Edible Monterey Bay

Trendspotting at the Good Food Awards

377c740f-6b79-46c8-92b7-e44d44872875January 26, 2016 – Even if you don’t consider yourself a food industry trend spotter, you’d have to be living under a rock to not notice certain inclinations from year to year. Restaurant menus, grocery aisles, your friend’s kitchen cupboards…all these places will indicate what ingredients might be most popular at any given time. Remember when kale was the new black? Or when cupcakes were taking over the world? Believe it or not, there are entire career paths devoted to watching these food trends. My own path is not quite on par, but I love food (as I’m assuming most of you who are reading this right now do) and I geek out on food product intel. So here are my six predictions for 2016 food trends, gathered in part from recent research at the Good Food Mercantile and Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this month.


Maybe it started with the Paleo diet, but it seems that the fear of fat is finally ebbing away from the non-fat 1980’s craze. There are lots of new studies showing the benefits of full fat, and this is very evident in the food industry right now. The backlash equals freedom to enjoy whole milk yogurt, cultured butters, jerky, nut mixes and coconut in everything (which could be it’s own category, but I think it had the spotlight last year):

The New Primal – Grass-fed Beef Jerky
Smari-Organic Icelandic Whole Milk Yogurt
Jindilli Beverages-Macadamia nut milk
Bellwether Farms-Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
Keep It Real Food Company-No-Grain Granola
Eating Evolved Inc.-Coconut Butter Cups
Dang-Coconut Chips
Mt. Sterling Co-op Creamery-Whey Cream Goat Butter
The Philosopher’s Stoneground-”Regenerative Nut Butters” (from Santa Cruz!)
Solstice Canyon-Cardamom and Clove Almond Butter
Blackberry Farm-Pecan Sorghum Butter


The flavor of smoke has moved way beyond just BBQ, finding a niche in very unexpected edibles. Smoking and barrel-aging imparts a rich layer to food, and producers are exploring this technique with pretty much anything that will absorb it, from chocolate to salt to olive oil:

Regalis-Smoked Olive Oil
Langdon Wood-Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup
Lemon Bird-Smoked Cherries
Rare Tea Cellar-Forbidden Forest Lapsan Souchong Tea Syrup
Raaka-Smoked Chai Chocolate
Jacobsen Salt Co.-Smoked Salt
Bee Local- Cherry Wood Smoked Honey
Fullsteam Brewery-Brandy Barrel Aged First Frost Persimmon Ale
Finnriver Farm & Cidery-Barrel Berry Sour


There is a movement afoot that is giving a second life to what would otherwise be thrown away, addressing the alarming statistic that 40% of food grown and produced in the U.S. does not get eaten. Value added products are key in battling the food waste issue, and can present another economically viable option for small food companies. Here are two products that are leading the way:

ReGrained- snack bar
Executive Grain Officer & Co-Founder Dan Kurzrock says, “We really want to bring beer grain into the food waste conversation,” and does that with a witty tagline: “eat beer”.

Scrappy for Pets-pet food snacks
As head “Forager”, Larry Bain explains that his company sources meat from ranchers who would have dumped it because it was scrap or not profitable, essentially “rescuing from waste.”


Tea is brewing in more than just water these days, showing up in a variety of liquid and solid forms from cocktails to candies to crackers. Matcha green tea powder is seeing a second wave as well, its bright hue being found in a simple cup to unexpected sweets. In a similar vein, edible flowers are big right now, with petals imparting some unique flavor profiles.

Kelvin Slush Co-Tea Organic Blender Slush Mix
Cocktail Crate-Lavender Bloom Mixer
Two Moms in the Raw-Green Tea Vanilla Truffle
Owl’s Brew-Smoky Earl ”A Tea Crafted for Cocktails”
Teapigs-Matcha Elderflower Green Tea Drink
Arette Foods-Organic Wild Tea Seed Oil
Pacari Organic Chocolate-Lemongrass Chocolate Bar
Rozendal-Green Tea Vinegar
Chuao Chocolatier-Raspberry Rose Bar
Tea Drops-Rose Earl Grey Tea Drops
Joia-Lime Hibiscus & Clove natural soda
Little Apple Treats-Apple Cider Caramels with Cocoa Nibs & Rose Petals
Teaonic-”I Love My Skin” Hibiscus Herbal Tea Tonic
Blossom Water-Pomegranate Geranium


Now that everyone and their mother is accustomed to Kombucha, it seems we are craving a deeper tang in our beverages. Drinking vinegars and shrubs have hit the scene in a big way in the United States, although they are nothing new in many Asian countries. A long history of health benefits associated with acidifying drinks have secured this trend as the next Kombucha.

Pok Pok Som-Turmeric Drinking Vinegar
Rare Tea Cellar-Huckleberry Yuzu Shrubbery
Elixir Vitae-Kaffir Lime Drinking Vinegar
Old Aunt Ada’s-Apple Cider Vinegar (from Watsonville!)
Slide Ridge-Honey Wine Vinegar
Genki-Su-Shiso Japanese Basil Drinking Vinegar
Little Apple Granola-Tayberry Shrub
Bragg-Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Ginger Spice Drink


Similar to the Fat category, but a bit more inclusive and sometimes hidden, comes secret protein additions. Whey powder, seeds, flour mixes, even bugs…we are getting a dose of protein in more than just our morning smoothie:

Bitty Foods -Cricket Flour Cookies
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods – Cinnamon Hemp Heart Bites
Explore Cuisine – Organic Edamame Spaghetti
Don Bugito- bug snacks “farm raised in California”
Peacecock Bakery-Vegan Hemp Brownie Mix
Organic Gemini-Tigernut Horchata
Amoretti-Pistachio Flour

*BONUS-Trendiest Product Winner:
The name says it all…

Kaleidoscope Living Foods – Bone Broth Kale Chips