Last year at this time, optimistic trend forecasters predicted that the cork would burst from the bottle by summer. With vaccines in arms, food culture would vibrate in a robust economy. American menus would be full of innovation driven by waves of international travel, and a new generation of digital-native cooks would rewrite the rules.
Clearly, the prediction game can be a losing one. But so what if things didn’t turn out like everyone thought they would? Trying to forecast food trends is still fun, and sometimes even accurate. (Kudos to those professional prognosticators who in recent years nailed the mainstream rise of quesabirria, soufflé pancakes, delivery-only restaurants and CBD. And a special citation for those who saw early on that those ripples of veganism would become a plant-based tsunami.)
So how are things looking for 2022? Not great. The year is starting with a surge of a highly contagious variant of Covid-19 that is only adding to the economic uncertainty. Social-justice concerns remain top of mind for many, as does pressure from a fast-changing climate. All of it will affect how food is grown, cooked and packaged.
But don’t despair. “Constraint breeds innovation,” said Anna Fabrega, a former Amazon executive who recently took over as the chief executive at the meal subscription service Freshly. She and other food industry leaders in the United States say 2022 will be another pragmatic, roll-up-your sleeves kind of year, shaped by the needs of people working from home and by the culinarily-astute-but-fickle Gen Z, whose members want food with sustainable ingredients and a strong cultural back story, prepared without exploitation and delivered in a carbon-neutral way — within 30 minutes.
With that in mind, here are some potential developments, big and small, that could define how we eat in the new year, based on a review of dozens of trend reports and interviews with food company executives, global market researchers and others who make it their business to scour the landscape for what’s next.
Ingredient of the Year
厨师可以期待使用更多在城市仓库内种植的蘑菇,比如纽约的Smallhold。 Chris Maggio for The New York Times
Mushrooms have landed on many prediction lists, in almost every form, from psilocybin mushrooms (part of the renewed interest in psychedelics) to thick coins of king oyster mushrooms as a stand-in for scallops. The number of small urban farms growing mushrooms is expected to bloom, and mushroom fibers will start to proliferate as a cheap, compostable medium for packaging.
Drink of the Year
喝着像长岛冰茶这样的鸡尾酒,就像回到了1985年的派对。 Linda Xiao for The New York Times
Even in the age of no-alcohol cocktails, all those 1980s drinks you can barely remember (for obvious reasons) are coming back. Look for Blue Lagoons, Tequila Sunrises, Long Island iced tea and amaretto sours re-engineered with fresh juices, less sugar and better spirits. “We all need things that are sweet and colorful and joyful and playful, especially now,” said Andrew Freeman, president of AF & Co., the San Francisco consulting firm that for 14 years has published a popular food and hospitality trend report. (A corollary to the cocktails: the rise of ecospirits, made with ingredients from local farms or food waste, and packaged and shipped using climate-friendly methods.)
尽管在一个无酒精鸡尾酒的年代,许多我们差不多已经忘记(原因很显然)的1980年代饮品却回归了。去找找蓝潟湖、龙舌兰日出、长岛冰茶和改良版杏仁酸酒——用新鲜果汁、少糖、更好的烈酒。“我们都需要一些甜的、多彩的、开心的、好玩的东西,尤其是现在,”旧金山咨询公司AF & Co.总裁安德鲁·弗里曼说,过去14年来,这家公司一直在发表一份受欢迎的食品和酒店业趋势报告。(鸡尾酒的必然趋势:生态烈酒兴起,这种酒使用当地农场食材或废弃食物制作,用环保方法包装和运输。)
Chicken, Re-hatched
在预测的鸡肉趋势中:纯素替代品的持续增加。 Kelsey McClellan for The New York Times
Meat grown in laboratories from animal cells is on its way to winning federal approval as soon as the end of 2022, and chicken will be one of the first products to become available. But plant-based chicken from companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have recently arrived in groceries and restaurants, and the battle is on to determine which substitute will dominate the market. And in the real-chicken world, a shortage of wings has restaurants trying to persuade the masses to love a different part of the chicken. The Wingstop chain, for instance, has expanded its brand with Thighstop.
用动物细胞在实验室中培育出的肉类将最早在2022年底获得联邦批准,而鸡肉将成为首批上市的产品之一。不过,来自Impossible Foods和Beyond Meat等公司的植物基鸡肉最近已进入杂货店和餐馆,决定哪种替代品将主导市场的竞争正在进行。在使用真鸡的餐饮世界中,鸡翅短缺使得餐厅试图说服大众喜欢鸡肉的不同部位。例如,Wingstop连锁店建立了Thighstop作为品牌扩展。
Seaweed to the Rescue
海带养殖在缅因州很流行。 Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press
Kelp grows fast, has a stand-up nutritional profile and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and nitrogen from the ocean. As a result, farmed kelp will move beyond dashi and the menus at some high-end restaurants and into everyday foods like pasta and salsa.
Candy Nostalgia
来自韩国的流行网飞剧《鱿鱼游戏》使糖饼家喻户晓。 Sang An for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews. Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks.
Nostalgic childhood favorites from China (White Rabbit candy and haw flakes) and South Korea (the honeycomb-like treat ppopgi, a.k.a. dalgona candy, and Apollo straws) will work their way into American shopping carts and recipes for desserts and drinks.
Robusta Rising
阿拉比卡咖啡,为图中的口味丰富的罗布斯塔咖啡让位吧。 HERA FOOD / Alamy
The third-wave coffee movement was built on arabica, the world’s most popular coffee. But climate change is threatening production and driving prices up, said Kara Nielsen, who tracks food and drink trends for WGSN, a consumer forecasting and consulting firm. Enter robusta, the bitter, heavily caffeinated workhorse that is less expensive and easier to cultivate. It is the predominant bean grown in Vietnam, where coffee is made with a metal filter called a phin and sweetened with condensed milk and sometimes an egg yolk. A new style of Vietnamese coffee shop is popping up in many American cities, promising to take the robusta right along with it.
Tasty Tableware
可食用的威化杯可以长时间保持松脆(且不传热),足以等你喝完早晨的咖啡。 Cupffee Ltd.
The quality of edible spoons, chopsticks, plates, bowls and cups is going up and the price is going down, signaling the start of a full-fledged edible-packaging revolution aimed at reducing single-use containers and plastic waste.
Sugar and ‘Swice’
甜辣口味的结合产生了一个新的形容词:swicy。 Karsten Moran for The New York Times
Mash-ups like “swicy” and “swalty” will join the linguistic mania that brought us unfortunate nicknames like char coot and Cae sal (charcuterie and Caesar salad, that is). The new phraseology reflects an even wider embrace of flavor fusions that marry savory spices and heat with sweetness. Nene, a South Korean-based fried chicken chain that is just starting to move into North America, has even named a sauce swicy. Its flavor profile mirrors what would happen if gochujang and ketchup had a baby.
Flavor of the Year
扶桑花是在许多茶文化中的传统成分,现在它正在进入新的领域。 Sue Wilson / Alamy
Yuzu has its fans, but the even money is on hibiscus, which is adding its crimson hue and tart, earthy flavor to everything from cocktails and sodas to crudos and yogurt.
A Focus on India
裹一个鸡蛋的鸡肉丸是纽约Dhamaka供应的菜肴之一,那里以印度地域美食为特色。 Jenny Huang for The New York Times
With Covid limiting international travel in 2021, cooks in the United States explored regional American food. In 2022, regional foods from India will get a lot of attention, with deep dives into dishes from Gujarat, Kerala, Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and the Awadh area.
Vibe of the Year
在经历了一年的短缺和冲突之后,2022年应是善意和耐心的一年。 Clay Williams for The New York Times
With the supply chain in tatters and restaurant staffs stretched nearly to the breaking point, demanding shoppers and diners are out, and patience is in. A growing interest in the historical and cultural nature of food and its impact on the climate will only add to what forecasters (optimistically) say will be a new emphasis on kindness and understanding.
As Jennifer Zigler, the associate director of food and drink at the research firm Mintel, put it: “We’ve all gone through this stressful, anxious couple of years, and there’s that willingness to have some empathy and understanding.”
A Buffet of Other Bites
白酒鸡尾酒出现在纽约和旧金山的酒吧。 Thomas Peter/Reuters
Beyond the big trends are a long menu of smaller ones: the growing popularity of Koji bacon, the Chinese spirit baijiu and the noodle soup laksa. Jollof rice will appear on menus and in the frozen-foods section. Seeds will muscle in on nuts as an alternative protein source, in products like butters and ice creams. And look for a burst of new interest in animal-free cheese, potato milk, moringa, Taiwanese breakfast dishes, high tea and olives.