Jessica Ellis
January 02, 2016 7:23 am

If you like to be on-trend with your culinary adventures, we’ve definitely to the scoop for you. Not only is the beginning of the new year a time for reflection and renewal, it’s also when most chefs and restaurant industry personnel shape the coming year in food and beverages. For 2016, prepare for things to get hot — very hot!

Though food trend predictions can vary quite a bit, many analysts agree that 2016 might be the year that spicy goes global. Michael Whiteman of Baum and Whiteman insists that spicy foods and sauces are going to have a banner year. “It’s a contest to see who can blister your palette more,” he told Marketplace. This falls right in line with the predictions of Chris Koetke of Kendall College, who told Eater he expects to see sauces — spicy and otherwise — come back in a big way this year. The National Restaurant Association also conducted a survey that shows that ethnic sauces and spices, like harissa, have a big year ahead.

Moving away from condiments and flavoring, another trend you can expect to see a lot of in 2016 is minimally processed, low-sugar foods. Darren Seifer, an analyst at the research group NPD, told Marketplace “Just think of the word, ‘No.’ No preservatives, no additives, no growth hormones.” An emphasis on natural, local, and organic foods continues to permeate the industry; the National Restaurant Association survey also showed that 77% of respondents said hyper-localism (like the use of restaurant gardens and on-site breweries) will be a major trend in 2016.

The emphasis on natural preparations could be tied in to another spiking trend: The same survey said that the hottest form of food preparation is pickling. Dousing veggies in a vinegar-spice bath is a great way for restaurants and chefs to experiment with in-house preparations while avoiding the preservatives and chemicals that come with processed pickled products.

Of course, if you’re going in with the new, you have to go out with the old, and some beloved recent food trends seem to be waving farewell in 2015. The National Restaurant Association survey showed that insects, culinary foam and froth, and (gasp!) bacon/chocolate items are all considered “yesterday’s news” by many chefs. Take heart, though, bacon lovers, between all the pickling, spicing, local sourcing, and lack of additives, it sounds like we’re in for one flavorful year!

(Image via Shutterstock.)

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