Food Trends 2017: Insider Predictions

Created with Phil Owens for Bespoke Menu Design – see the original here!

New year: new trends. Helpfully, our sister company Flavour Feed has researched and finely crafted their food trend predictions for 2017. Find a carefully selected preview below, and sign up at for the full insight.

A divided approach to food and drink pairs with a divided world, as we observe a distinctive yin and yang to modern eating. Health jars with dude food, and indulgence with restraint as consumers choose their side or, most likely, a mixture of both.

Consumers in 2017 acutely recognise their freedom as a consumer and exercise it, and also their voice. Choosing migrant cuisine, indulging in comfort food, cutting food waste, sharing with friends and publishing on social media all become modes of expression.

Cotton-candy soft serve at Milk Train


Has there ever been a more opportune moment in modern history for the rise of comfort food? Brexit and the US election results have shaken the world to its core. Where to turn next? To proper hospitality and food that connects us, signalling happier times. Bowl foods will continue to be a daily source of comfort, with the retro flavour of malt and reimagined nostalgic pastries like caneles and beignets chez Dominique Ansel emerging as favourites to cushion the shock.

Decline of Clean Eating

Due to serious backlash from mainstream media and prominent blogs who are crying foul on the concept of “pure” and “impure” foods, and the fact-poor pseudoscience associated with it, expect to see clean-eaters take a more inclusive approach to food.

Also expect to see more fact-checking and accountability taking place – from brands themselves and also the government – see Leon’s superfood salad inquiry and the petition to legally protect the term “nutritionist” from being adopted by unqualified wellness figures.

Table Theatre

There’s nothing like a bit of old-school opulence to comfort during a crisis – from pork-pie trolleys in London to tableside-carved salt and ash-baked beetroot in NY.

And in a sweet twist on the trend, the dessert trolley is firmly back in service, from canapé-style modern desserts, like cappuccino cheesecake, salted-caramel mousse and raspberry macarons with basil ganache at Eneko in London, and trolleys complete with empty cannoli shells for piping at the table at Quality Italian in NY.

Food Pimping 

Food pimping – the act of elevating a dish to dizzying new heights – has been gaining traction, and holds a strong connection with nostalgic ingredients and calorific comfort food.

We predict food pimping to become the new normal, but we also expect the level of in-yer-face pimping to level out – like this subtly pimped, toasted marshmallow-topped salted-caramel hot chocolate from Fatties Bakery. Sign us up.

Turkish flatbread pide spread at Babaji


Wishy-washy interpretation is out, and searing authenticity is in, with regional cuisines and no-holds-barred flavours coming into focus. And while global politics might shun diversity, the food world revels in it – in celebration of globalisation and the influence of migrants.

Middle Eastern

Middle-Eastern and Israeli food is packing plenty of authentic punch in London, with exciting restaurants like The Barbary in London’s Covent Garden and Honey & Co’s Honey & Smoke on Warren Street doing much to raise the profile of the cuisine. Look out for ingredients and dishes like za’atar, sumac, labneh and the syrupy-sweet knafeh becoming commonplace.


Bold, punchy, comforting and feel good, Filipino and fusion Filipino has been heating up in the US and is due its moment in the spotlight in the UK, especially in the street-food scene.

Filipino influencers in NY include Filpino taquerias 2nd City and Swell Dive, and stylish Filipino joint Manila Social Club – home of the infamous $100 gold-Champagne ube (a kind of purple yam) doughnut.

Turkish + The Pide

Turkish food has been inching into the spotlight in London, armed with its crowd-pleasing Middle-Eastern pizza, the pide.

Essentially a flatbread topped with minced lamb, spinach, cheese, sujuk (Turkish sausage), eggs and finished with a generous splash of melted butter, find pide in London at Alan Yau’s Babaji on Shaftesbury Avenue and Pide on Charlotte Street.

Polynesian + The Evolution of Poke

The hero dish of modern Polynesian food, poke is still going strong and will be evolving in 2017 – with poke burritos (pokerritos) as seen at Ahi Poke on London’s Charlotte Street, and with authentic Hawaiian-style poke being served pre-marinated and by weight, like at the soon-to-open Sweetcatch Poke in NY.


From hot sauce gochujang to ultimate bowl food bibimbap to absurdly delicious Korean BBQ, Korean is a modern mainstay of US cities and is spreading to Australia and the UK. Head to Korrito in the Southbank Centre’s market for a taste of K-BBQ. You’ll be hooked. 

Mexican Taquerias

House-made tortillas and mezcal a-plenty is the new vibe of the authentic Mexican taquerias set to take London by storm. This month sees Corazon from Laura Sheffield open as well as Temper from Neil Rankin, while December brings El Pastor from the Wright Brothers. We expect someone might steal the “Tacowey” (taco-take-away) concept from recently opened Hotel Jesus in Melbourne, but we wouldn’t blame them.


This summer, David Chang announced in Lucky Peach that he thinks Vietnamese broth and noodle dish pho is, ‘the future of noodles in America…I think we’re going to see pho change, the same way that ramen and pizza have evolved into many different things’. Even Google agrees, and has cited pho as a rising search term in the US. But let’s not forget banh mi, a fragrant Vietnamese baguette and ascending street-food star. Find both at street-food vendors Pho Sho in London.

Regional Chinese

From Sichuan to Jiangsu, Huna and Xinjiang, the food of regional China has been carving a path for itself in Western cities, and will continue to do so in 2017. This is due to the popularisation of xiao long bao – soup dumplings – with last month seeing the opening of Drunken Dumplings in NY with its giant xiao long bao, and also the eggy Chinese flatbread hailing from Eastern China – jian bing – as seen at the Flying Pig food truck in NY.

The new high-tech design at Tossed


Tech and food influence each other with increasing pace in 2017, as health, sustainability and changing lifestyles inspire exciting innovation, from the Air BnB for food experiences Eat With and Viz Eat, to food kits and niche delivery apps, and 3D printing for food. The power of social media is not to be understated either, as Instagram and other social channels prove to be the ultimate influencer in food.

Paperless, Waiter-less + Cashless

Innovators are trimming the fat from the sales system of restaurants and retail spaces, with Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca heading towards a cash-free payment system and Tesco considering paperless receipts. Elsewhere, Tossed is experimenting with intuitive, customer-led ordering, following the lead from McDonalds.

The Development of Home Delivery

Food delivery has become serious business, with fierce competition triggering some promising developments. Delivery giant Deliveroo with Roobox and Melbourne newcomer Endulj are getting involved with pop-up kitchens for chefs to create food specifically for delivery – without getting in the way of normal restaurant service. Drones and robots will also evolve to be more prominent players in the delivery world this year – see Zume Pizza in California and their BOTW (baked on the way) pizza-oven truck complete with a robot doing the dirty work.

Changing Taste with Science

From The Roots using their music to enhance the taste of Stella Artois, to North Carolina State University scientists adding dark-chocolate antioxidant quality to milk chocolate, and a new-age “sweetener” formed from fungus that blocks bitterness – science is innovating when it comes to manipulating taste and the results are fascinating. We expect more of this to come in 2017, particularly surrounding health and sustainability.

Smart Fridges

The fridge and smart phone fuse to create the smart fridge – a much-upgraded version of the kitchen essential that orders food shopping, runs apps on its interface, has custom cooling and allows users to remotely monitor the contents of the fridge via internal cameras. Definitely the future of fridges, and perhaps the next middle-class splurge.

Wellness tonic from Moon Juice apothecary in LA by Aleksandar Taralezhkov


The demonisation of gluten, dairy, wheat and other fun ingredients may be weaning, but health still holds a firm place for food in 2017. Expect lots of colour, urging consumers to “eat with their eyes”, sugar to be depleted due to the sugar tax, pickling and ferments enjoying popularity – particularly kombucha, plants to take over from meat, and further mocktail innovation as consumers limit their booze intake.

Vegan + Veggan

Not just for hippies – vegan food is starting to get sexy, with the rise of stylish vegan restaurants like Plant Food + Wine (the first vegan restaurant to receive 4 stars in the Miami Herald) and vegan-sushi specialists Beyond Sushi in NY. We’re also experiencing the rise of veggan food (vegan, but with eggs!) rising in popularity with the likes of Farmacy restaurant in London’s Notting Hill. As The Times observed this summer, ‘the ladies who lunch are now vegan.’


Meet the Asian superfruit that’s like a chewy cross between mango and banana being used as a nutritious meat substitute. See the poached jackfruit with sweet coconut cream and sticky rice dish at Som Saa and the spicy jackfruit salad at 45 Jermyn Street, both in London.

Plant Water

Water from cactus and birch trees are on the up, with their supposedly rich natural vitamin and mineral content wooing the health set. But perhaps the biggest contender for plant water of the year is watermelon water, with influential pop star Beyonce investing in WTRMLN WTR, a company that makes cold-pressed watermelon water from unwanted lemons. Coconut better watch its back.

New Superfoods 

Full of the anti-aging ingredient zeatin, moringa might just become the new favourite superfood. Produced from the leaves of the moringa oleifera tree in parts of Latin America and Africa, there is a strong feminist narrative to the food as female farmers largely produce it – see health and beauty brand Aduna for more. In other superfood news, expect to see healthy algae powder spirulina act as a natural blue-green colour dye, as consumers increasingly reject articifical colourings.

Food Alchemy

Chicory to purify, turmeric as an anti-inflammatory, ginger to ward off cold and flu – alchemy, ayurveda and its ingredients are gaining traction in the West with those seeking to bring a tailored medicinal element to their diet. See the LA-based Moon Juice with its cosmic apothecary and Jamu Kitchen in London with its turmeric tamarind tonic as sold at Daylesform Farm, Fortnum & Mason, Whole Foods and more.

Plant Flours

Dried pea, chickpea, broad bean, green banana – plant-based alternative flours are on the up for those looking for gluten friendly, nutrient-rich flour shake-ups. Hodmedod’s range of inventive British flours will emerge as a favourite, as well as socca – a tasty chickepea flour crepe being embraced from Yotam Ottolenghi to Alain Ducasse.

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