Despite setting out to create a piece of insight focused on food trends from cuisines all over the world, we began to notice a trend of our own. All these amazing ‘foods to watch’ were plant-based! This didn’t come as a much of a surprise given the boom that the meat-free world has been experiencing for some years now, but it did get us thinking…

The meat-free category is growing at an astonishing rate. During lockdown last year, 22% of consumers cut down on their meat consumption and Deliveroo reported a massive 187% increase in vegan orders (The Caterer, 2021). As the trend starts to become more of a way of life, we’re finding that the emerging recipes and products are getting more and more… interesting!

Let’s take a look…

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CARROT BACON

Credit: Tabitha Brown

The fabulous Tabitha Brown — vegan TikTok creator and wellness advocate — posted her version of carrot bacon back in April, and we were seriously impressed! This is a new one even for us, as meat-free bacon is traditionally made using tempeh or tofu. But this make-up sometimes gives it a drier, more rubbery texture than the real thing; not ideal when you’re trying to reduce your meat consumption or stick to a vegan diet.

In her recipe, Tabitha shaves the carrots lengthways, seasons with garlic and onion powder, maple syrup, and smoked paprika, and pops them in the air fryer to give her ‘rashers’ that extra crunch. Tasty and cost-effective — what a bonus!

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WATERMELON SUSHI & DAIKON STEAK

Credit: (L) Nourish Magazine, (R) Cuisinivity.com

For those looking for some innovation around two of the world’s most common dishes, look no further than watermelon sushi and daikon steak. Japan is famous for its incredible sushi, with the salmon nigiri being one of its most recognisable dishes, and it’s also revered for its wagyu beef — in a steak, burger, or otherwise!

We were stunned to see these two staple dishes being reinvented for the vegan market in such a weird and wonderful way. In our humble opinion, the replacement of salmon with watermelon and beef with daikon radish totally hits the brief as an inspired and ‘out there’ response to rise of vegan and vegetarian diets.

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‘WINGLESS’ WINGS

Credit: Biff’s

One of the products we’ve seen on the rise (but only had the privilege of tasting recently) is chicken-less wings, or ‘wingz,’ as some brands are calling them! We’ve dabbled in the world of wingz through Biff’s, a nationwide brand, but we can already tell it’s going to be one for every recipe book.

The wingz themselves are made with tender 12-spiced jackfruit in a panko crumb and are served on a sugarcane ‘bone’ for that real eating experience! It does make us think… what’ll be next? Drum ‘stix?’ We don’t know, but we can’t wait to find out!

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PLANT-BASED JERKY

Credit: thehiddenveggies.com

As a huge part of the snack category in the US, jerky has made its way over to the UK as an especially easy to-go option. It’s just never been made with anything other than chewy meats until recently!

Vegan jerky can be made from drying mushrooms, coconuts, bananas, or simple wheat proteins like seitan. These wholesome base ingredients make it a great choice for consumers on the go, especially those with health and wellness goals to consider. So, while not a particularly crazy part of this ‘weird trends’ series, we do love how something so unfamiliar to the UK market has now taken it by storm as the more balanced option.

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TORNADO OMELETTE

Credit: ETTV – YouTube Channel

We tend to look at ingredients when it comes to food trends, rather than cooking methods. So to round off, we’re putting the focus on a weirdly mesmerising omelette cooking style that’s been seen all over social media — the tornado omelette!

Originating from the world of Korean street food, the tornado omelette sees chefs using chopsticks to twist eggs from the middle while cooking them flat in the pan. The end result looks like a tornado in action, or even a light and fluffy cloud. This style refreshes the classic omelette and adds a little flair to the everyday — something we love to get behind here at Cracked. Customers seeing these on the menu will definitely be tempted to try!

Although at first sight these trends seem ‘weird’ or challenging when it comes to building menus in the foodservice arena, but we think they can do wonders for inciting some creative inspiration for chefs and food development teams looking to add some oomph and innovation into any food offer.

If you need an extra hand identifying the new and emerging trends in all things food and drink, just get in touch with us here at Cracked. We’d love to help.

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