Food Trends – 2016

January 26, 2016 in Foodland, General, Nutrition, Uncategorized, Whole Grains by Joyce Bunderson

I should admit up front that I’ve never been on the cutting-edge of trends. I was never the first at school to roll up the waist of my skirt or wear multiple petticoats under my felt poodle skirt. No, but without much thought and probably because I was like most teens wanting to be in with the group, I did tardily take up those trends. I’ve lived through many trends between then and now; I followed some and rejected others. But I realize that we are often affected by trends.

Trends in food – That’s my topic for today.


We’ve watched chia seeds become a food successfully marketed for human consumption. We first had to get the decades old, highly advertized Chia Pets out of our minds. I really thought chia seeds were a fad – a trend that wouldn’t hang in there. But, chia seeds, like many other types of seeds are in all kinds of snack bars, cereals, breads and crackers now.

It’s not just chia seeds; seeds in general are versatile. They can be sprinkled on yogurt, stir-fries, salads and even soups. Of course, seeds are an old-fashioned snack to grab on the way out the door. Seeds are being ground into flour, mixed into smoothies and added to many processed foods.

One reason for the seed trend is that they fit into most any eating style, from Mediterranean, to paleo, to vegan. Seeds are gluten-free; so if you’re on that bandwagon, they’re a nice addition. You can substitute seeds in recipes that call for nuts, if you’re allergic to nuts. What’s wonderful about seeds is that they’re loaded with nutrients, healthy fat, plenty of fiber, minerals and protein. Seeds are definitely a trend that I hope will stick around for a long time.

Whole grains

We can only hope that the latest wave for whole grains will endure the trend cycle. I’ve been on the whole grain bandwagon for decades. Now it’s getting a little trendy. Sorghum is an ancient drought-tolerant grain and has been a staple in Africa for centuries. Many of the new trendy grains (sorghum, quinoa, and even the use of wheat berries) are being used in salads. Cooked grain, plus chopped vegetables, in light vinaigrette. Bread and crackers are not the only way to consume grains.

Clean-eating and free-from claims

A survey done by Pollock Communications and Today’s Dietitian reported that 450 dietitians agree that in 2016 people are looking for “clean” foods and products that have “free-from” claims. Like the term “natural” there is no clear definition for clean eating. But some of the explanations for this trend are: (1) People are looking for foods with less processing and with short ingredient lists. (2) Some mean the foods should be organic, clean from pesticides, antibiotics, and chemical fertilizers. (3) Free-from foods include: GMO-free; antibiotic free, additive-free and locally sourced.

Protein peak

The focus on protein, protein, protein (animal protein) has peaked; thank goodness. Even the type of protein consumers choose is changing. Although the US Dietary Guidelines don’t mention the negatives of processed meat or red meat, the public is getting the idea. People are moving toward more seafood, nuts, seeds, eggs, poultry, and dairy. The move away from processed meat and red meat is taking modest steps away from current levels of over-consumption.

My observation

What I’ve noticed is that the trends for 2016 are over-all positive. The trends have moved away from focus on avoiding or emphasizing one type of macronutrient, including carbohydrate-free eating; strictly high protein eating; or low fat as the primary goal. The trends of adding seeds, eating less animal protein and more whole grains and trying to ‘clean up’ our food sources are in my judgment helpful trends. Hooray for positive trends!