SRG publishes 2017 trends

10 Oct 2016

Brand consultancy and creative agency Sterling-Rice Group has announced its Cutting Edge Culinary Trends for 2017, saying that it’s clear that consumers care more than ever about nutrition, the health of the planet, and living an authentic life.

SRG publishes 2017 trends

Brand consultancy and creative agency Sterling-Rice Group has announced its Cutting Edge Culinary Trends for 2017.

“In today’s culinary culture, it’s clear that consumers care more than ever about nutrition, the health of the planet, and living an authentic life,” said Liz Moskow, Culinary Director. “Restaurants and food companies are taking note and providing experiences that cater to this elevated awareness—and it’s about time. Ancient health-and-wellness philosophies are being called upon for inspiration, and chefs and consumers are digging deeper to rediscover traditional cooking methods. But that’s not to say consumers don’t indulge in a bit of true decadence now and again—they’re just seeking a better balance. Food has become medicine, and dining has become a necessary means to interpersonal connection. Simply put, engaging with food is a conduit to engaging with the world. The 2017 Culinary Trends are all examples of consumers yearning to deepen their understanding of themselves and how they can fi t into the world around them in a sustainable way.”

The ten trends are:


Rejoice! There’s no need to wait until after dinner to enjoy dessert! Feel free to wake, cake, and attack your day with a focused brain. A recent study by Syracuse University proves that a daily dose of chocolate improves cognitive abilities, such as memory and abstract reasoning.

Combined with findings from Tel Aviv University that report eating dessert after breakfast could help people lose weight, you can give yourself permission to partake in post-breakfast decadence. It’s science!


From street food to mango lassi smoothies, mainstays of Indian culture are spreading out from the subcontinent. Turmeric serves as a consumer conduit into the ancient practice of Ayurveda, a holistic science focused on physical and emotional balance. Consumers will learn more about their doshas, or natural constitutions, and gravitate toward foods and practices that provide balance, reduce inflammation, and improve energy and stamina.

+ Dosha Bars: three flavors corresponding to the three doshas—pitta, vata, kapha

+ Turmeric Tonic: available as tonic shots and tea, this elixir will restore balance

+ Dosha Pops: candy made as a cure=all, made from herbal tea


A new breed of butcher shops is emerging, catering to vegans and meat lovers alike. From inside the meat display case, plant-based mock versions of chicken, ham, meatballs, steak, and charcuterie beckon to be sliced, wrapped in butcher paper, and tied up with string. No longer are the vegan incarnations limited to seitan and soybean. Chickpeas, corn, peas, legumes, and fungi are being utilized to entice meat eaters to make the move to Meatless Mondays.

+ Atlas Meat Free Deli (Hollywood, FL): Chorizo Crumble, Pastrami, Italian Sausage

+ Yam Chops (Toronto, ON): Beet Burger, Coconut Bacon, Hickory BBQ Pulled Chick’n

+ The Herbivorous Butcher (Minneapolis, MN): BBQ Ribs, Pepperoni, Teriyaki Jerky


Waste not, want not! From stems to skins, items that were once considered trash are now products to treasure. Watermelon rind pickles, riced cauliflower stems, chips and burgers made from discarded juice pulp, and even vegan leather made from pineapple leaves are all adding to companies’ bottom lines.

“As much as 40% of the food grown in the U.S. will never be consumed. That’s hard for Americans to swallow and is the impetus for innovation.” Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, Food and Nutrition Strategist


Consumers continue to fish for protein-rich snacks. Recent interest in Basque cuisine and the rise of Portugal as the newest destination for culinary and global exploration will drive sardines to the forefront. High in omega-3s, protein, and umami fl avor, sardines simply served on crusty toast with lemon, garlic, and aioli make for an uncomplicated yet elegant addition to any snacking situation.

+ Stoic and Genuine (Denver, CO): Sardines with Caponata, Corguette, Lemon, Parsley

+ Saltie Girl (Boston, MA): Sardines with Nordic Rye, Crème Fraîche, Pickled Vegetables

+ Bela Lightly Smoked Sardines


Noodle lovers have already branched out from Americanized versions of mushy lo mein to embrace Thai pad see ew, Vietnamese pho, and fresh Japanese ramen. As Asian noodle traditions become American favorites, consumers are seeking more authentic experiences. Chinese lamian, or hand-pulled noodles, adds another layer of both taste and visual showmanship. Customers slurp their share while watching a master noodle-smith knead, stretch, and swing dough into strands for soup.

+ The Handpulled Noodle (New York, NY): Dapan-ji, Spicy Bone-In Chicken Stew with Ribbon Noodles

+ Kam Hong Garden (Los Angeles, CA): Lamb and Hand-Pulled Noodle Soup

+ Xian Foods (New York, NY, multiple locations): Stewed Oxtail Hand-Ripped Noodles


A category of upscale mixologist-created mocktails are being shaken and stirred for those who don’t care to drink alcohol every time they dine. Alternatives to the old standby of club soda and lime feature fresh-pressed juices, flavored teas, sipping vinegars, and macerated and muddled herbs, spices, and fruits. From non-alcoholic happy hours to standalone mocktail menus, beverages are being positioned as unique experiences that can be had without the hangover.

+ Queen Mary Tavern (Chicago, IL): Sugar Snap Pea Syrup, Ginger, Lime, Soda

+ Firefly (Washington, D.C.): Basil Shrub, Simple Syrup, Crushed Ice

+ Oak at Fourteenth (Boulder, CO): Black Tea, Lavender, Ginger, Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters


Banish the bone broth; goat get it at its source. Did you know that goats have a high ratio of interstitial collagen, aka the stuff that bone broth devotees are bonkers over? Low in calories, fat, and cholesterol, goat is poised to become the next goat-to protein. There’s a reason that 63% of the world is gaga for goat—it makes a great foundation for spicy and sour preparations, can be kosher and halal, and is sustainable to raise.

+ The Girl and the Goat (Chicago, IL): Goat Empanadas, Miso-Blue Cheese Aioli, Squash-Apple Slaw + Tail Up Goat (Washington, D.C.): Lasagna with Goat, Kale, Anchovy, Salsa Verde

+ Avalanche Cheese Company Finocchiona Goat Salami


The saying “sharing is caring” rings true with chefs, home cooks, and foodies alike who are taking advantage of the sharing economy. Smartphone apps like Eatwith and “Etsy for dinner” app Umi Kitchen connect eager eaters with communal dining experiences. And the fl eet-farming movement allows others to farm your lawn in exchange for the opportunity to sell most of the produce.

“Today, our tech-driven society may feel virtually connected, but we actually yearn for real-time interaction. Sharing a meal together is essential to our culture.” – Chef Rosemary Mark


All over the world people are relocating, some by choice, others under duress. While host countries continue to face challenges associated with helping refugee populations, one area where these different groups are finding common ground is food. By celebrating their unique cultural heritages and cuisines, refugee populations are beginning to carve out their own culinary connections with their new home countries. Look for menus that highlight cuisine with herbs and fresh flowers, orange blossoms, cardamom, fenugreek, sumac, pistachio, and pomegranates.

“As chefs, culinarians, and foodies, we exist beyond politics, in a world of expansive cuisine—an endless culinary comradeship.” – Chef Victor Matthews