The first quarter of 2017 is over, and there have been some interesting healthy food trends. Useless carbs, sodium, gluten, and unhealthy trans-fats are top of the list of what’s off the menu. Our Pinterest boards are full of mouthwatering recipes enticing us to cook up a healthy storm. On the other hand, our Instagram feeds have been awash with colorful, delicious-looking dishes that are probably more pleasing to the eye than to the palate.
Healthy foods are recognized as the best way to avoid weight gain, obesity, and expensive procedures, such as plastic surgery and its alternatives required to reverse the effects.
So, what are the top healthy food trends in America today, and how can your restaurant capitalize on them and consumer desire to fight the flab?
1. Low-Alcohol Cocktails
Today’s generation likes its alcohol less, lighter, and with more extras than previous generations. In fact, every year we see an increase in demand for alcohol-free cocktails, also known as mocktails.
2017 is the time to set up a mocktails bar in your restaurant, hire an awesome mixologist, and expand your low-alcohol and alcohol-free offerings.
2. Sea Veggies
Vegan cooking and vegetarian dishes have been all the rage in healthy food trends for the past few years. The veggie and vegan way of life is now adopting a new sub-sector with seaweed and other nautical greens gaining popularity. Chefs are already trying out new soup and sauce recipes and adding seaweed-derived salts and oils.
To capitalize on the trend, start small with some seaweed snacks and seaweed salads, and if it pulls in the crowds, go full on with complete ocean-themed meals.
3. Ancient Grains
2013 was named “International Quinoa Year” by the UN, and for good reason. Quinoa is a wheat-free full-protein seed and awesome alternative to starchy grains.
In 2017, a few other ancient grains are finding their way onto top chef menus all over the country. Farro, sorghum, and teff are some of the ancient grains recognized for their high fiber and protein content.
To capitalize on this, incorporate some ancient grains with your rice and noodle recipes.
4. Plant Waters
Fitness experts all over have been ditching commercial energy drinks for natural alternatives.
Maple water, coconut water, cucumber, artichoke, and cactus are being hailed as the best hydration beverages for the health-conscious fitness nut. They are lower in calories, contain natural sugars and no added sweeteners, and have much lower levels of sodium compared to energy drinks.
You can hit it big with your local clients by packaging plant waters in to-go cups of varied sizes. Have an express counter for busy people and joggers for quick on-the-go service.
5. Probiotic Foods
As research extends in the role of gut health to overall health, fermented foods are fast gaining favor. They are natural probiotics that promote the gut ecosystem necessary for good bacteria to thrive. From 2014, there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of probiotics products and prebiotic supplements. Sales are at an all-time high and indications are they will continue to rise.
If you have natural products in your store or restaurant, you can easily add sections for probiotic top performers, such as sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt, kimchi, and kefir.
Inflammation is a huge concern for the health conscious. One’s diet, lifestyle, and environment may bring on systemic inflammation. And this may lead to health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, acne, cancer, depression, and autoimmune conditions.
When it comes to foods and ingredients that fight inflammation, turmeric leads the pack. Animal proteins are great sources of healing amino acids and anti-inflammatory fats. Grains containing sorghum, millet, rice, amaranth, and quinoa are great for fighting inflammation.
Capitalize by adding special anti-inflammation meals on your menu, and you’re likely to attract a health-conscious crowd to your restaurant.
7. Power Bowls
Bowl foods have been gaining popularity for the last few years, and the trend seems ready to grow further this year. Power combinations of whole grains, veggies, and protein look colorful and appetizing while also adding a powerful mix of vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients.
The trick is to be careful with or completely avoid the additives and flavorings, as these may mess up the healthy trend, just like it ruined salads. Some salads have upwards of 1000 calories per serving, and power bowls could easily go the same route.
To capitalize on the trend, you may package to go power bowls and add them to your take-out menus. You can also supply local stores, supermarkets, gyms, and even burger or hot dog stands for a healthy yet filling meal option.
8. Biodynamic Food
Organic foods have been trending for the past few years, and now biodynamic foods are taking center stage.
This is a step up from organic foods. Wellness influencers are already talking about how the moon cycles influence crop and animal health. Biodynamic farming has been in practice since the 1920s and solid scientific research proves it produces healthier plants, better eggs, and more nutritious seeds.
To capitalize, partner up with an astrological farm and stock up on biodynamic food. It may cost a little more, just as organic, but it’s totally worth the price tag. Your restaurant clients will love the earthy flavors and rich aromas.
Capitalize on These Healthy Food Trends in 2017 and Prosper
Operating a food store or restaurant requires you stay on top of current and upcoming trends. As people get more health conscious in an effort to avoid rising cost of obesity and weight gain, you will be required to predict changing menus, personal tastes, and perspectives on healthy foods.
A clear forecast on what people want to eat and what they’re willing to pay for it might determine whether your business is trending or simply scraping by. Provide fresh and ongoing training to your kitchen and service staff on issues surrounding health and diet.
Share news and benefits of what’s trending with your staff and clients. And have days when you go off-menu and try out a few of the new healthy food trends then incorporate what works into your main dishes and regular menu.