Food Trends 2017: Farmers, Foodies and Producers of Food Products, Part 1



As farmers, cottage food operators and on-farm food service entrepreneurs, we’re always on the watch for the latest emerging trends, whether they delve into changing culinary preferences, ingredients, food products or a new-fangled way of eating or drinking something.

At the nation’s largest, annual foodservice trade show, the NRA Show, hosted by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center, you’ll get a taste of America’s palate at the moment.  Some years it’s a very clear trend, like at the NRA Show two years ago and the gluten-free craze. Exhibitors tried to outdo competition with better tasting pizza crusts, muffin mixes, and cookies. They succeeded! Serving delicious gluten-free breakfasts at Inn Serendipity B&B and Farm is now a breeze, particularly with the various one-to-one flour substitutes like Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour and Deya’s Gluten-free Cake Flour.

According to the National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot? survey of professional chefs, hyper-local sourcing, that includes restaurant gardens and onsite beer brewing, plus locally sourced produce, meats and seafood are among the top trends. This bids well for homesteaders near upscale urban centers who are looking to sell what they raise.

The following trends and innovations surfaced as we wandered the aisles of the NRA Show in 2017:

Exotic goes mainstream while cutting back on the sugar. Processed sugar may be on its way out, but that doesn’t mean we Americans have lost our sweet tooth.  Enter more traditional tropical fruits and vegetables from Latin America that satisfy those cravings in a healthy fashion.

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