New food trends for a new year

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By Robin Young | PREVIEW Columnist

Food trends change — often quickly and sometimes drastically. It’s exciting to learn about the next big thing in the food industry. Last year, interactive foods and celebrity food collaborations were all the hype as numerous brands hopped on the bandwagon.

Whether it’s an innovative cooking method or a convenient way to enjoy bread and butter, upcoming trends can be hard to predict, but creativity is always on the rise.

Avocado oil and butter boards are on the menu for 2023, according to the Oklahoma State University Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center (FAPC), which highlights popular food trends for the upcoming year.

Andrea Graves, business planning and marketing specialist, said there is a lot of potential for new markets in the food industry. 

“Food manufacturers should pay attention to food trends for it can open up new markets for their products and gain new customers,” Graves said. “Staying informed has the potential to make them a lot of money.”

Check out the top 10 trends for 2023, according to FAPC: 

• Steam ovens: Steam ovens, also known as combination or smart ovens, are used to preserve moisture and nutrients of food without the need for oil or butter. Cooking with steam is a healthy alternative to a microwave and a great way to prepare just about anything.

• Butter boards: It’s no surprise charcuterie boards are a crowd-pleasing and top-ranked appetizer, but meats and cheeses aren’t the only popular ingredients. Butter boards are the latest trend, where a layer of softened butter is spread on a wooden tray. The layer of butter is then garnished with garlic, spices and herbs. Bread is served alongside the butter.

• Pasta alternatives: Chickpeas, lentils and pulses are becoming more popular in plant-based pasta recipes. Low-carb dishes such as spaghetti squash, zucchini pasta and sweet potato pasta are health-conscious pasta alternatives.

• Food delivery robots: Food technology has dramatically changed the food industry. Before the pandemic, food delivery robots were less popular, but with an increase in contactless food delivery demands, robots are becoming more common for delivering food across college campuses and cities. In 2023, delivery services will be challenged to adapt and provide sustainable solutions that reduce waste and pollution.

• Dates: As a rich source of protective plant compounds, dates are showing up more and more in commercial products and as a staple ingredient. Enjoy dates as a snack, on their own or find them used as a natural sweetener in the form of syrups and sauces. Food influencers are quick to share recipes of chocolate-covered or stuffed dates, and the creativity will continue in the new year.

• Adventurous dining: After cooking at home throughout the pandemic, everyone is relishing the fact that indoor restaurant dining is back. A massive rise in dining that offers an experience is expected in the coming year. Dinner theater restaurants are one experience that can spice up a meal.

• Pickle-flavored foods: When exploring a grocery store, it is common to find a variety of pickle-flavored snacks, ranging from potato chips to candy. Some of the most dill-icious pickle-flavored foods include pickle pistachios, salsa and popcorn seasoning. In 2023, more products are predicted to hit the shelves for pickle lovers everywhere.

• Meal subscriptions: While the food delivery trends are constantly changing, food delivery subscription services are one trend that will keep growing for years to come. Delivery subscriptions are popular because they offer convenience for busy families and provide a variety of choices with hundreds of meal options. In a competitive market, prices are becoming more affordable.

• Avocado oil: The nutty flavor and buttery texture of avocado oil has made it a staple in pantries for years. As an alternative to olive oil, avocado oil is finally going mainstream in packaged products across the board. In 2023, this household staple is making its way into salad dressings, mayo, chips and more.

• Dirty soda: Carbonated drinks have become a craze on social media and are predicted to fizz into the new year. The trend originates in Utah and consists of soda, cream and flavored syrup or some type of sweetener. There are endless ways to customize this sweet drink to your liking and shops specializing in dirty soda are popping up in states like Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona.

Upcoming classes

Jan. 23, 2023 — Cottage foods online certification, 1 to 5 p.m.

Jan. 31, 2023 (six weeks) — Colorado Building Farmers online class. This class will help you build a business plan.

Feb. 8, 2023 (six weeks) — Seed to Supper. A growers guide to low-cost vegetable gardening in Archuleta County, 6-8 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association conference room.

March 2, 2023 — Livestock and Forage Growers Online Update. A Western Slope outlook.

March 18, 2023 — Seed Class and Swap, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Look for upcoming classes on the Colorado State University (CSU) Extension — Archuleta County Facebook page.

CPR and first aid classes

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office, generally on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. The cost for the classes is $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for CPR, first aid or recertification. Call the Extension office at (970) 246-5931 to register.

Visit online

Visit us on the Web at https://archuleta.extension.colostate.edu/ or like us on Facebook and get more information: https://www.facebook.com/CSUARCHCTY and https://www.facebook.com/ArchuletaCounty4H.