—think about the southern tradition of turning watermelon rinds into pickles. 

Watch for the local cold-pressed juice bar, the salad bar, or your fave takeout menu to feature ugly fruits and vegetables to create fabulously healthy treats, meals, drinks and smoothies! 


RETRO DESSERTS ROCK  – Watch for tastes that are blasts from the past! 

Coconut cream pie–great tasting and a classic example of a favourite food memory. Innovate by creating a new red velvet cake, a decadent trifle, a gooey bread and butter pudding; or even a buckle, a crumble or a cobbler. 


Meatballs are timeless, made into a slider or topped with a nostalgic pasta sauce as a mouthwatering main course. 

Italian pasta sauces—master a few of the quintessential Italian sauces such as Alfredo, Aglio e Olio, Marinara, Carbonara or Natasha. These old flavours made new again are trending tanto. 


Vegetables have been the centre of the plate for a while, but as we move into 2017 and on the cutting edge of an indoor farming technology revolution, it’s all about the greenhouse. Plant butchers, cauliflower rice, roasted radishes are only a few of the tasty innovations to come. Meatless burgers and great tasting recipes using novel proteins in the consumer market—insects, legumes, pulses—will grow through 2017 and beyond