Here we are. 2017.
Man. 2016 was one helluva year. It was a year of beautiful moments, life changing events and extreme challenges. As I eluded to in my last post, motherhood has utterly and completely shaken my world. Most days I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing but there are times I feel myself. Like when I was asked to join an inspirational – albeit rather intimidating – group of food industry folks from across Canada to help Loblaws discuss food trends for the upcoming year. One quick trip to Toronto to meet the food council and we have the 2017 Canadian Food Trends.
Though I’m generally not on board with trends like clean eating or paleo, these trends or rather themes paint a picture of a consumer that is engaged and concerned for their health, their family’s health and that of our planet. Exciting right?!
It’s no great surprise technology is influencing how and what we choose to eat. You can’t really go anywhere the days without seeing at least someone, but most likely everyone, on their phones or tablets. So why not have the ability to shop from the thousands of products at Loblaws at the touch of a button? Well if you’re in Ontario and other areas of Western Canada, you now can. A virtual personal shopper if you will, the trend toward online grocery shopping is only getting started. Hopefully it’ll make it’s way to the Atlantic Superstores here on the East Coast and perhaps even add the convenience of delivery options.
More exciting, however, is that people are returning to the kitchen. Though one look at your Facebook feed with those 2 minute, top down cooking videos and it’s no wonder. One one hand you have those seeking to sharpen their culinary skills, taking the time to venture into age-old techniques of fermenting, preserving and bread baking. On the other, the busy home cook is looking for ways to get a nutritious meal on the table as fast as possible. The trend toward time saving slow cooking will likely continue while the convenience of meal and recipe subscription boxes is likely to rise. Expect to see more healthful, ready-made meals available from the grocery store similar to the From our Chefs line Loblaws launched last fall.
People are also becoming increasingly mindful of how and what they’re eating. You can see it in the success of vegan blogs and cookbooks or the popularity of restaurants such as Dandylion in Toronto and Le Vin Papillon in Montreal where vegetables are taking their turn in the spotlight. With heart disease and obesity at alarming rates worldwide, this is a trend we can all get on board with. Consumers want clear labelling and less unnecessary additives and preservatives. We’re likely to see an increased use in spices like turmeric that not only add flavour but healthful properties. Hello turmeric milk! This year’s so-called superfood may very well be seaweed.
Similarly, the trend toward sustainability will continue. People want to know where their food comes from, that is was sourced sustainably and many times locally. I’ll be honest, a large grocery chain sparking a conversation about sustainability especially in seafood is a big freaking deal. While we are seeing a rise in fishmongers and CSF, the everyday shopper is going to get their fish and seafood at the same store they buy anything else. With Loblaws, specifically our own Atlantic Superstores, committed to a sustainable fishery, the future of our oceans and our local fishery is looking a lot less bleak. This will also lead consumers to seek out alternative sources of proteins as ‘meatless Mondays’ continue to gain in popularity. 2017 is the year of the pulse after all. Also, it’s high time food waste is getting its day in the sun. This year we will waste less by learning to use lesser known cuts of meat and finding ways to use the entire vegetable like for instance carrot top pesto.
Lastly, despite the world thinking we’re all fish and chips and poutine, Canadian cuisine is being recognized as a varied landscape of regional delicacies and multi-ethnic dishes. With an increasing selection of global ingredients available in stores, people will experiment with more fusion dishes, creating new takes on old favourites. Flavours of the Philippines, Morocco and the Middle East will dominate, likely in both kitchens and restaurants.
Sustainability. Health. Mindfulness. These are trends I can get behind. Since becoming a mom, I have completely lost all balance in my life and these sound a lot like the kind of changes I need to make. So how about we show 2017 just what we’re made of.
Excuse me while I go hide the rest of the Christmas chocolate….