29 June 2017
What’s the next coconut water? Are the early 2000s back in all their sushi-eating, Sriracha-slathered glory? These burning questions and more were answered by Peter Brunkestam, development chef, Tetra Pak Recart, when we caught up with him at ProFood Tech. Our conversation gave us more context to the ingredient trends predicted by Mintel for 2017, including a return to recognizable flavors and the introduction of more products featuring vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains and seeds as main ingredients.

Q: What food and ingredient trends have you seen thus far in 2017?
A: When it comes to trends, we live in a big world. The trends that I’ve seen are regional ones. It means that if you live in upstate New York you will harvest your own produce there and you will try to make it as good as possible, yet still familiar. That’s something you see in top restaurants. For us, regional food is quite big. So if you have some good Jerusalem artichokes, you try to do something nice with it. And the food should taste of what it says on the pack to tap into the trend of recognizable foods and flavors.
Another trend is Asian food, especially for Europe – straight, good Asian flavors are coming back. They were big in the 90s and are coming back again, especially with ramen noodles and poke bowls.
Mexican food, in Europe, is also growing. Here in the US, it’s always been big. It’s just going to become bigger. Also with regional flavors, it’s going to become a little bit more authentic. The taste is going to be a bit more like what you get in Mexico. That’s what I’ve seen.

Q: What do you think the next “it” healthy snack will be?
A: I think the next healthy snack will be based on seeds. Seeds are high in protein, low in carbohydrates and full of flavor. We’ll start to see amaranth, chia or quinoa seeds in drinks, bars and salads. These new products will be great for vegans and vegetarians, and also serve consumers interested in healthy eating on the go.

Q: Sounds tasty! Do you have any drinks predictions?
A: I think birch-sap flavored water with different kinds of herbs like basil or thyme is going to be bigger than coconut water. I promise you. Birch water is huge in the Nordics! It’s low in sugar and really refreshing.

For more food wisdom from Chef Peter, read his blog post on the packaged tomato, or what he calls “a chef’s best friend.” 
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