It’s hard to believe that 2016 is just around the corner. After things wind down from the holiday rush, I enjoy reflecting on everything that I experienced during the year. However, I must admit, I also have a tendency to start planning new adventures and challenges for the year ahead.
Prognosticating always is a fun way to pass the time — whether it’s for professional or personal enjoyment. As 2015 comes to a close, many industry experts have taken the time to share what food and beverage trends are in store for the new year. The following are some that grabbed my attention, and what I’ll be on the lookout for next year:
- Culinary and hospitality school Kendall College unveiled its predictions for “2016 Food and Beverage Trends for America’s taste makers — millennials.” Among those trends, Kendall Culinary and Hospitality faculty noted the emergence of Austrian red wines. Kendall College’s Beverage Professor and Sommelier John Peter Laloganes noted that millennials will look to new, unique red wine varieties from Austria such as Zweigelt, St. Laurent and Blaufrankisch. These varietals, ranging in price from $12 to $35, will be featured more prominently in retail and on wine lists in 2016, it reports.
- Sterling-Rice Group (SRG) identified its Top 10 culinary trends in “2016 Cutting-Edge Culinary Trends.” For the beverage market, the report highlighted new guises for coffee. Whether its coffee mocktails and sodas, dry-hopped coffee on nitro tap or coffee cherry brews, SRG predicts that baristas and beverage-makers’ innovative libations will continue to garner attention. The brand-building firm also noted that swiggable soups will gain in appeal to health-conscious consumers as bottled soups offer less sugar and more fiber than pressed juices.
- On a global scale, Mintel released its Top 12 trends that will impact the consumer market in its report titled “Global Food & Drink Trends for 2016.” Its “Alternatives Everywhere” trend notes that veggie burgers and non-dairy milks have expanded their appeal beyond consumers with dietary concerns or followers of vegetarian diets. In North America, the market research firm even categorizes this trend as “mainstreaming.” Also mainstreaming in North America is “Artificial: Public Enemy No. 1.” It notes that food and drink manufacturers are removing artificial ingredients from their products as more consumers demand natural and less-processed items. The market research firm adds that products that do not make this switch could face scrutiny (or worse) from consumers seeking natural products/ingredients.
- For the U.S. restaurant industry, Technomic released its “Technomic’s Take: 2016 Food Trends.” Its “Bubbly” trend notes the role effervescence will play in 2016. Beverages trending here will be Champagnes and Proseccos, Campari-and-soda aperitifs, adults-only “hard” soft drinks including ginger ales and root beers, fruit-based artisanal sodas, and sparkling teas.
As beverage-makers release new products and formulations, it will be interesting to see whether these trends are part of upcoming 2016 rollouts.