Top Food and Drink Trends for Summer

June 14, 2024  |  By Chloe Dubisch
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There are very few activities we find more exciting or interesting than trying new foods and cooking our favorite innovations at home. Summer is an excellent time for new adventures, so why not start in the kitchen with some of our favorite global food trends?

 

1. How to Cook Sustainable Meals

Creative Fusion BurgersThere has been a huge push among consumers in recent years to begin eating eco-consciously, and a plant-based meal once a week has become a staple in many homes. Meat substitutes have finding their way into more and more restaurants and private residences in recent years, though this is not the only way that people are eating sustainably. Alternative milk options such as pea, potato, and oat, are becoming increasingly popular with conscientious shoppers looking to avoid the environmental impact of dairy or almond milk. At least 20% of all fruits and vegetables are thrown away annually due to aesthetic deformities, so companies such as Misfits Market and The Ugly Co. are giving discarded produce new life. Misfits offers subscription services that provide discounted fruits and vegetables, while The Ugly Co. sells upcycled snacks. 

2. What is 3rd Culture Cuisine?

3rd Culture Dish of Barria RamenThere is a rising interest in generating dishes that emphasize global cuisine, while honoring traditional ingredients and methodology. International ingredients are becoming more common in home kitchens, and local ingredients are being used in restaurants to create new spins on traditional cuisine. People are seeking to combine the food they grew up eating with food that reflects their cultural heritage. Third-culture cuisine embraces a sense of nostalgia that encompasses more than one place and time. This blending of culinary traditions creates a more diverse and interesting palate than the usual restaurant fare, with concoctions such as sesame uni ramen carbonara and Vietnamese beef tartare served on a roasted marrow bone.

3. Sweet and Spicy Combos

Tropical fruits are all the rage, with passionfruit, mango, yuzu, and dragon fruit appearing in desserts, salads, and hot sauce. Spicy coconut curries, fresh fruit sprinkled with tajin, and hot chicken are all getting an upgrade, as complex heat grows as a trend and new, exciting dishes are hitting the market. Spicy desserts like a chipotle chocolate cake give classic sweets an added kick, while fruity spiced marinades will make any simple roasted vegetable or meat dish into a gourmet experience.

 

4. What Are Functional Foods?

Functional foods have become a household staple for health-conscious shoppers. The term functional food refers to food that might have additional health benefits and even medicinal properties. Fruits like ube and yuzu have become popular for their high vitamin and nutrient content in addition to their tasty flavor. Turmeric and cardamom are being incorporated into a number of dishes and can add an interesting zest to some alcoholic and coffee beverages. Matcha is a returning favorite this year, with its high concentration of antioxidants.

5. Are Mushrooms Good for You?!

Mushroom RisottoMushrooms in every form are more sought after than ever, as foraging has become increasingly popular amongst outdoor enthusiasts. Mushrooms are also a popular meat substitute, and portobello burgers and mushroom jerky are just a few examples of the endless culinary possibilities they represent. Mushrooms are also a functional food, contributing to heart health and lowering cholesterol. Mushrooms don’t need any extra pomp and circumstance to elevate your dinner, and classic dishes such as mushroom risotto or chicken and mushrooms remain popular restaurant menu items. 

6. Why Are Mocktails Popular?

Fruity Mocktail From zero-proof liquors to botanical concentrates, there is a growing popularity for creating delicious and exciting flavor concoctions sans alcohol. Sober movements and healthy living are on the rise, prompting a wave of sophisticated alternate beverages. Sparkly syrups, creative and colorful drink rims, and a healthy dose of seltzer water or fresh juice will all characterize your favorite mocktail recipes. These ingredients are combined to create original, complex flavors that will inspire and delight the senses. Alcohol-free or Low-alcohol wines and beers are offered at most bars and restaurants, and many are including a separate mocktail menu. CBD infused beverages are also considered a safer and healthier alternative to alcohol, with calming properties that can help with sleep and digestion.
Kombucha, a fizzy fermented tea drink, is another long standing option with health benefits that include improved focus and better gut health. Whether you are underage, quit drinking, or have work tomorrow, the mocktail is a delicious and creative way to enjoy a sober night out or an evening on the couch. 

7. Savory Cocktails

Tomato MartinisThe dirty martini has gotten a makeover, with bartenders all over the world delighting in the creation of distinct but delectable variations. A bar in New York is serving Chicken Soup Martinis, a gin based cocktail imbued with chicken bouillon and msg, and garnished with a drizzle of olive oil and a carrot spear. From an Oyster Mignonette Martini served in Queens (garnished with oysters of course) to a cocktail that purportedly echoes the flavor of a Waldorf Salad over at another New York restaurant called Double Chicken Please; the savory cocktail may just be the next big thing. The Big Apple isn’t the only place to find meal flavored cocktails though, Drinks like Pizza Cocktails, reminiscent of a Bloody Mary, can be found on many a summer drink menu. Shiso, an herb usually used in sushi and other Japanese food, is another popular savory infusion for gin and tonics and the Shiso Mojito is an especially delightful riff on the classic drink.

8. Espresso Cocktails: The Martini and Beyond!

Carajillo CocktailEspresso and coffee based cocktails are nothing new, with the Espresso Martini becoming a consumer favorite not too long ago. Classic drinks such as an Irish Coffee or a Black Russian might give those fatigued with the Espresso Martini a chance to try something different and caffeinated. Cold Brew Sangria and Baileys Whipped Coffee are a few more innovative and modern cocktails available to coffee enthusiasts. There is also a delicious Spanish-Mexican cocktail called a Carajillo, which is simply Licor 43 mixed with coffee or espresso.

9. Sheet Cakes Make a Comeback

Sheet Cakes are a birthday party classic, associated with home cooking and simple recipes, made to feed a large group. As we continue to recover internationally from the cultural impact of the pandemic, family-style meals and large sharing plates are becoming popular at restaurants. Communal meals are a practical and more economical option for most people, and they create a bond that was deeply missed during Quarantine. Sheet cakes represent a symbolic return to home cooking traditions that were revived during the pandemic, and the opportunity to share those traditions with friends and loved ones. Sheet cakes are meant to feed many people using ingredients and tools easily sourced from a home kitchen, but alongside the practical considerations of using a sheet cake for your event, they also offer a wide expanse of space to decorate and make your own. 

10. Pizza Vending Machines???!!!

pepperoni pizzaPizza Vending Machines are on the scene and can be found at select locations across the US and Canada, mainly at airports and universities. Companies such as PizzaForno, Pizzabot, Let’s Pizza, and Pizza ATM have set out to make pizza that much more convenient and accessible. One can purchase a fresh, hot pizza from a vending machine by simply pressing a button, and the machine bakes a pizza from scratch. Inside the machine, the dough is pressed, then spread with tomato sauce and topped with cheese, before being fast fired and delivered into your waiting hands. A quick search will tell you if there are any pizza vending machines near you, or you can even look into purchasing one for your business! The reviews are in, and the internet has dubbed pizza vending machines the next big thing for niche foodies and anyone who might conveniently stumble upon one. After all, if there is a pizza vending machine available you have to try it once, right?

Food Trends to Watch For

Although specific food trends will certainly be subject to change, clean eating and bold flavors have carved out a permanent position in restaurants and home cooking alike. There are plenty of delicious and fascinating food trends that deserve an honorable mention, starting with Garleek. 

Tequila Shooters Garleek is a hybrid vegetable created by crossbreeding garlic and leek seeds, and it has a mild garlic flavor complemented by the sweetness of a leek. Next time you’re shopping for garleek and matcha, consider taking a stroll through the grocery store liquor aisle and picking up a bottle of tequila as well. There is a growing trend for authentic, quality tequila that rejects Americanized and celebrity-endorsed brands for taking shortcuts in production and misrepresenting Mexican culture. Tequila has had a sensational rise in popularity worldwide in the last 5 years, although more than two thirds of all tequila is still consumed in the USA and Mexico.

Stay on trend this summer by munching on dragon fruit by the pool while sipping on a drink that tastes like sushi; or do some outdoor cooking for your friends and make your own Korean barbeque smothered in spicy mango sauce. Travel from the comfort of home by tasting the unfamiliar, transporting the mind’s eye to a villa by the sea or the streets of Mumbai. Take this summer as your chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy eating the latest Instagram-famous product.  Just remember that familiar favorites will always be there if you have to spit out the matcha-basted duck!

 


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