Culinary Horizons: Anticipated Food Trends in 2024, Unveiled by Experts

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Discover “Culinary Horizons: Anticipated Food Trends in 2024” A yearning for authenticity, a desire to protect the planet and embrace nature, and a craving to add some excitement to our culinary experiences—these are the contemporary sentiments influencing the trends that will grace our plates and glasses in 2024, as predicted by experts in the field.

We consulted nearly a dozen industry insiders, including chefs and a food futurologist, to gain insights into what to anticipate in the coming year for food and drink. Here’s what they shared.

Culinary Horizons: Anticipated Food Trends in 2024, Unveiled by Experts | Stock Photo

An Emphasis on Global Flavors

“An emphasis on global flavors” is a fascinating concept with many potential interpretations! To understand your intent better, could you please tell me a bit more about what you have in mind? Here are some possibilities:

  • Cuisine: Are you interested in exploring specific global cuisines, like Thai curry, Ethiopian stews, or Italian pizzas? Perhaps you’re looking for restaurants that feature a diverse range of international dishes.
  • Cooking: Do you want to learn about cooking techniques or ingredients used in different cultures? Maybe you’re interested in trying out new recipes that incorporate global flavors.
  • Travel: Are you planning a trip and curious about the local culinary scene? Or, are you looking for ways to bring a taste of the world to your own kitchen, even if you can’t travel?
  • Business: Are you working on a project or product that involves global flavors? Perhaps you’re researching trends in the food and beverage industry or developing a marketing campaign that highlights cultural diversity.
  • Personal interest: Do you simply have a general appreciation for the richness and variety of flavors found around the world? You might be interested in learning more about the history and cultural significance of different culinary traditions.

Once I have a better understanding of your interest in global flavors, I can provide you with more specific and relevant information.

More Asian ingredients

Expect Asian flavors and ingredients to have a moment. Black sesame, ube, and milk tea will follow the path of matcha and become more prevalent, predicts Denise Purcell, vice president of resource development with the Specialty Food Association, a trade group that hosts the Fancy Food Show. “We’re seeing milk tea-filled donuts and ube hot chocolate,” she says. “I was just someplace where they had black sesame cookies.” The flavors are also popping up in salty snacks, like black milk tea popcorn, Purcell notes.

Andrea Xu, co-founder and CEO of Umamicart, an online grocer that specializes in Asian groceries, anticipates more people will embrace Asian fruits, such as rambutan, pink guava, longan, mangosteen, and various types of dragon fruit. “If you go for the golden variety, it will be much sweeter and softer,” Xu says of dragon fruit. “The white and purple varieties are a little tangier. They make for really good smoothies.”

In Denver, Ni and Anna Nguyen—the married chefs behind popular Vietnamese restaurant Sap Sua—are excited about the emergence of first-generation Asian chefs diversifying what dining looks like. “A lot of people are starting to recognize that there’s a difference between the cuisines,” Ni says. “What makes Filipino cuisine special, and what makes Vietnamese cuisine special? It’s not just lumped into one category.”

Steps Toward Sustainability

One of the undercurrents driving food and drink trends is our collective desire to take care of the planet. More companies will prioritize sustainability in the coming months in surprising ways. Expect, for instance, the rise of alternative chocolates. As Lancaster points out, the demand for cocoa has led to deforestation worldwide; plus, access to it is becoming more difficult and expensive. Alternative chocolate is “made without cocoa,” but it still tastes remarkably similar to your standard bar, she says. “There’s a group of innovators who are creating alternatives that have the same taste, smell, and melt of original chocolate.” One U.S.-based company, Voyage Foods, uses ingredients like grape seeds, sunflower protein flour, and sunflower lecithin to make their alternative chocolate. In the U.K., WNWN Food Labs replaces cocoa beans with ingredients like cereals and legumes.

Other companies are responding to water scarcity, extreme heat, and droughts by creating products that minimize their water footprint. For example: waterless plant milks come in powder form, so you can mix in water at home. “The industry is realizing that we’re paying to ship water—that’s 90% of the product,” Lancaster says. “It’s a huge CO2 emitter, and it adds to the cost of the product.” Other companies are utilizing drought-friendly crops like prickly pear cactus to make snacks like popcorn, trail mix, and candy.

Meanwhile, as we learn more about the climate impact of marine ingredients, expect innovators to start showcasing lesser-known ones, Lancaster says. That includes urchins and fish roe—all of which “create a really lovely, savory, umami depth of flavor, and they’re bringing it to a wider range of dishes.”

Fun With Fungi

Todd Anderson, a chef and founder of the Turnip Vegan Recipe Club, gets mushy when talking about mushrooms. In 2024, more of us will embrace fungi, he predicts—and mushrooms will shine as a meat replacement. Anderson recently made mushroom meatballs and roasted lion’s mane, a mushroom that grows on woody tree trunks. He also enjoys dishes like shiitake bacon, mushroom roast beef, and maple sausage made out of mushrooms. Many mushrooms are easy to grow at home, he says, even for people in urban environments—and he’s looking forward to seeing more people grow and experiment with them in 2024.

A Celebration of Vegetables

Matty Matheson, a chef and restaurateur who starred in FX’s restaurant dramedy The Bear, doesn’t consider himself a big trends guy—but he’s excited about veggies. We’re about to see a surge in “vegetable-forward restaurants,” he says. “I think people are now understanding how to cook vegetables in a way that’s more profound and more exhilarating for their customers and for themselves.” Take broccoli, for instance. You might see it grilled or pureed; a chef might stew its leaves with collard greens. Another increasingly popular technique: cooking Brussels sprouts’ “beautiful, very robust” leaves as though they were collard greens, which Matheson describes as especially flavorful. “Having more vegetables on the forefront is going to be a big thing.”

Dinner in a Drink

Lauren Paylor O’Brien, a mixologist who’s the winner of Drink Masters season 1 on Netflix, likes to use food as inspiration for the drinks she creates. In 2024, she predicts we’ll see more culinary integration with booze. During a recent event, she paired a scoop of honey ice cream with three drops of olive oil and a fizzy whiskey cocktail. It’s a “sensory experience,” she says. “There’s the visual appearance of ice cream in a glass, the carbonation from the drink as you’re pouring it, the aromatics from both the ice cream and the canned cocktail, the additional flavor profile of adding olive oil, and then also the aromatics that you’re getting from the olive oil.”

Mixologists worldwide are embracing meal profiles for drink flavors, Lancaster notes. She points to Double Chicken Please, a New York City bar, where patrons can order cocktails like the Cold Pizza (Don Fulano Blanco, parmigiano Reggiano, burnt toast, tomato, basil, honey, and egg white) or Mango Sticky Rice (Bacardi Reserva Ocho, mango, sticky rice pu’er tea, wakame, cold brew, coconut). At the Savory Project bar in Hong Kong, patrons can sip on drinks that utilize ingredients like beef, charred corn husks, leeks, and shiitake mushrooms. “Really unexpected flavor profiles” are going to be big, Lancaster says.

More Mindful Drinking

For years, Derek Brown was best known in Washington, D.C., for owning high-profile bars. But the longtime bartender’s attitude about alcohol has shifted, and he’s now an advocate for non-alcoholic cocktails (he wrote the Mindful Mixology recipe book in 2022).

In 2024, Brown expects we’ll see the continued rise of mindful drinking, vs. an either/or approach. “We still see a lot of polarization in discussions about alcohol,” he says. “They tend to revert to: drink or don’t drink.” Instead, we’ll start to hear more about what he calls “substituters,” or people who switch between “non-alcoholic and alcoholic adult sophisticated beverages based on the occasion.” That allows us to keep the best parts of drinking—being social and trying delicious drinks, Brown says—while leaving heavy consumption behind.

Another trend bubbling toward the surface is non-alcoholic wine, Brown predicts. Attention has largely centered on non-alcoholic beer until now, but companies like Leitz in Germany and Giesen in New Zealand are starting to offer dealcoholized wines. Many add teas and extracts to compensate for the body and flavor lost during the dealcoholization process—and Brown describes their taste as “amazing.”

Funky Flavors, Ingredients, and Colors

In a recent conversation, Xu enjoyed Lay’s “numb & spicy hot pot” flavored potato chips while discussing the evolving snack landscape. People are exploring beyond traditional snacks, embracing unique options like roasted cumin lamb skewer Lay’s, Sichuan Peppercorn Doritos, and Lay’s Stax potato chips flavored like jamon (Spanish ham).

On a more sophisticated note, chef Michele Mazza anticipates working with distinctive pasta flavors, such as squid ink pasta with its salty, oceanic hints, and truffle-infused pasta offering earthy tones. Whimsical pasta shapes like orecchiette, farfalle, fusilli, and Cavatappi are expected to gain popularity.

According to food futurologist Morgaine Gaye, the color blue will dominate, reflecting our continued quest for solace in a divided world. Inspired by ocean and sky hues, snacks and meals will incorporate blue through ingredients like butterfly pea protein and blue-green algae. Additionally, floral flavors such as rose, lavender, and violet will make appearances in various culinary delights, offering comfort, kindness, and a connection to nature in the quest for mental well-being.

2024 is poised to be a year where diverse and unconventional flavors, colors, and shapes take center stage, providing a sensory escape and satisfying the cravings for novelty and comfort.




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