Summertime and the Living is Easy!

At least that’s what singers in Porgy and Bess have been saying since 1935. For food companies and restaurants owners, the planning for summer is complete well before the temperatures soar. But what exactly is hot this summer?


We can’t start talking about the food until we’ve mentioned Instagram. The number of people “Instagramming” their food continues to grow. Restaurateurs should be creating plates that look good in front of the cameras and making sure their lighting doesn’t make the food so dark it won’t show up. We’re all doing it and friends are liking it, so it’s going to continue.


Matcha

This green tea powder is not just for drinking anymore. Instead it’s making its way to strawberries, into ice cream and onto doughnuts. Why? Because its perceived as healthy and full of nutrients we need in our bodies.


Poke

Coming directly to your plate from the Hawaiian Islands, this colorful cubed seafood dish is perfect for a hot summer night. Since it requires no cooking it’s important to have the freshest seafood. Mix it with soy sauce and sesame oil and offer a variety of toppings so each person’s end product is uniquely theirs. Even the Pioneer Woman is joining in with a post about assembling the perfect poke bowl.


Ferment This

Whether you’re a fan of kombucha or kimchi, fermented vegetables are enhancing drink menus at restaurants or for home cooks everywhere. Apple cider, fermented or not, is added to many drinks as a cure-all for everything from acne to hangovers.


Cauliflower

Another nutrition-based trend surrounds the lowly cauliflower seen gracing menus across the United States. A great source of fiber, cauliflower is being pulsed and ground into patties for burgers and sandwiches or made into “chicken wings.” Bon Appetit recently published 38 recipes for this oft-forgotten vegetable.


Sustainable and Local

Whatever the food that’s prepared for summer eating, sustainability is a key descriptive word. Especially in the United States, consumers believe they are helping save the planet when purchasing/eating foods raised in a sustainable manner. Local goes hand-in-hand with sustainable since, again, consumers believe buying local helps save the planet (less oil/gas used for transport) and supporting local farmers is important.


Grilling

Few summer gatherings are complete without involving a grill. Whether it’s the main dish or dessert, grilling continues as a favorite way to cook summer foods. For several years, we’ve seen a plethora of new grilling accessories and tools that make it easier to grill everything from watermelon to traditional burgers and ‘smores. In fact, Cooking Light published a list of 50 grilled fruit and vegetable recipes that has some interesting combinations.


Boozy Popsicles

My friend and restaurant magazine editor Tara Fitzpatrick wants boozy popsicles to become a trend -- and they should be! Why wouldn’t it? What better way to beat the heat than by adding a fruit popsicle to a summer drink made with your favorite local craft liquor? Get creative with how you use ice this year.


Flavored Sparkling Waters

While we’re all staying hydrated in the summer sun, companies are helping out by adding flavor and fizz to commercial waters. Everyone’s getting in the water game, and many of the new products come with alternative sugars. You can expect to see everything from original mineral waters with natural flavors to flavors that go well beyond lemon or cucumber.


Chip Innovations

Chips have always been a popular snack and extend beyond potatoes, but there were some newcomers at this year’s Sweets & Snacks Expo that may surprise. Avocado chips? Mushroom chips? Will they replace the ever-present potato chip? Likely not, but these line extensions are sure to make health conscious consumers and avocado lovers happy.


Cannabis. Yep. That cannabis.

More and more states are legalizing marijuana. As this industry grows there are many companies sprouting up to take advantage of those who use. From chefs, bakers and candy makers, the growth in marijuana-related food items will only continue to grow. There’s even cannabis infused milk to put in your coffee. Last fall we toured one such establishment and were amazed at the tight regulations the company was required to follow. This isn’t Cheech and Chong’s cannabis we’re talking about folks.


What’s most interesting about the summer food trends is that everyone has their own version and their own list. These are the ones that seemed most interesting to us. What are the ones you’re seeing we forgot?


This post first appeared on food-pr.com

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Gig Harbor, Washington

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