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5 food trends to watch, or doubt, for 2017




Colorful carrots were originally an experiment by the USDA to put more nutritious elements in food.
Colorful carrots were originally an experiment by the USDA to put more nutritious elements in food.
Mark Skalny/Getty Images/iStockphoto

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What do cauliflower, jackfruit, brisket and empanadas all have in common?

They're all foods that have made it on to one of the many lists of predicted food trends for 2017.

Erin De Jesus, reports editor at Eater, has gone to the trouble of tracking down almost every food trend that's been predicted for the new year. She's combined them all together into a list she's dubbed the "Official Megalisticle of All 2017 Food Trend Listicles."

DeJesus says these listicles are written by companies or people who want to gain something from them, whether it's a company or brand who want to influence customers, or a public relations firm trying to promote a client, or food journalists, who want to set the tone of coverage for the new year. 

"Some people give credit to the kale lobby for the reason why kale was such a big thing two or three years ago," DeJesus says.

Trends can also be predicted by social media companies like Pinterest, who use their own data to call out trends, or anecdotal evidence from food writers and editors travelling the country.

DeJesus told us about a couple of the predicted trends she compiled in her list, which range from very vague to very specific.

Meat:  "I would argue meat has certainly been around for quite a long time," DeJesus says.

Naan pizza: "Very surprising, and that's something the folks at Pinterest say will be happening a lot in 2017."

Authentic ethnic cuisine: "That's a catch-all phrase that means everything and nothing at the same time, and that phrase alone features two words that we look skeptically at Eater, which are 'authentic' and 'ethnic,'" DeJesus says. This list came from the National Restaurant Association, which works with major restaurant groups and chains. "For them, that means something different perhaps than what it would for your hometown chef who cooks the cuisine that he grew up eating," DeJesus says.

Food waste: "That's something that I think a lot of chefs at fine dining restaurants have been playing close attention to over the past year, and it would be amazing to see that trickle down into the mainstream," DeJesus says. This means overripe or blemished produce, or serving whole vegetables or incorporating carrot tops into other dishes, DeJesus says. 

Vegetables: "This is a big, big catch-all," DeJesus says. " But some people narrowed it down to talk about cauliflower or purple-colored vegetables."

Some of the trends on DeJesus' list are serious and probable, but the vast majority aren't likely to end up in a restaurant near you by the end of the year.

"What we were poking fun at with this 80-plus item list on Eater, is the idea that 1. there will not be 80 food trends for 2017, but 2. it really takes a long time to see how these predictions play out and become accessible to more people," DeJesus says. "I would guess 75 out of these 80 will fizzle out by next year and then we'll have to check in 12 months to see," 

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue media player above.