Culinary Trends for 2015, Part One

4 trends that might surprise your palate

There’s no question the food industry loves to forecast new trends. Experts culling projections from caterers, restaurants, and food producers have been having a blast since the fall of 2014. They agree on one thing: 2015 looks like it will be a great year for culinary innovation. Just take a look at some of these projected trends:

3-D food. A 3-D printing company, 3D Systems, has its eye on opening a Digital Kitchen in Los Angeles by the end of the year. But this pioneer aims at where change truly begins: in the training kitchens. It’s introducing its machines to the Culinary Institute of America, where the esteemed institution will teach budding chefs to print confections. One company, CocoJet, which has partnered with Hershey, has developed machines that will print designs in sugar or chocolate. If this trend takes off, imagine what it could do to the wedding cake!

Alternative proteins: insects and reptiles. For the adventurous eater, this trend from 2014 continues into 2015, pundits say. In some cultures, munching on insects and reptiles is not new at all. Rattlesnake stew appears to be a favorite at the franchise chain Zoup! Grasshopper tacos, cricket-infused power bars, and ground-insect flour are new culinary choices. Maybe you’d like to try the “Grass Whopper,” a burger made from crickets. One industry expert believes that Americans will get past the “yuck” factor more quickly than one might think, because eating insects satisfies desire for more protein and foraging.

Local meat. But for those of you still wary of bugs, another 2015 trend is the promotion and use of locally produced meat, from grass-bed beef to free-range bacon. Local producers will be looking to promote meat and poultry just as much as grains, fruits, and vegetables. Eating local also supports Bay Area economy and it’s just a good thing to do.

Healthy candy. A boon to mothers everywhere who would prefer to see their kids make better snack choices. Using xylitol and stevia, a new treat invented by a nine-year-old has already hit Whole Foods Market shelves. It’s called Zollipops and it claims to actually prevent tooth decay. Another confection called Pocket Treats are on Walmart shelves. These treats combine olive oil, protein, and fruit. Food industry experts think this trend will really hit this year, taking healthy candy out of boutique health food stores to the general public.