Food fanatics used to obsess over kimchi – and this year it might be teff or guanciale. Brand consultants, market analysts and chefs explain how a product gets to be cool
Every January, the British food media attempts to predict which ingredients and dishes will define the next 12 months. A new year means new food and magazine tip-lists of cool ingredients. It is traditional. This inexact science, a blend of research, intuition, wishful thinking and cribbed retailer data might, depending on your point of view, seem either harmless or ridiculous. But it has been lucrative for those selling craft gin, pulled pork, acai berries, gochujang, pastry stouts or any of 101 items that in the past decade have found themselves hailed as The Next Big Thing.
Such renewal is human nature, says Daniel Woolfson, food and drink editor at trade magazine The Grocer. “People are faddy. When Instagrammable stuff gets old, they instinctively look for the next thing.” But how? Where? Can the public create trends, in its likes and retweets? Or are we always manipulated by “big food”?