Sick of food trend lists brimming with acai bowls, Hawaiian poke and avocado on everything? If you don’t care what the latest overpriced food fad is (looking at you, charcoal croissants), but you do want to know what’s really happening in the world of food, then look no further. From plastic to unloved greens, seed sharing to flexitarianism, here’s what we’re predicting will be the hottest 2019 trends in the food and farming world.
1. No plastic please
Plastic-wrapped vegetables? 2019 is about ditching the unnecessary packaging
The war against waste, and particularly ocean plastic, is only going to continue in 2019. Zero-waste shops (like Zero Green in Bristol and Bulk Market in London) are popping up across the country, more bloggers share their plastic-free journey and the rise in greener alternatives, from beeswax wrap to bamboo straws is boosting momentum. Expect an increase in compostable coffee pods and alcohol – even wine! – served in easy-to-recycle aluminium cans rather than glass.
2. Ditch the booze
This is destined to be the year when we realise our tipple of choice doesn’t always have to involve alcohol. Spurring this trend is the launch of Seedlip, the world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit, as well as the increasing availability of artisanal bitters and fermented drinks that add depth and flavour to any drink, whether alcoholic or not. For beer fans, brewing a flavourful pint with low ABV can be a challenge, but an increasing number of breweries, such as Small Beer Brew Co. are rising to the task.
3. Forget salmon and cod: the fish to eat this year
Sole of Discretion‘s small-scale fishers haul in an abundant variety of species off British shores
Farewell to salmon and adios to tuna. While there are over 150 species of fish caught in our waters, only half a dozen tend to end up on our plates. Try switching your over-fished cod for unloved ling and your seabass for Dover sole, or maybe learn to cook the abundant herring and sardines caught off British shores. Restaurants such as Bonnie Gull in London and Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen in Cornwall are heading up the trend, shining a light on often overlooked brill, gurnard and huss.
4. Flexitarians rise up
As more people opt for vegetarian and vegan diets, lab-grown and artificial meats are no longer a thing of science fiction. Parallel to this trend is a growing number of people who are choosing a middle ground. The flexitarian approach is still about eating meat and dairy, but in smaller amounts and only when high-welfare. High-profile writers, such as Grace Dent, are spearheading this movement, and more restaurants (such as Root Bristol) are flipping their menus to focus on plants, offering meat only as a side or in small portions.
5. Going sour: the flavour we forgot
A forgotten and underused flavour is making a resurgence. From kimchi to drinking vinegars, it’s time to get sour back on the menu. The flavour and probiotic benefits given by a good vinegar make it a great base for a morning health tonic or a fruit shrub, and cocktails too (try The Shrub and Shutter in Brixton). It’s also a great flavour to introduce into your food. With ferments, from sauerkraut to seasonal vegetable pickles finding their way onto shop shelves and restaurant menus, expect to taste a lot more sour in 2019.
6. A seed for change
Did you know, 75% of global crop diversity has disappeared in the last 100 years? Or that most of the seed we now use is grown in a different climate to ours? To combat this, more farmers and guerilla gardeners (@croydongardener) are now saving, sharing and promoting open-pollinated seed, meaning crops that are adaptable to local conditions, more resilient to disease, and – most importantly – that cannot be patented. That means the seeds from each harvest can be saved to grow the next year’s crop. Seeds are also important when it comes to preserving diverse, heritage varieties, from Black Cherry tomatoes to Dazzling Blue kale.
Visit: realseeds.co.uk to get your hands on open-pollinated, heritage seeds, or find out online when you’re local seed swap is happening.
7. Eat your greens
While kale will always have a place on our plate, it’s time to mix up your favourite recipes with some vibrant new greens. From bitter dandelion leaves to citrusy sorrel to peppery watercress, there’s a whole world of leaves to explore if you’re willing to give them a try. Look out for Catherine Phipps’ cookbook Leaf: Lettuce, Greens, Herbs, Weeds, dedicated to the epic diversity of the humble green leaf, out later this year.
Follow: Kate Collyns from her sustainable market garden, Grown Green, for regular seasonal updates on her amazing greens.
8. Take it slow
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Something for the weekend… Check out my @farmdrop column this month to get the recipe for this rather epic slow roast pork belly with apples and black pudding. Follow the link in my profile for more on this and to learn about the general brilliance of @farmdrop. #winterfeast #farmdrop
In a time when convenience is king, there are a growing number of people bucking the trend, choosing instead to savour the slowness of food, both in how it’s prepared and how it’s enjoyed. The rise of artisanal producers putting the time back into their craft might have a say in that, as do a rise in cookbooks from Jenny Linford’s The Missing Ingredient: The Curious Role of Time in Food and Flavour, and Gizzi Erskine’s Slow, which teaches you the techniques to get the best flavour out of your food.
9. Regenerative agriculture
Farming is focussing less on ‘sustaining’ soil health but on actively improving it
It’s the new buzzword on the sustainable farming scene, but what does it mean? Simply put, it’s farming that’s not only trying to maintain the existing soil and ecology of the land, but actively trying to replenish and improve it. From cover crops to agroforestry, grass-fed livestock to no-till farming, it’s about working holistically with the ecosystems in which we grow our food. Check out Farmdrop producer, Fernhill Farm, who are working hard to rehabilitate their farming landscape in this way.