As we head toward 2019, we’ll see more nutrient-loaded, lesser-known foods; an increased ability to trace food sources and more plants on your plate. Those are some the forecasts from faculty at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as they predict food trends for 2019:
• Food Security – This is one of the greatest challenges the global community faces. Since most of the western world’s current diet relies on a limited number of crops for its major ingredients, any unpredictable changes in agriculture, such as climate change, urbanization or water shortages can lead to serious food shortage problems. As a potential solution to this critical issue, researchers see an increase in lesser-known, but highly nutritional foods on our tables. Food service vendors are using more exotic or ancient grains and produce – such as teff and breadfruit -- and this will expand to retail products. Many of these new foods are loaded with nutrients. They’re known as “superfoods,” which are even more appealing to health-conscious consumers. Contact Soo Ahn, email@example.com, or 352-294-3909.
• Blockchain – Get ready to see blockchain protocol to enhance traceability of foods in the supply chain. That means all handlers throughout the system can see how, when and where the products went from farm to table, allowing for complete transparency. No one can make a change without everyone knowing and agreeing. Contact Jeff Brecht, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 352-273-4778.
• Fruit Variety Matters -- Consumers are learning what chefs have known for years – that there is a lot of variation in the color, texture, flavor and sometimes even nutritional value among fruits and vegetables. Probably the best-known example of this increasing trend is apples. Did you know that there are more than 7,000 varieties of apples? The diversity is staggering. On average, 69 percent of U.S. consumers buy apples. As a result, grocers are likely going to expand their varieties to attract more discerning consumers. Contact Danielle Treadwell, email@example.com or 352-273-4775.
• More Plants on the Plate -- The United States has always been a very “meaty” country. However, as interest in health and wellness continues to grow, more people are electing to go the vegetarian route and forgo eating meat and other animal products. But there also has been a rise in people who enjoy a steak during a dinner out with friends but love their black bean burgers and zucchini noodles for dinner at home. As a result, there has been a huge growth of plant-based alternatives like dairy-free milks and yogurt, along with meat substitutes available in grocery stores and on restaurant menus. Contact Nan Jensen, firstname.lastname@example.org, or 727-582-210
Photo courtesy of the University of Florida