The food scene has evolved massively over the last couple of years in Ireland. Who would have thought as we entered the recession 7 years ago that we'd end up with this many good restaurants, such awesome cafes and a better pub experience. Being frugal has forced food and drink entrepreneurs to become more creative and the result is a much better experience for the consumer. Not wanting to rest on our laurels I wanted to share some of the big things that are coming down the track in 2015 and that we'll all end up eating and drinking here over the course of the next year. Exciting times...
1. Protein Drinks
We have the rotten stuff that the gym people drink but that is the very start of what is to come. At the head of the curve are Coca Cola who are rolling out a new milk that will have 30% more protein than regular milk and way less sugar than normal. Protein has been seen as a bit of a necessary evil up until now but the last 2 years for food and drinks companies has all been about huge R&D into protein products that will actually taste good and which we will lap up. Lots of Irish products about to hit the market too.
2. More Irish Craft Spirits
Although we think Irish whiskey is huge it is in fact dwarfed by our friends over in Scotland who have 10 times more market share than us with their whiskey. We are seeing a re-birth of distilling here led by the huge success of Jameson in the USA (5 million cases a year sold there). Watch out for the likes of Teeling, Dingle Gin and other craft producers continuing to explode in popularity both here and internationally.
Chefs probably seem like super creative animals but they do like to follow large master trends and one of the major ones for 2015 will be fermentation. Foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and kombucha will all have a big part to play as chefs try to outdo each other by fermenting their own unique creations. It might be a new trend for many of us but as a food preparation technique it has been around for thousands of years.
4. Insect Protein Bars
This is probably the most worrying trend for many of us who are scared of all sorts of insects. The simple truth is that feeding the 7 billion people on this planet is no easy task and we need to find new food sources. There are plenty of insects already out there and being hugely rich in protein you'll be eating them soon. Watch out for them in exercise bars.
5. Iced Coffee With And Without Alcohol
We might not have an especially warm climate but iced coffee will be huge in Spring/Summer 2015. Already big in the USA where people have it on the go, from cartons or even in restaurants with a splash of liquor to finish off a meal. Expect to drink as much cold coffee in the summer as you do hot. It actually makes sense when you think about it.
6. Return To The Butcher
2014 was very the year of craft. Beer took all the headlines but the whole movement has been spreading to all sorts of industries. There are already a few butchers out there doing great work and this will only increase in 2015. People want a bit more of a story behind the food they eat as they move away from the likes of Tesco and back to having a conversation with somebody behind a counter (check out James Whelan for somebody doing it well) who is an expert on what they sell. More expensive but a welcome return to a craft we were starting to lose on the main streets of this country.
7. Coconut Everything
The consumer is absolutely health mad at the moment and coconut is the trend that is picking up the most steam. It could be coconut oil for cooking, coconut water after the gym, coconut flour for baking or even coconut milk in your coffee. Somebody, somewhere decided that coconuts were the next big health trend so expect to see coconut products everywhere.