New Year's predictions, like resolutions, seem like exercises in futility. I mean, who really knows what's going to happen tomorrow, much less over the next 12 months?
Well, apparently there are folks that do this prediction thing for a living, collating user data to make informed predictions about what's going to be "hot" in the new year. Among these people are the analytics nerds at Whole Foods and Pinterest, who use what you're asking about or searching for to take a good guess at the evolution of food trends.
Here's a look at five of the more interesting trends predicted for the food world, and thoughts on whether we might see them pop up locally. Also, I add a prediction of my own: You won't stick to that New Year's diet. And shouldn't. There's just too much goodness out there.
CBD is buzzing
CBD is the new food wunderkind—perhaps that's why The New York Times recently declared it the "new avocado toast." CBD is the non-psychoactive compound of cannabis and hemp plants and is used mainly as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory, as well as a general relaxant. Because it's not regulated like its psychoactive sister, THC, it's relatively easy to find and legal for anyone to purchase. In 2018, we found it included in everything from tinctures and creams to caramels and doggie treats.
In 2019, the craze is predicted to spiral, with CBD cocktails already being slung in New York City, CBD smoothies going down in Los Angeles and the introduction of mainstream products such as Recess, a La Croix-esque, CBD-infused sparkling water. According to Gloria Silva, one of the experts at Santa Fe CBD shop Sacred Wellness (1300 Luisa St., Ste. 4, 257-3733), the obsession likely won't hit Santa Fe as hard as it has other places.
"My concern is that people might jump into it without doing any research," Silva tells SFR. "The effects of CBD are highly personal and there's no protocol for taking it, so usually finding out what works for a patient is a process of trial and error." So, rather than going out and downing a six-pack of CBD bubble water, use the education and experience of your local expert. Overdoing it is not a pretty way to start a new year.
This milkshake [might] bring the boys to the yard
While on a recent trip to Connecticut, I had the opportunity to taste the new kid on the block of New England-style IPA: a milkshake IPA by Relic Brewing. A milkshake IPA is basically billed as a hazy, fuller-bodied IPA achieved through brewing with lactose (milk sugar). As I swirled the sickly sweet bubbles around in my mouth, all I could think was, "Oh, hell no!"
Being that New Mexico is considered a bit of a powerhouse in the world of IPA, I wondered if this is a trend we may see more of here. "People love the juicy, hazy, creamy aspects of milkshake IPAs," says Tom Ludzia, brewer at Second Street Brewery. "We've made them before and they sell out right away." I was surprised by this, so I asked about the sweetness. "I can't say I personally could drink more than one but, really, it's just a chance play with something different," Ludzia says. "It's a lot of fun for brewers and people really like a beer that tastes as different as it looks."
Former trend-setters coconut water and aloe vera water might see competition this year from some unexpected sources: maple trees and prickly pear cactus. While uberwaters have been lauded for the treatment of everything from nasty hangovers to a bad case of wrinkles, the KIND 2019 healthy snacking trend report notes the newcomers taking these types of health claims a step farther. The phytonutrients, amino acids, minerals and antioxidants found in maple sap make it a healthy alternative to other "waters" on the market.
Cactus water, on the other hand, is made with half the calories and sugar than many coconut water products. This elixir claims benefits ranging from fighting skin damage from the sun with taurine, and boosting the immune system with vitamins B and C, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium. Intriguing claims, yes, but consider this: Pinterest's top 100 trends for 2019 notes that searches for ginger water are up 353 percent. Ginger has a long history as an anti-inflammatory and digestive aid and, no doubt, makes for a much more affordable water "experience."
And when it comes down to the reality of it all, no amount of fancy water makes up for good old-fashioned H2O.
Don’t call it a comeback
Hummus has made many an appearance on food trends lists over the years. Actually, it probably never left. Now, in 2019, we're seeing the dawn of—get this—dessert hummus? Yup!
Whole Foods Markets has listed frozen, sweet hummus as one of its top 10 food trends for 2019, along with other "innovative bases" for frozen goodies, such as avocado, tahini and coconut water. Owen Laurion, pastry chef at Paloma (401 S Guadalupe St., 467-8624), was a little surprised by this predicted penchant.
"After thinking about what on earth frozen hummus could be … it seems there've been a lot of people making alternative, dairy-free ice creams," Laurion posits. "Recently I was experimenting with garbanzo bean water for a vegan meringue, and that's what this trend could be about. Vegan baking and pastry are on the rise to satisfy growing vegan patronage and changing eating habits in general."
So, you might not see dessert hummus showing up on local restaurant menus anytime soon, but if it sounds intriguing, keep an eye on the freezer case at Whole Foods.
Butter me up
The paleo craze will stay a craze in 2019, and for those looking for nutrient-dense alternatives to the ubiquitous almond butter, sunflower, pumpkin and even watermelon seed butters are predicted to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame this year. The KIND report notes these butters contain the same good fats as nut butters, but can also be enjoyed by those with nut allergies. Seed butters can be eaten straight, with fruit or on toast, and are even being used in soups as an alternative to cream. Bonus: You can make them yourself. What better way to start the New Year than by trying something new?