food trends 2016 — in South Africa

Last year I was asked to submit a few thoughts on the food trends in South Africa. Currently and for 2016. Some of these were published in Taste Magazine (Dec 2015 edition) and the Sunday Times 24 January edition.

South Africa is right up to speed with many big global food trends but I do think in some cases we track a little behind. If you take a look at how Sriracha only really hit our shelves this year despite being a big food deal for years in the USA. The same with Chipotle — we are only starting to see these ingredients become available here now.

South American flavours are popular at the moment and I think this trend will grow in SA in 2016. We will see more authentic Mexican and Peruvian flavours and cuisine filtering onto menus, in new restaurants and on our supermarket shelves. Chipotle is gaining in popularity as this is now becoming available here.

Vegetables are all the rage, especially with the low carb diet being such a big trend and they will continue to feature in recipes, products and on restaurant menus. Especially in permutations where they replace carbohydrates (think zoodles and cauliflower rice). They will continue to be presented in exciting and new ways. You will start seeing more salad ingredients and raw vegetables on breakfast plates. The focus being on ‘clean’ eating with lots of whole grain, seeded and health-dense alternatives.

Gluten free eating will carry on gaining momentum as people seek alternatives to commodity gluten staples like pasta and bread.

Fermentation and preservation are big food trends and this will carry on gaining momentum. Kimichi and permutations of it is the condiment of the moment.

I don’t think the gourmet burger trend is going away anytime soon so we will continue to see our favourite fast casual meal delivered up in the trendiest restaurants. It will become the norm for everyone to have their version of the ultimate gourmet burger.

The doughnut is the new ‘cupcake’ and I see gourmet / artisan / specialty doughnut shops opening in SA. Possibly with interesting flavours and local ingredients. This is an offshoot of the two large global doughnut chains opening up here in 2015 / 2016.

Exciting drinks, infusions, botanicals and flavour combinations will grow in popularity in our beverage offerings. Flavours such as cucumber, mint, herbs, and coconut water will be a part of the drinks we see in restaurants and on the shelves.

Tea as in an ingredient in cocktails is a thing.

Casual dining is very popular and will continue to outshine fine dining as people look for exceptional ingredients in simple every day dishes. Pop up restaurants and short-lived restaurant venues will continue to be popular, offering customers flexibility and diversity.

Growing awareness of food provenance and a move away from commodity meat consumption.

I predict that the Cubana sandwich will be something we will start seeing on our menus as restaurants keep looking for popular and trendy fast casual meals.

Home cheese making will grow in popularity with classes being offered and I think a ‘cheese-making kits’ would be of interest to foodies wanting to flex their culinary muscles.

Bone broth will be come something you will see on drinks menus and in health food outlets.

Trends in home cooking:

Preserving (fermenting, canning, curing, smoking and dry aging)

Cheese making

Mushroom growing

Slow cooking

I have always been inspired to cook with new ingredients or try out new flavours, so I will definitely carry on with that in 2016. I’m also interested in cooking exciting vegetables dishes using different techniques and I’m planning on getting a dehydrator as I would like to incorporate more raw food into my diet. From a texture, flavour and nutritional perspective, I think raw fruit and vegetables have so much to add and I am excited to play around with that.

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