2018 Trend Top Ten

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Food Waste


There are several organizations that are working diligently to help reduce the amount of food waste in our agricultural and supply chain food systems. 


According to Jenny Rothenberg, Audience Development Coordinator at Industry Dive, “Food waste has been a growing issue in the United States, as approximately 31% — or 133 billion pounds — of overall food supply is wasted.”


In addition to not feeding needy people, “The waste is also affecting the environment, as it is the third largest contributor of methane emissions in the United States.”


Here are some statistics:

·      1 in 7 perishable truckloads are eventually tossed after being delivered to supermarkets

·      1.3 billion tons of food are wasted around the world annually

·      42.2 million Americans live in food insecure households

·      109.4 The number of pounds of food waste, per person, that the EPA and USDA aim to reduce by 2030. The national goal also calls for a reduction of 66 billion pounds of food waste at the retail and consumer level. Both of these goals represent a 50% reduction in current levels.

·      103 The number of operational U.S. anaerobic digestion facilities that process food waste, including farms or wastewater treatment plants that accept food waste as a feedstock. The American Biogas Council reports there are only 39 stand-alone food waste biogas systems.


Several supermarket chains nationally are doing their part to help with waste.  For example, Whole Foods has a program called “Waste not.”   They’re attempting to combine traditionally discarded produce parts to revive creative culinary recipes. Examples include pickled watermelon rinds, beet-green pesto and broccoli-stem slaw.


This trend will not only manifest itself in new products (as a result of using scraps and trim in new applications, and new ways to use food waste as fertilizer, etc.), it will become a legitimate concern for consumers who not only want to know where their food came from, they want to know what happens to the food waste as a result of their food purchases. 


Breakfast Service in Established Restaurants


We see this in Chicago in restaurants like The Purple Pig, and Beatrix – established restaurants are expanding their menus to accommodate different customers and day parts. 


The new interpretations of breakfast these established restaurants have been inspiring and innovative.  We’ll keep an eye on this trend and report back some of these innovations in a blog post with a recipe or two. . .


Bitcoins and alternate international currencies


The Wall Street Journal speaks about this new financial exchange, “Goldman Sachs Explores Bitcoin . . .


Fascinating to watch this unregulated, alternate currency that was initially viewed as havens for illicit activity pushing further into the mainstream investment world.  Bitcoin is a digital currency that runs on a decentralized network of computers, rather than a centralized ledger under the control of a central bank or government. Users can exchange value directly, without a middleman such as a bank.  What we see is many large financial institutions be wary of venturing directly into a market whose early enthusiasts included anarchists and drug dealers.


This newly derived financial market will affect the food world in unique ways. Digital-currency proponents envision a world where coins will be widely accepted by online retailers and companies will use the tokens for cross-border commerce.  Complete open trade in any market with limited regulation on the products sold and traded could easily create food supply chains that don’t currently exist.


Virtual Restaurants

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“One element in the success of virtual restaurants seems to be specialization,” says Green Summit’s Todd Millman. That makes sense, especially when you consider the original virtual restaurant, Domino’s, whose success predates the internet and continues. How many people regularly order pizza without having the faintest clue where the nearest storefront is located?


There are several app-driven food suppliers out there, arguably one of the largest, is Grubhub. It is so invested in virtual restaurants that two years ago it lent one of its own customers, Green Summit Group, $1 million to expand. Green Summit, which launched in 2013, has kitchens throughout New York City, Todd Millman, its co-founder, says. “There might be up to 10 different “restaurants” In a single kitchen. Though they appear on Grubhub as separate establishments, each with a distinct cuisine, all the food might be prepared in the same kitchen by the same staff.”


Robotic Food Preparation


Chowbotics is on the bleeding edge of New Food Studio’s trends for 2018, however, they’re on track with several applications of robotic food preparation technology in formats that support fast-causal, quick-serve, commissary, supermarket, and kiosk-style dining. 


Watch this video demonstrating “Sally” their salad-making robot. . .


Several key aspects of this technology could easily cut back-of-the-house costs, and keep food costs and waste at a minimum.  Robotics in the food industry is a fascinating emerging trend and one we’ll keep watching as competition begins to expand in this market.


High Tech and Plant Based

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High-tech, plant-based food products are all over the place. From “bleeding” vegan burgers to sushi-grade “not-tuna” made from tomatoes, an emerging crop of plant-based products are designed to appeal to vegetarians and carnivores alike. Ingredients such as pili nuts, peas, bananas, macadamia nuts, pecans and avocado stand in for dairy in new yogurt, ice cream and milk products.  Here are a few examples we’ve liked:  VioLife cheese products (these were a total delicious surprise for us); Modern Table; Beyond Meat . . .


The Complexity of Flavor

Chambers et al. 2006. Journal of Sensory Studies. 31: 465–480

Chambers et al. 2006. Journal of Sensory Studies. 31: 465–480

Expect to see more of this in combinations like: lime mint elderflower, and, ginger citrus coffee. Across multiple platforms from snacking to beverages . . .


Pringles has an edge on experimentation with this and has offered several fun flavors in the past like, Screamin’ Dill Pickle; Cheese Burger; Top Ramen Chicken; Fiery Chili Lime . . .


That Fermented Feeling

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Fermented foods and probiotics trends aren’t going away, growing interest in gut health has propelled probiotics and less-processed, easier-to-digest foods, paving the way for an assortment of more naturally derived packaged foods.  Additionally, spurring home cooks to create their own yogurt, fermented beverages, aged alcohols, and vinegars.


One of these fermented products is a variety of pizza called “Pinsa.”  We’ve seen several restaurants in San Francisco, and Brooklyn, as well as globally via the restaurant group Healthy Pinsa featuring these pizzas made with fermented doughs.  Some of our favorites include: Montescaro Pinseria Enoteca; PinsaLab; Healthy Pinsa.


Anecdotal evidence reports the advantage of these types of fermented doughs cook up bubblier and the resulting crust is crispier.  Also, they can absorb more water so you get fuller faster and eat less. Some say the fermentation process helps with digestion as well, likely making these pinsas actually good for you to eat . . .


Produce Butchers

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For those that can’t, won’t, or haven’t a desire to slice, dice and chop produce, several supermarkets, like Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, and Trader Joe’s have incorporated “vegetable butchers” that can take the drudgery of meal preparation out of your complicated schedule. Just bring your produce to the counter and have them cut it anyway you’d like.  Simple. . .


Add Water and Stir?

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Food preparation videos of indulgent foods aimed at the novice cook all made with the simplest of equipment (think, one pot or pan, a stove top, an oven, a mixing bowl, a whisk, and a spatula).  Most of these recipes rely heavily on packaged/prepared consumer products, and most aren’t aimed at the health-conscious consumer.  Here are a few Instagram examples:  The Hungry Friends; Foodburg; So Yummy; FoodyDIY; Buzz Feed Tasty. . .


A great white space to play in this outlet might be for health-focused CPG manufacturers.  If you’re one of those, reach out to New Food Studio – we’d jump at a chance to help showcase your ingredients in simple to create, great tasting recipes. . .


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According to Men’s Health Magazine, “Almonds are good for your brain, brawn, and belly. Much of the credit goes to a handful supplying half your daily value of the antioxidant vitamin E, which can increase memory and cognitive performance, according to researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.”

We at New Food Studio love almonds, not just for their inherent advantages from a health perception but because they are extremely versatile from an application perspective, and taste great. 

In continuing, collaborative work with our allies at BizLink, we explored several applications of almond products from almond flour, to almond milk, and nuts in various formats.  Let us know if New Food Studio can help you with your application needs.


Here are a few recipes from our archives:

Moroccan Spiced Almonds

Preparation time:  5 minutes

Roasting time: 15 minutes

Cooling time: 30 minutes

Yield:  about 20, 8-ounce servings


9 cups (627G) blanched, slivered almonds

¼ cup (34g) ras el hanout (Moroccan spice blend)

½ teaspoon (1.4g) cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons (14g) kosher salt

½ teaspoon (1.4g) finely ground black pepper

2 teaspoons (9g) sugar

1 teaspoon (2g) cumin

4 Tablespoons (60g) butter


Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper, set aside.


Scatter the almonds on prepared sheet pan in a single layer.  Roast in oven until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes.


Meanwhile, add ras el hanout, cayenne, salt, black pepper, sugar, cumin and butter in a large mixing bowl.


Add hot almonds to spice mixture and stir to melt butter and evenly coat almonds.  Spread on a half-sheet pan to cool completely before serving.  Store in an air-tight container.



Roasted Almond Salted Orange Brittle

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Cooling time: 60 minutes

Yield:  about 8 cups brittle


1 (225g) cup sugar

1 cup (300g) glucose or corn syrup

1 teaspoon (0.5g) orange juice

2 cups (450g) roasted diced medium almonds

1 teaspoon (6g) kosher salt

zest of half a large orange


Line a half-sheet pan with a silicon mat.  Alternately, heavily butter a half-sheet pan, set aside.


Stir sugar, glucose, and orange juice in a large heavy pot until evenly mixed.  Heat over medium heat, occasionally washing down the sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in water, until light amber in color, about 295 degrees F.  Do not stir.


Meanwhile, toss together the almonds, salt, baking soda and orange zest in a bowl until evenly mixed. 


Quickly stir the nut mixture into the caramel to coat evenly and remove from the heat.  Caution:  mixture will bubble and spurt.


Pour mixture onto the prepared half-sheet pan and very quickly spread evenly and thinly as possible with the back of a wooden spoon.


Place on a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.  Break apart into bite sized pieces and store in an air-tight container.



Taking Iced Coffee to Another Place . . .

Imagine an iced coffee drink that’s not watered down . . .

We very much enjoy working with our colleagues at BizLink Group.  They have inspired us to play in places we’d normally not be exposed to.  We fell in love with a slow-brewed coffee concentrate they turned us on to and helped create several applications for this product.

Iced coffee with a rich smooth taste, from an exclusive slow-brew, low-temperature method that ensures a smooth, rich and refreshing coffee flavor.  Simply add cold water, or other liquids for a multitude of delicious coffee beverage options. 

In our continued collaborations with colleagues at BizLink, we offer the following recipes from our archives.  If you’d like more information on this product or how we might be able to serve your business, please reach out to Mark Graham at New Food Studio.


Here are a few recipes from our archives:

Iced “Special Coffee” A refreshing coffee-cocktail made with cold brew coffee concentrate, coffee liquor, orange liquor, aged rum (or bourbon), shaken with ice until frothy and served in a rocks glass

1 ounce coffee concentrate

2 ounces water

1 ounce amaretto

1 ounce triple sec

2 ounces aged rum or bourbon

orange peel


Coat the rim on a rocks glass with cinnamon sugar, fill with ice.  Set aside.


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add, coffee concentrate, water, amaretto, triple sec, and rum or bourbon.  Shake until ice cold and frothy.  Strain into prepared glass.  Garnish with orange peel.



“Shaken Not Stirred” Iced coffee spiked with vanilla. 

1 ounce coffee concentrate

½ ounce pure vanilla extract

5 ounces water

coffee creamer


Coat the rim of an iced tea glass with sugar, fill with ice.  Set aside.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add coffee concentrate, vanilla and water.  Shake until ice cold and frothy.  Strain into prepared iced tea glass.  Serve with creamer of your choice on the side.


Collaboration - Mango Tea, Iced or Hot

We've been working with The Biz Link Group on several application projects and look forward to sharing the results with you here in the next several weeks  For the moment, we present a refreshing alternative to sweetening tea, iced or hot, with fruit puree.  In this instance we used an herbal peach tea, sweetened with mango puree and flavored with fresh basil.

Summer in a glass.

Here are a few recipes from our archives: 

Iced Mango-Peach-Basil Tea

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Brewing time: 20 minutes

Yield:  about 20, 8-ounce servings


1 cup (300g) mango puree

4 peach tea sachets (1.4 ounce each)

8 small basil leaves, torn or chopped into small pieces

2 quarts (1800g) hot (210 degrees F) water

Basil sprigs

Cucumber spears

Stir together mango puree, tea sachets, basil, and hot water in a 1-gallon, heat proof container.  Let brew 20 minutes at room temperature.  Remove tea bags.  Stir in 2 quarts cold water.  Transfer to pitchers or bar pourers.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make one serving of iced mango-peach-basil tea:

Fill an iced tea glass (or tall, 8-ounce glass) with ice.  Shake or stir tea mixture and pour over ice.  Garnish with basil sprig and a cucumber spear.


Hot Mango-Peach-Basil Tea

Preparation time:  1 minute

Brewing time:  3 minutes

Yield:  1 serving

1 ounce Mango puree

1 peach tea sachet (1.4 ounce)

2 small basil leaves, torn

12 ounces (1 ½ cups) hot (210 degrees F) water

Add mango puree, tea sachet, basil leaves and hot water to a small tea pot, or a large heat-proof mug.  Stir.  Let brew three minutes.  Serve.



Inspiration: Octopus

Often when I’m working with a client I’m inspired by a task, formula, recipe, methodology, process, or ingredient.  While helping my clients, Steven Nicks and Fred Latasa, get their first restaurant, Strangers & Saints, off the ground last summer, I was inspired by many things. Their Curried Octopus, however, was so delicious it led me to write about it for the Chicago Tribune’s Food & Dining section.

As a result of my curiosity and menu research, it turns out that octopus is showing up on menus and inspiration/trend reports all over the US.  The International Chefs Congress in September of 2016 named it in their top-ten of menu item trends.  And, a slew of restaurants from coast to coast are featuring octopus on their menus.  Here are a few examples just from Chicago:  The Purple Pig; Quartino; Fish Bar; Ruxbin.

I love and welcome the diversity of my work.  It keeps me on top of the game and more valuable to my customers.


Here is a recipe from our archives:

Curried Octopus

Adapted from Strangers & Saints, Provincetown, MA

Preparation time:  40 minutes

Cooking time:  About two hours and 30 minutes

Marinating time:  4 hours and up to overnight

Chilling time:  4 hours and up to overnight



1, 4-pound, whole octopus, thawed (or 5, ½ - 1 pound octopus – octopus shrink tremendously when cooked)

1 ½ cups white wine

3 cups water

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 large fennel bulb, roughly chopped

2 large carrots, peeled, roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds

3 corks (optional)



1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil

4 Tablespoons Ras el Hanout (or substitute your favorite curry powder)

2 Tablespoons turmeric

3 Tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (or less to reduce the spiciness of the dish)

½ cup sugar

½ cup maple syrup

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper


Chickpea Mashed

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon Ras el Hanout (or substitute your favorite curry powder)

2 cups orange juice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2, 14.5 ounce cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Bring octopus, wine, water, onion, fennel, carrots, garlic, salt, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds and cork (optional) to a boil in a Dutch oven over high heat.  Cover, transfer to oven and cook, covered, until octopus is fork tender at its thickest part, 90 minutes – 2 hours (check tenderness after 90 minutes).

Drain octopus from cooking liquid and remove tentacles from head.  Discard head.  Transfer tentacles to a re-sealable plastic bag.  Strain cooking liquid, reserving ½ cup (remaining cooking liquid can be frozen for several months and used in recipes calling for fish stock). 

Make the marinade by whisking together the olive oil, Ras el Hanout, turmeric, red pepper flakes, sugar, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  Pour marinade over octopus, seal bag and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Make the chickpea mash by heating olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir in Ras el Hanout and cook for several seconds until very fragrant.  Add reserved cooking liquid, orange juice, salt, pepper, chickpeas and cilantro.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbling, and chickpeas begin to fall apart and all the liquid is absorbed, about 8 minutes.  Lower heat to a simmer and keep warm, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, Heat broiler to low, set rack four to six inches from heating element.  Broil octopus on a sheet pan until deep dark brown, crisp, and heated through, about 4 minutes per side.

Place chickpea mash in the center of a warm serving dish, top with broiled octopus and garnish with a few sprigs of fresh cilantro.  Serve at once.


Rye Pancakes

I’ve been experimenting with creating a ferment to make bread, inspired by The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz, and consequently have some whole grain rye flour on hand.  I decided to see what I might be able to make from this flour, and what benefits I might gain from using it.


Rye is a cereal grain, and can be known as “winter rye” as it is often planted in Fall and early Winter as a cover crop to keep back aggressive winter-hardy weeds.  It’s often a bonus crop and its production is prevalent in Germany, Poland and Russia, producing the largest crops globally.  Interestingly enough, a certain rye protein that acts as an antifreeze allows the grain to survive sub-zero temperatures. 


Rye has a rich hearty taste and numerous health benefits.  Because it is difficult to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of rye, rye flour usually retains a large quantity of nutrients, in contrast to refined wheat flour.  For example, whole grain rye is an excellent source of fiber; is very rich in manganese, with one serving having 72 percent of the recommended daily value. It is also rich in phosphorous, copper, pantothenic acid (B5), and magnesium.


Most of us are familiar with rye bread’s unique texture and flavor, often paired with caraway seeds.  I wanted to move away from that traditional association and created a pancake recipe that uses orange zest and juice to coincide with rye’s richness.  These pancakes are fluffy, full of rich rye flavor, and have a lovely citrus finish.  The batter keeps well for several days in the refrigerator and can easily be made the night before making the pancakes for a convenient quick breakfast.  I used orange segments as a garnish, but any sliced fruit goes well with these pancakes.


Here is a recipe from our archives:

Rye-Orange Pancakes

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  6 minutes, per batch

Yield:  16, 3-inch pancakes


1 cup whole grain rye flour

2 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

Zest of ½ an orange

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup sour cream or Greek-style yogurt

1 cup milk

1 cup orange juice

2 eggs

4 tablespoons butter


Heat oven to 200 degrees F.

Whisk together rye flour, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange zest and sugar in a medium bowl, set aside. 

Whisk together sour cream, milk, orange juice and eggs until smooth.

Whisk together the sour cream mixture and the rye flour mixture until just combined.

Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop pancake batter in ¼ cup portions using an ice cream scoop and cook until top of pancake has many bubbles in its surface and the edges are brown, about 4 minutes.  Flip pancakes over and cook an additional 2 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned.  Transfer cooked pancakes to the oven on a wire-rack-lined sheet pan to keep warm.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Garnish with orange segments or sliced fruit if desired.

Brown Rice Cakes

According to The Rice Association, “There are more than 40,000 varieties of cultivated rice (the grass species Oryza sativa) said to exist. But the exact figure is uncertain. Over 90,000 samples of cultivated rice and wild species are stored at the International Rice Gene Bank and these are used by researchers all over the world.” I like rice as a side dish and enjoy its many varieties from Carnaroli to long grain brown rice.  Rice can be a daunting task for some to cook at home, whether that’s white rice, brown rice, or any of the many varieties most supermarkets carry today.  I think it’s rather easy to cook rice, my usual rule of thumb is one-part rice to two-parts water by volume, a little salt and some fat (butter, olive oil, sesame oil, etc.).  Stir this together, bring to a boil, lower to a bare simmer and cook until all the water is absorbed.  Then let the rice rest for several minutes before serving.  Brown rice requires a bit more water, however, the cooking method doesn’t change. 


I love brown rice.  There’s an almost nutty taste to it, plus the added benefit of it being a wholegrain.  Additionally, its texture is chewier than white rice and there are many nutritional benefits.  According to WebMD, brown rice is part of their “12 Super Foods for New Moms.”  They report, “Foods like brown rice provide your body the calories it needs to make the best-quality milk for your baby.”


On a warm summer afternoon, I was looking for something healthy, that wasn’t just another salad.  I developed this recipe for brown rice cakes with oil cured olives and fresh herbs.  I topped them with an arugula salad and some fresh cherry tomatoes tossed in a lemon-tahini vinaigrette, however, these would be ideal as a side dish for barbequed chicken, or a hearty steak.


Here’s a recipe for Brown Rice Cakes from our archives:

Brown Rice Cakes

Preparation time:  45 minutes

Cooking time:  50 minutes

Yield:  4, 3-inch rice cakes


1 cup brown rice

2 ½ cups water

½ teaspoon salt

10 basil leaves

10 oregano leaves

¼ cup pitted, chopped oil cured olives

2 green onions, very thinly sliced

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Freshly ground pepper

1 Tablespoon olive oil


Stir together brown rice, water and salt in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Lower heat to a slow simmer, cover, and cook until rice is very tender and all the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, roll together the basil and oregano leaves on a cutting board.  Slice through the roll creating very fine ribbons of herbs.

Stir herbs, olives, green onions, parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper into rice to create a very sticky mass.   Shape rice mixture into balls using a ½-cup ice cream scoop; shape these into cakes about 3 inches wide and ½ inch thick.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Cook rice cakes in hot oil until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes per side.

Serve immediately, topped with salad greens, or serve as a side dish.