2017 in Food Trends: A recap

At the end of a long ol' year, we look back on the things that both did and did not happen in the world of food

Feature by Peter Simpson | 08 Dec 2017

'Turns out giving credibility to all these Nazis made all these Nazis feel more credible.' 'Who would have thought that voting for a thing would cause that thing to happen?' 'I shouldn't have trodden in that brown, sticky puddle.' Hindsight can make anyone look like a genius, and that's especially true of the end of year wrap-up in which pundits reprosecute the past / change their previously-held positions and hope no-one notices. We made some predictions at the start of the year about what was coming in 2017; let's see just how right we were, and what we missed.

'Cauliflower Will Be a Hit'
Can we honestly say that 2017 was the year when Big Cauli rose to its rightful place at the top of the food chain? No, because that would be crazy. However, we have definitely seen an increase in cauliflower subbing in for chicken wings or nuggets, as it turns out that frying anything and covering it in delicious spicy sauce works just as well for vegans as it does for carnivores. So we were half-right. And speaking of vegans...

Veganism is Cool
Credit to Scotland's vegan chefs, bakers and foodies – they've managed to come roaring back into view after a few years of bacon and barbecue-fuelled decadence from the rest of us. Glasgow standard-bearers like Mono and Stereo are still going strong, and Edinburgh is catching up thanks to the likes of Harmonium, but there's a general vibe across the food scene that vegans a) aren't going anywhere and b) might actually be onto something.

Hence the rise of plant-based baking, increased options for vegans when out and about, and an overall increase in people loudly proclaiming their wares to be meatless. If nothing else, it's nice to occasionally have your options pegged back a bit and be forced to be somewhat healthy (but only occasionally). We're sticking to our guns on jackfruit though; The Skinny maintains that it is a rank, flobbery mess. Nutritional Yeast never took off either, but that's probably for the best.

Fermentation is sort-of Cool
Sourdough still gets a strong thumbs-up from many foodies, and it's always nice to be able to put some gochujang on a sandwich, but the fermentation craze hasn't fully bubbled up yet. We've seen fermented products pop up on more menus, and heard tales of bands regaling interviewers with their love of kombucha, but we haven't yet met a single person who has both tried and enjoyed the fermented milk drink kefir. Much like kombucha itself, we'll leave this one for a while and check in on it later. 

Pizzas are the new Burgers (but Tacos are the new Pizza)
It was around 18 months ago we first noticed Edinburgh and Glasgow were becoming hives of cheap, tasty pizza. It was as if there was a collective realisation that all the red meat we'd been consuming in the early half of the decade was probably not the best for the long-term. All of a sudden, bar menus were boasting of their wood-fired ovens and slinging out pizzas like animated turtles from the 90s.

In the past year, there have been signs that the next trend to truly take off will be the taco – it's been bubbling away in the background for a while, but the fact that tacos are delicious, small (as in 'small plates, so order lots of things and give us all your money') and easy to scale up or down makes us think they'll be everywhere before long.

Everything Is A Festival
We believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said the following: 'If you can drink it, you can make it into a festival.' As in music, the food festival bubble keeps inflating and inflating, and there's barely a weekend that goes by without some sort of experiential booze-up or cheese sampling to note. If the insane demand at the Edinburgh Cocktail Weekend earlier this year is anything to go by, this trend's still got life in it. Our advice – don't stand still for a second, lest a food and drink festival form around you and you end up trapped in a world of wristbands and endless drinks demos.