Columnists

Top entree salads

Top entree salads Specialty salads are the leading type of entree salads on Canadian menus, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor database. This type of salad allows a concept to differentiate their menu from that of competitors, offering up unique flavours and ingredients created specifically with customer preferences in mind. Specialty salads…

Celebrating Canada this National Caesar Day

Today is National Caesar Day, an undoubtedly exciting day for Canadians, and Caesar-lovers at large. As the Food Network says, “For Canadians, caesars are like hockey games, Tim Hortons, or even, dare I say, denim-on-denim. It defines us, unites us, and just makes us who we are. It’s the signature…

#Terroir2017: Save $100!

As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, Terroir Symposium marks its gastronomic coming of age by honouring the culinary mosaic that resides on all three coasts. In this country of mountains, prairies, oceans, lakes and rivers, this year’s Terroir Symposium is delving into First Nations food traditions—inherently respectful of the natural world—and…

Top Flavours in Non-alcohol Frozen Beverages

Tropical flavours proliferate in non-alcohol frozen beverages on Canadian menus, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor. Fruits like banana, mango and pineapple take the top three spots on the list of leading flavours. The rich, creaminess of banana lends itself well to fruit smoothies and chillers and pairs with almost any other…

Food Show Innovation: What’s Hot and What’s Not

It’s an early Saturday morning as you jump out of an Uber at The Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco. Fresh pressed juices, aromatic coffee, donut muffins, roast chicken, gorgeous tartines and more to temp your taste buds.  The Saturday morning farmer’s market surrounds the building ~ showcasing the best…

Trends vs. Fads

As a leading Global Culinary Trendologist, I go beyond the borders and get up close and personal with the food industry. You can find me touring food shows around the globe, presenting my Trend Watch Report at industry conferences, exploring greenmarkets along with gourmet & grocery stores and cooking and tasting with chefs in fabulous restaurants everywhere. I share my findings with my clients and help to inspire, guide and create on-trend, on-time, great-tasting food products and menu items.

The number of new food products and menu items I taste in a month is what makes my job exciting each day ~ and yes, you can come along with me anytime you want to follow my fork!

So, what makes a trend succeed and a fad fall off our culinary radar screen?

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Trends are identifiable and must speak to your target consumer. Fads can be called hype and are unpredictable and quick to market.

I stay very externally focused to be able to think about how trends and fads will affect the food industry. My sought-after Trend Watch Report looks at emerging, developing and existing areas of the food world. Being aware and informed helps you to know what makes cauliflower and kale, stand apart from rainbow coloured donuts or ramen burgers.

I am getting ready to head to The Good Food Awards and The Fancy Food Show early in 2017. Here are some food trends that I expect to taste while I am there.

Love Food / Hate Waste

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The stigma of imperfect produce is fading. Innovative food companies and creative chefs will be leading this trend in 2017. Misfit Juicery in Washington DC is so creative what fruits and vegetables they use to make fabulous juices.

The Forager Project is turning the fresh-pressed fruits and veggies from their juices and smoothies into vegetable chips. Watch for more ‘ugly’ produce in grocery stores.

Origin

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Consumers know more about food than ever before. Culinary tourism leads to more knowledge and an increase in passion for food. This means that just serving a lasagna is not good enough anymore. Now, it should be made with hand cut noodles & baked in a wood-burning oven in a Tuscan tomato sauce.

This sense of origin can be applied to almost anything on your menu or on a grocery shelf. Think about the authenticity, the ‘true taste’ – ultimately, remember to “Tell The Story!”

What Can You Waffle?

jgrd5jnkcxy-the-anchor This just could be the dish of the year! It’s more than just chicken & waffles or waffles for breakfast with some maple syrup. Watch for creative menus that offer waffles made from:

  • Hash browns
  • French toast
  • Grilled cheese
  • And my favourite: stuffing waffles served with gravy, mashed potatoes and roast turkey or chicken

Be sure to watch for my article in February where I will share the tastes of The Good Food Awards & The Fancy Food Show with you.

Taste! Taste! Taste!

Top Healthy Claims on Menus

Top Healthy Claims on Menus According to Technomic’s MenuMonitor, “gluten-free” is the leading health claim on Canadian menus, appearing 1,956 times. Operators are expanding the gluten-free options they offer on menus to appeal to health-focused diners in addition to diners with dietary restrictions. Restaurants are serving up gluten-free varieties of…

This is Innovation: Foodservice Trend Predictions for 2017

As we move towards 2017, what is in my culinary crystal ball?

Hi, it’s Christine Couvelier. For over 30 years I have been a Global Culinary Trendologist, an Executive Chef and a Culinary Executive. I have been privileged to work with some of the world’s leading food companies & restaurant chains.

What do I love to do? Translate upcoming food trends into on-trend, on-time, great-tasting food products & menu items. I predict that 2017 will be a great year in the food world!

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The Taste Of Tumeric

This colourful, aromatic powder from a perennial plant in the ginger family is set to wake up palates next year.

Tumeric has many health benefits – helping to promote a balanced mood, helping with aches & stiff joints & helps with inflammation. This flavourful spice is not just an ingredient in Indian dishes. During the past year we have seen it in bone broths and in tea. Watch for it in salad dressings, juices and smoothies.

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Cheers to Mocktails

A makeover for mocktails! With fresh herbs and shrubs, this makes soda more than just a substitute for a cocktail. Watch for great drinks flavoured with teas, fruits – all sweetened with maple syrup or birch syrups. I recently had a fabulous mocktail sangria, made with hibiscus berry tea, basil infused maple syrup, apples and lemon at a cold-pressed juice bar.

It’s all about fresh! Innovative bartenders will be the stars of new restaurants as we toast 2017.

Nuts for Coconuts

The coconut trend is still growing. I believe we will see it grow further in 2017 and into 2018. Is it the next superfood?

We are seeing lots of versatility with coconut products and menu items. It’s not limited to just coconut water and beverages; look for innovation with chips, crackers, spreads, oils and vinegars.

Not to mention, I love using coconut flour! It’s not just a 1:1 substitute for all-purpose flour, so a bit of experimenting will be necessary in the test kitchen. Pancakes made with coconut flour are lighter and more delicate. Chocolate chip cookies will become a favourite with coconut flour, and I just tested a Banoffee sticky loaf for a sweet treat!

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It’s all about the veggies and only getting bigger

Vegetables have been the centre of the plate for a while, but as we move into 2017, it is still about the greenhouse choices. Plant butchers, cauliflower rice, roasted radishes are only a few of the tasty innovations to come.

Meatless burgers: great tasting innovations from new proteins (insects, legumes, pulses etc.) will grow through 2017 and beyond.

Tastes To Watch

  • Kelp is the new Kale: it’s so healthy with lots of interesting varieties to choose from and is high in umami.
  • Harissa is the new Sriracha: drizzle this flavourful, North African hot chili pepper paste on hummus or grilled cauliflower and then toss on grilled shrimp for a wow!
  • Donuts are the new Cupcakes: not just a jelly donut anymore. Savoury donuts will be tempting more palates in 2017.

Watch for the next article in January 2017, focusing on where to look for trends and why knowing ‘What You Can Waffle’ is something for the food industry to pay attention to.

Read more about my taste and trends predictions for 2017 in this great Forbes article.