2019's Food Trends: Cannabis Cocktails, Plant-Basedness, Carrot Ice Cream

The trendspotting panel includes Oakland chef Tu David Phu.


Kristan Lawson

The Specialty Food Association has just revealed its list of 2019 food-trend predictions — and several East Bayites were on the Trendspotter Panel that selected these picks.

On the panel was Oakland-based chef Tu David Phu: This Chez Panisse alum, 2015 Top Chef contestant, and former executive chef at Berkeley's Gather restaurant was named a San Francisco Chronicle Rising Star Chef last year.

Kara Nielsen and Melina Romero of the Emeryville-based Helmsman food-consulting firm were also on the panel, along with a range of food analysts, scholars, and producers.

And what are those trends? Here are some of them, according to a Specialty Food Association press release:

• Cannabis: "Look for more infused cooking oils, coffees, teas, chocolates, baked goods, snacks, and even beer and pasta to hit the market in the coming year."

• Collagen: Renowned for restoring skin elasticity, this protein taken from animas' connective tissues is now "being infused into beverages, snack bars, and even [edible] wraps to help replace diminishing levels as consumers age."

• Plant-based alternatives: "The movement will become situated in the larger context of sustainability, intertwined with upcycled products, as more companies turn to root-to-stem ingredients to combat food waste; snacks made from rescued bananas, or flours made with spent grains or pulp."

• African regional foods: "Including fonio (west); nitter kbeh (east); ras el hanout (north); and biltong (south)."

• Sustainable packaging: "Especially plant-based varieties. Expect to see some made of upcycled ingredients or scraps. Research is advancing the use of tomato peels, kelp, and mushrooms into sustainable alternatives, coatings, and other packaging materials."

• Cassava: The leaves of this starchy tuberous root also known as yuca "have been especially evident in packaged snacks from cassava leaf chips to popped cassava and even a cassava-leaf jerky."

• Reinvented ice cream: After launching dairy-free coconut-, almond-, and soy-based versions, "now makers are blurring the lines between treat and healthy snack even further with some blending vegetables like cauliflower and carrots into ice creams."

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