Food in 2015: Get ready to eat crickets
The food industry is constantly reeling from one trend to the next. In the 1990s, milk was the defender of bones and the nectar of athletes. By the 2010s, it was a scourge. It was the opposite story for fat—once universally maligned, many experts now doubt the link between burgers and heart disease. So what will be hot this year? It depends on your tastes. Fortune put together a list of hot items for different types of discerning palates in the coming year. Say hello to cricket tacos.
FOR THE FOODIE
Culinary mashups are all the rage. (Witness the success of the doughnut-croissant combo, the cronut.) Now a 22-year-old UCLA student has created the king of all mashups: the ramen doughnut, or the Ramnut, the love child of the ramen burger bun (it’s a thing) and the cronut. Expect long lines.
FOR THE ENVIRONMENTALIST
Insects are already part of the diets of 2 billion people. But to feed the expected 9 billion–strong global population in 2050, they might soon be part of yours too. Insects emit fewer greenhouse gases than cattle and require far less feed. Startups are already using crickets in flour and protein bars.
FOR THE ASCETIC
Soylent, introduced this year, aims to deliver all your nutritional requirements in a drink. Part of a trend toward convenience for those with no time for food, Soylent will take off with the workaholic set. If you can get past the taste (and initial havoc on your intestines), you’ll never have to eat real food again.
FOR THE HEALTH NUT
For almost a decade, the health world has been demonizing pasta. Research firm Mintel says gluten-free everything is now an $8.8 billion market, with 22% consumer adoption. The kicker: Only about 1% of the population actually needs to avoid the grain protein. Increasingly experts are warning against the diet for the other 99%, saying it can strip out good sources of nutrition. Expect a gluten comeback in 2015. Today, Mintel says 44% of people think gluten-free is a fad—up from 33% last year. Pasta lovers, rejoice.
Want a healthy snack for those in sunny climes? Stick with ice cream. While frozen yogurt’s growth has exploded since TCBY brought the soft-serve stuff to malls near you in the 1990s, today we’re in the middle of a froyo bubble—and it could begin to deflate next year. A growing aversion to high-sugar foods is partly to blame. Though the dessert’s popularity (and revenue) has been trending way up in recent years, according to IBISWorld research, froyo sales in the U.S. will soon begin to grow more slowly, and by as early as 2019 begin to shrink.
Fortune’s Crystal Ball predictions for 2015: