You might have bugged out at the last big food trend of 2015, but 2016 is panning out to be a year filled with lip-smacking, taste bud-electrifying goodness. From switching to switchels and Hawaii taking over — sweet rolls, anyone? — to oyster insanity and the next green juice (hint: It’s savory and you love it in soup form) it’s time to get a sneak peek of what food trends are in store for 2016. For its annual roundup, Sterling-Rice Groups’s Culinary Team, led by Culinary Director Kara Nielsen, compiled SRG’s 2016 Cutting-Edge Culinary Trends through global scouting, research, tracking new product introductions at food industry trade shows, monitoring growing consumer interests and keeping close tabs on general health and wellness trends in U.S. society. Read on for next-level trailblazing food and drink trends that you’ll soon see leap from foodie conventions to supermarket aisles and your plate in 2016.

1. Oysters

Courtesy Sterling-Rice Group

The Details: Slurpy? Check. Savory? Check. Sustainable? Check. This sensual food that some even say is an aphrodisiac is a B-12 and iron-rich seafood well worth diving into. “The popularity of oysters is on the rise – especially with Millennials. With oyster bars and oyster options popping up on menus all over the U.S., download Pearl, the oyster app, to find daily oyster offerings in select cities, or set up a raw bar at your next party with a variety of oysters, vinaigrette and hot sauce toppings, good bread and butter and crisp white wine,” suggests Nielsen. Newbie to the bivalve-verse? Check out The Oysterhood, a comprehensive resource for recipes, events, expert advice and more.

Get Your Fix: The Ordinary (Charleston); The Walrus and the Carpenter (Seattle); Ironside (San Diego — go during their happy hour for half off sparkling wine and $1 oysters)

2. Mail-Order Meals

Courtesy The Purple Carrot

The Details: Whether you’re gluten-free, a vegetarian, a food blog obsessivore or what have you, there’s truly no shortage of fantastic options when it comes to choosing the right meal kit for your food personality. Mark Bittman recently made a giant headline splash when he announced he had quit the New York Times to join plant-based meal-kit company The Purple Carrot. And HelloFresh just announced it’ll be partnering with Jamie Oliver. “Take advantage of this ‘mania’ by trying a type of meal you are curious about but are hesitant to cook on your own. Experiment with Meatless Mondays, vegan dishes or your favorite flavor of restaurant meal while you can, as this variety of services won’t last forever. Look for introductory deals and coupons too,” offers Nielsen.

Get Your Fix:Green Blender (smoothie kits), PlateJoy (on-demand meal plans and grocery lists), PeachDish (Southern and seasonal meal kits)

3. Porridge 2.0


The Details: Get ready to pump up just-another-boring-porridge in the new year. “A savory breakfast porridge is a healthy and satisfying way to start your day, and something popular around the world,” says Nielsen. “Prepare a serving of a nutrient-dense grain (such as quinoa, farro, spelt). Top with your favorite roasted vegetables — spinach, mushrooms, onions — and a soft poached egg. Mix it up and enjoy! Savory porridges are great from the rice cooker too,” she offers. Oatmeal doesn’t have to be boring, people! Try this Barnsley House Porridge With Whisky for a fun and boozy twist.

Get Your Fix:42 Grams (Chicago); Faro (Brooklyn); Wanderlust Café (Los Angeles)

4. Hawaiian Influences

The Details: Brace yourself, gals. Even Spam is getting some love. “Poké [a salad traditionally composed of marinated raw tuna] and Spam are two ingredients that have long been comfort foods for Hawaiians,” explains Nielsen. “We are now spotting creative dishes featuring these island favorites on the mainland in both fast-casual and fun dining restaurants. Recreate authentic ‘ono (delicious) experiences at home with build-a-poke-bowl parties, tasty fried rice dishes featuring bits of Spam or even by making your own Spam sushi, called musubi,” she adds. Or, try these 12 recipes that will transport you to Hawaii, no plane required, to get into the spirit.

Get Your Fix: Mainland Poke Shop (new fast casual concept in Los Angeles); Motomaki (Boulder); Liho Liho Yacht Club (San Francisco)

5. Coffee Reimagined

Coffee brewing

The Details: Fear not! We’re not asking you to give up your caffeine addiction. In fact, 2016 will be the year when you see the favorite AM elixir of choice jump from mug to bottle and beyond, appearing in everything from dry-hopped coffee on nitro tap to vegan energy bars with a jolt. And file this under neat: The first ever coffee-making fridge, The GE Café Series French Door Refrigerator, is about to go to market and spotlights a hot water dispenser and K-Cup brewing system that brews coffee straight from the refrigerator’s door.We just can’t quit our love affair with coffee! And with so many different formats to try — cold brew on nitro tap, coffee sodas or even coffee mocktails, there’s something for everyone,” says Nielsen. “Until recently, the dried coffee fruit from around the bean, called cascara, has typically been discarded. However, its high levels of antioxidants and intriguing fruity flavor make cascara infusions a new, refreshing alternative to iced tea or coffee.” Can’t get enough? Check out these 12 monthly coffee subscriptions you’re sure to like a-latte.

Get Your Fix: Coffee Fruit Infusions at Slingshot Coffee Co. (Raleigh); Cold Fashioned at Cup & Bar (Mocktails in Portland, Oregon); Café Tonic at Saint Frank Coffee (Coffee sodas in San Francisco)

6. Crazy, Inventive Desserts


The Details: Next year, desserts will get a savory kick. “And with pastry makers embracing new flavor profiles and cooking techniques, desserts are getting bolder, not necessarily sweeter,” says Nielsen. “Borrow a few flavor tricks from the pros to intensify your treats, like adding miso paste to caramel or butterscotch sauce, or even brownies. Or add nutty browned butter to cookies, pie fillings or even ice cream,” she adds.

Get Your Fix: Miso Caramels, Gearharts Fine Chocolates (Charlottesville, Virginia); Miso Cherry Ice Cream, OddFellows Ice Cream (New York City); Brown Butter Ice Cream, Rich Table (San Francisco)

Which of these food and bevvy trends are your favorites? Share with us in the comments!

(Photos courtesy, Sterling-Rice Group, The Purple Carrot, GE Applicances, Splashes Restaurant)