Sour beers, edible marijuana, vegan bowls and more
By Rieva Lesonsky
Andrew Freeman & Co., a hospitality consulting firm, is out with its picks for the hottest food and beverage trends for 2017. Here’s a sampling:
- “Dish of the Year”: breakfast sandwiches. But these egg sandwiches are not just for breakfast—upscale versions are being served at dinner.
- As more states legalize marijuana, AF&Co predicts an increase in marijuana-laced food and beverages, including edibles, cocktails and wine.
- The popularity of vegetables continues to grow. “Whole-plant butchery is here to stay—nothing goes to waste.”
- As the vegan lifestyle becomes more mainstream, cheese alternatives are popping up everywhere. “Advances in food technology and vegan acceptance have paved the way for lots of animal-free products, all engineered to look and taste like the real thing.”
- Grain bowls, a staple vegetarian menu item, are perfect for customizing—include an option to add meat.
- The new ice (cream) age is all about creative ways to indulge in our favorite frozen delights.
- Look for a rise in popularity of lesser-known Asian cuisines, including Filipino, Taiwanese, Laotian, Malaysian and Indonesian.
- “Wine of the Year”: natural wine, which is “minimally processed, additive-free, and generally produced without adding or removing anything and targeted to health-conscious consumers.
- “Beer of the Year”: sour beer (Flanders Red, Berliner Weisse, Gose) is “taking the beer scene by storm.”
- “Spirit of the Year”: sake. Craft sake breweries and bars are opening nationwide.
- “Beverage of the Year”: Switchel, a nonalcoholic drink which has been a “thirst-quencher amongst farmers for hundreds of years.” Switchel is tart and tangy—and is gaining popularity as a healthy sports drink alternative.
- Reinventing old cocktail recipes. Bartenders are taking classic cocktail concepts and personalizing them. The cocktails are recognizable, yet “significantly unique.”
- Coffee on draft. Look for draft lattes and more nitro coffee kegs and taps. While it’s “not easy to pull off logistically, there is a strong desire for independents and chains to offer a more boutique experience.”
- Canned wine. Driven by a desire for recyclables and sustainable footprints, alternative packaging for wine has been on the rise. Now wines in a can “are experiencing solid growth.”