Trend lists by publications, research orgs, and major media outlets are all listing veggies as a top food trend for the new year. Plants are rising in popularity at fast casual eateries, in the kitchens of top tier chefs, on supermarket shelves, and everywhere else food is found.
QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) Magazine, for one, gave vegetables a #5 spot on its list of top fast food trends. The rise of plants on menus is attributed to cost-effectiveness, as well as an increasing interest in healthier, cleaner ingredients.
“This is especially happening at quick-service and fast-casual restaurants across the country, where there are far more vegetable-only options and plant-based meatless proteins—as well as creative uses of potatoes, mushroom, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and other vegetables—than ever before,” the magazine reports. The list was culled from interviews with restaurant experts and research firms.
NPR’s The Salt wrote: “as another year begins, it appears that plants are the new meat.” The article cites the rise in vegetable-centric dishes, as well as the no-waste movement, which has led to chefs utilizing what were once considered scraps. Legumes and other hearty, protein-rich plants are also becoming increasingly common additions to dishes.
“Eaters in 2016 also are likely to see more dried beans, peas and lentils on their plates,” NPR’s article reads. “The United Nations has declared this the International Year of Pulses to raise consumer awareness of the nutritional and environmental benefits of the edible dry seeds.”
Millennials are also given a lot of credit for the shift in consumption. As a generation, they tend towards more ethical, sustainable, health-conscious edibles, which bodes well for the future of food.
Meat and dairy alternatives tend to be a favorite of Millennials, and that product segment made Mintel’s Global Food and Drink Trends 2016 report. The research firm says items like almond milk and veggie burgers now appeal to the everyday consumer (the market for milk alternatives alone is predicted to reach $20 Billion by 2020).
Veg-strong eats (and drinks) made the top of lots of other lists, including those by Yahoo Food and Whole Foods Market buyers. One report even called vegetables the “hero” of 2016. They save animals, the planet, and human health; heroes, indeed!
Check out our recipe section for lots of suggestions on how stay on top of the trend by cooking (and eating!) tasty, plant-based meals!