Food Trends of Summer ’18: What Will Stick Around?

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I know what you’re thinking: Is avocado toast still a thing?  Do people still nosh on kale chips?  What about sushi burritos?  Rainbow bagels?

There’s always some new item on the market.  We can’t help but be drawn to never-seen-before foods.  Although these foods are usually questionably colorful, everyone and their mother raves about the funky-looking foods for two months — then totally forgets about the fad and moves onto the next big thing.  With all that being said, let’s evaluate this summer’s food trends.

  • Kombucha
    • Fermented foods are in.  For many, kombucha is an acquired  taste; it’s similar to beer in that it’s fizzy and tangy, but is unlike beer in that it is great for your gut bacteria.  Kombucha is filled with Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast (aka scoby) and works to aid digestion.  So if you’re in need of some probiotics but are wary of reaching for pills, grab a Kombucha instead.  My favorite brand is GT and can be found at most grocery stores.
  • Poke
    • Pronounced Poke-eh.   This dish originated in Hawaii but is growing in popularity in the Southeast due to its versatility and healthy benefits.  Poke restaurants offer toppings like raw fish, sesame seeds, bean sprouts, red onions, and soy sauce.  Think sushi-style Chipoltle.  Is your interest peaked? Poke Bros recently opened a location in Greenville.
  • Colorful sweet potatoes
    • Orange sweet potatoes are so last year.  Seriously — did you know there are around 4,000 varieties of sweet potatoes?  Yowza.  Nowadays, more supermarkets than ever are selling purple sweet potatoes, Murasaki sweet potatoes (yellow on the inside, purple on the outside), and Hanna sweet potatoes (white on the inside and outside).  So next time you’re on the hunt for an ol’ potato, reach for something new!
  • Mushroom powders
    • Mushroom powders are fun guys.  (Do you get it?  No?  No one else likes my puns?  Okay then).  Recipes are popping up all over the web titled “Chaga Lattes” or “Reishi Smoothies.”  Mushroom powders are nutrient-dense, raw, and when blended with cocoa powder and agave, make a good replacement for hot chocolate.
  • Tahini
    • This creamy, smooth, buttery paste has my heart.  It also has my tastebuds.  Tahini is sesame seed paste (similar to peanut butter in texture, but not in taste).  Not only is tahini a key component to making hummus, but it is also becoming popular in dessert-making — replace butter with tahini when making your next chocolate cake for a fun twist or simply drizzle a spoon of tahini on top of your jam & toast.  You won’t regret it. 

So — will these trendy foods stick around for the summer?

Kombucha?  Yes, I think so.  Kombucha is a fizzy, cold drink that will keep you cool and satisfy your sweet tooth all while aiding your gut.

Poke?  Probably.  Considering this dish is also a light, refreshing lunch, it’s perfect for the sweaty summer months.

Colorful sweet potatoes?  Debatable.  People stick to what they know, and an orange baked potato typically hits the spot.  The higher price point of funky-colored potatoes might further convince people to keep on keepin’ on with the classic yam.

Mushroom powders? Eh… Slapping together the words “mushroom” and “powders” is enough to make people say, “I think I’ll pass.”  But if you’re the gutsy type, these healthy powders might be worth a try.

Tahini?  Oh yeah.  Tahini is the up-and-coming, allergy-friendly cousin to peanut butter.  It’s versatile, ethnic, and, when paired with the right stuff, is downright delicious.

What’s your favorite food fad?  Have you tried mushroom powders?

Gigi Nally
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