CultureWaves has worked in conjunction with The Food Channel for annual food trends.
CultureWaves has worked in conjunction with The Food Channel for annual food trends.

CultureWaves is pleased to be a part (every year, in fact) of the research behind The Food Channel’s Top Ten Food Trends. The 2016 report is now out. You can find it here.

Food trend reports all seem to identify clean label, sustainability, functional food, and knowing the story behind a product. We see all those things in this year’s report—and, in fact—could give you the evolutionary timeline of when we first started seeing those trends on the horizon. That’s what we love about what we do. CultureWaves doesn’t rely on a record of past activity to see what people have done—it uses a continual monitoring of human behavior to better see what’s around the corner.

That said, here are the trends.

Oh, and if you want to skip the read, here’s the link to the video: Top Ten Food Trends 2016

The Food Channel Top 10 Trends for 2016

1. Clean Label. Growers and food manufacturers are removing preservatives, artificial flavors, antibiotics, and other potential allergens in response to consumer demands for transparency.

2. A No Tipping Future. Joe’s Crab Shack is the first major chain to test a no-tipping policy, and New York restaurateur Danny Meyer is a leading advocate. Watch for “hospitality included.”

3. Tangy: the newest flavor palate – What used to be sweet, now is savory, and vice versa. Expect stronger flavors that pack a punch in order to make sure we notice them.

4. The New Vegan. Consumers want true personalization around what they eat . . . and that means figuring out how to eat at a fast food restaurant on a vegan diet.

5. Searching for Super. Everyone is trying to find the next superfood. It has become a never-ending search, leading to quick introduction of new foods with quick turnaround if they don’t “stick.”

6. Merging Markets. We haven’t seen a lot of innovation in the food world recently. It seems the only way to grow is to combine. Are we making better companies or just bigger?

7. Cultural Diets. People are searching for their own culture, and, in doing so, are realizing that there may have been health benefits for their genetics and body type.

8. Decadent Desserts. Decadence is making a comeback. Restaurants have developed a competitive culture where each tries to outdo the other with the spectacular.

9. Coffee Flavor and Flair. Instead of flavoring our coffees, now we are flavoring nearly everything else with coffee: chewable coffee cubes, coffee candy, coffee rubs, and coffee beer are just a few.

10. Food Entertainment. We called out TV and YouTube years ago, and now we’re seeing our love of food show up in mainstream television and movies, not to mention merchandising.

Recipes are also available for some of the trends; see more at

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