The Best Food Trends of 2015

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Cupcakes are still vastly overrated and the grip of juicing had morphed into a spin-off, souping. But at Paste Food, we like to focus on the positive. This year offered some intriguing trends, many of them further developments of long-stewing groundswells. Here’s what we got excited about.

The True Potential of Canned Bean Juice Is Discovered, Then Embraced
The gloppy liquid drained off from a can of beans turns out to be the holy grail of vegan baking: a decent substitute for egg whites. To make it sound more appetizing, American software engineer Goose Wohlt coined the term “aquafaba.” We’re not so hot about that name either, but that’s probably splitting hairs. Sure, canned bean juice won’t save the world, but this small and delightfully thrifty discovery is a bright spot for anyone who’s ever cursed the gluey results you get from a box of that powdered Ener-G egg replacer crap. As a huge bonus, you can use canned bean juice—er, aquafaba—as an emulsifier in this surprisingly good DIY Earth Balance-esque buttery spread shared in the Washington Post. So much suddenly realized potential for a liquid I used to just dump on my dog’s food! (Sara Bir)

More People Use Exciting Whole-Grain and Alternative Flours
I am so excited that people are finally waking up to the fact that using plain all-purpose white flour is entirely boring. Not to mention, not very nutritious. There are so many recipes employing all kinds of whole grains and flours, from rye to spelt, and it’s nice to see these more and more ancient grains making a comeback, not to mention, that often these grains are grown and milled locally, which is revolutionizing the artisan baking industry. (Anna Brones)

Euro-Style Yogurts Take Over the Dairy Aisle
Yogurt used to be considered a blah food here in the US, something to add lots of convoluted flavors and artificial sweeteners to. A few years ago, Greek yogurt took the American food world by storm, and since then, other European countries have popped their heads up, bringing the States a taste of their take on the dairy product. Bulgarian, Swiss, French, even Icelandic yogurts have all grown increasingly popular. Trader Joe’s offers its own, general “European Yogurt,” which is creamier and sweeter than their “just yogurt” line. These in turn have opened the palate to milk kefir, a drinkable cultured dairy product similar to yogurt that hails from Eastern Europe, and brings a distinctly sour and light taste. (Madina Papadopoulos)

Edible Insects Move Closer to the Mainstream
From Chapul, the cricket power bar that took on Shark Tank, to the slow ascension of cricket flours like Bitty’s (Paleo-friendly, use cup-for-cup instead of all-purpose wheat flour), the public’s general “eww” attitude to entomophagy has decreased drastically in a relatively short time. Eating bugs, at least the kind that come in fancy packages, ain’t cheap, but perhaps that will change. We hear insects are not in short supply on this planet. (Sara Bir)

Frozen Food Goes Gourmet
Millennials are some of the biggest consumers, yet more also very conscious of what they consume. Their influence on brands is huge, and the grocery store is not immune to their effects. In an effort to please the customers with little time but a high standard, gourmet frozen food products have been growing. Most notably, gourmet frozen shops like Babeth’s Feast have popped up, which even offers frozen delivery. Sam’s Club has offered frozen appetizers and meals for a long time, while Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods upped the ante. (Madina Papadopoulos)

Jackfruit Becomes an Unprocessed Meat Analogue Power Player
It puts all the soy meat and seitan to shame. Jackfruit is the new veggie meat. I’ve seen it in Indian curries and as grilled “carnitas” in tacos a lot lately (LA’s Plant Food for People food truck does them right. ¡Qué rico!) Great for anyone sick of soy and seitan. (Shawna Kenney)

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