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Many smart people enjoy pointing out the obvious, that nothing magically changes at midnight on Dec. 31, except for the fact that we make a small tweak to one of the most important numbers we use to keep track of time.
Sure, they’re right, but no matter how illusory and arbitrary it is, there’s still something appealing about saying goodbye to a year that started out with an attempted coup and closed off with Omicron. New Year’s rituals give us an excuse to look ahead and imagine a better future, one filled with all sorts of great new food, drink and nutrition trends, as predicted by the experts.
According to Pinterest Predicts, an annual report released by the social media platform that uses search trends to divine the next big thing, many of its users are trying to learn more about the “authentic” and “traditional” food their grandparents ate. The terms “ancestral diet” or “ancestral eating” is hard to pin down, since people use either term to describe everything from the decolonization of food to paleo diets but it’s interesting to note that food journalist Michael Pollan was an advocate for avoiding “anything your great-great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” as far back as 15 years ago.
Whatever it means, if it leads more people to eat more whole foods, especially fruits and veggies, we’d all be better off, so here’s hoping that’s the way it plays out.
We’re pretty sure potato milk hasn’t launched in Canada yet, but it’s extremely likely to be here soon, given its extraordinary popularity everywhere it’s become available. Developed at Lund University in Sweden, it’s being touted as the most sustainable plant milk, since milking potatoes is twice as efficient as oat milk —one of the more environmentally friendly alt-milks. Plus, potato allergies are exceedingly rare. Still wondering when pasta water is going to get its turn, though.
LESS MEAT, LESS HEAT
Although some of what drives demand for alt-milk is lactose-intolerance and/or animal rights, the success of plant milks has also been buoyed by an increasing number of people who are getting serious about sustainable food. Given the urgency of the problem, we expect to see a lot more “climatarians” in 2022, as more people adopt diets explicitly aimed at fighting climate change.
Although some climatarians still consume ethically-sourced and sustainable meat, they tend to be plant-centric and extremely committed to zero-waste eating, since wasted food in landfills produces methane. Hard not to root for the climatarian movement, right?
The Whole Foods “trend panel” has tapped prebiotic sodas as the next big wellness water, which makes perfect sense, since there’s been a gradual shift away from probiotic supplements (which may not be great at getting good bacteria to stay in our systems) and towards prebiotics, which are thought to help the bugs actually colonize our intestines. So, what exactly are prebiotics? Nondigestible fibre, which can easily be added to drinks. Case in point, Crazy D’s Sparkling Prebiotic Beverages, which is Canada’s first fizzy prebiotic and contains eight grams of fibre from sources like chicory root. It comes in three flavours, Cherry Cola, Ginga’ Kick and Twisted Citrus, all of which are tasty, refreshingly dry and contain no added sugar.
Speaking of more healthful drinking, the non-alcoholic spirits, beer and wine categories are still blowing up, to the point that there is now a Canadian business, Sansorium, exclusively devoted to non-alcoholic products. This year, we can expect to see established brands, such as Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge and Bottega SPA (Italian Prosecco) release non-alcoholic versions of their products. One hotly-anticipated release is Tanqueray’s 0.0 per cent which (supply chain willing) should be available in Canada soon, so that everyone can be like Lady Gaga’s character in “House of Gucci” and drink Tanqueray Martinis — with no fear of a hangover.
Pinterest users are, apparently, also keenly interested in reviving the afternoon tea ritual, although, since the searches are for “drinking tea pose” and “tea party aesthetic,” it’s likely that the tea, biscuits and finger sandwiches are less important than the accessories. When the restaurants and bars closed last year, food Instagrammers started investing in fancy napkins and dinnerware, so they could stage their own food porn scenes. This trend is likely an extension of that and people are just tweaking to the fact that High Tea can be a pretty ornate food ritual.
FOOD FOR FIDO
Given that the pet food industry is already one of the fastest growing and most lucrative industries in existence, it’s hard to believe that gourmet pet food is about to get bigger, but that’s the prediction. Once you think about all those pandemic puppies (and kittens), though, it’s nearly inevitable that pet nutrition will become an even hotter topic than it is. Whether it’s custom-made fresh dog food or artisanal wild-caught cuts in gravy, Fido and Felix both can expect to see new diet regimens. After all, pets are the new children.
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