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Kombucha to Kumquats: Sodexo Names 2019’s Top Flavor & Food Trends

December 18, 2018

colorful fruitGaithersburg, MD – Dec. 18, 2018 – Say hello to ugli fruit and miso ice cream in 2019. From exotic fruits and herbs to plant-based proteins, Sodexo’s senior director of culinary innovation, Kevin Cecilio predicts the top trends based on his work with chefs throughout the industry and his curiosity to experience many different ingredients, products and cooking processes.  Cecilio oversees culinary innovation for Sodexo USA, which serves millions of meals daily.

“Many of these trends bring new flavors and culinary experiences to our guests, who would not normally find yuzu or caraway flower in their local grocery stores. Diners want to try new dishes, especially because of the variety of food they see on social media every day. They are very aware of what they are eating and where it originates. They want to try ingredients that wouldn’t have been on their radar previously,” said Cecilio.

Cecilio’s picks for 2019 food trends encompass a number of ingredients that satisfy consumers’ demands for more plant-based options. These include:

Fermented foods – Featuring interesting flavors and textures along with a number health benefits, fermented foods continue to top the list of food trends in 2019.  “Building on last year’s rise in popularity, we are now seeing the fermented food trend move beyond traditional foods into cocktails, sauces, snacks and even frozen treats,” said Cecilio.  His examples include kombucha cocktail mixers, miso dressings, hot sauces and kefir breakfast items. 

spicesSeeds – Adding a crunchy, delicious texture to everything from salads to soft cheeses, seeds are no longer what gets thrown away.  Roasted, tossed into soup, even mixed with chocolate to make a healthy dessert, Cecilio views seeds as one of the biggest trends for the coming year. “Seeds provide healthy, omega-3 oils and protein. Their popularity is on the rise as an ingredient in everything from high-end restaurants to snacks. They are a great option for people with food sensitivities or those who maintain a vegan diet,” said Cecilio.

Nuts – With the popularity of the keto and paleo diets, nuts have become more than a bar snack, especially macadamia, pecans and Brazil nuts.  High in protein and healthy fats and low in carbs, their size makes them a great food to eat on the go.

Exotic citrus –The coming year looks to bring bright citrus flavors from exotic fruits such as kumquats, pomelos, yuzu, ugli fruit, bergamot and meyer lemons.  These fruits, which were often only found in specialty stores, are becoming more accessible.  For example, yuzu is an essential ingredient in ponzu sauce, and pomelo, which can be found in drinks and desserts.

Lemon Verbena, Savory and Caraway Flower – These three herbs poised to become household names in 2019. The Savory herb has a pungent flavor and pairs well with slow cooked meats, beets, eggs, potatoes and tomatoes.  Lemon verbena provide a lemon flavor and are often used for light marinades, dressings, even chicken and fish dishes. It can even take the place of actual lemons in teas. The seeds and leaves of the white caraway flower provide a flavorful addition to a variety of foods, including bread, cheese, cakes and sausage. The leaves can even be cooked like spinach or used in salads.

At Sodexo, we believe in nourishing the body. In being the stewards of our shared natural resources and the future of our planet. In the adventure of healthy food, and the warm comforts of home. In exploring the new. In short, we believe that our work is LOVE OF FOOD.

At Sodexo, innovation means welcoming change, challenging the status quo, and adapting to the needs of our guests.  For more information about Sodexo’s “Love of Food,” visit SodexoUSA.com.


About Sodexo North America
Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 72 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. The company employs 150,000 people at 13,000 sites in all 50 U.S. states and Canada and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from small to large American businesses. Sodexo is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion and safety, while upholding the highest standards of corporate responsibility and ethical business conduct. In support of local communities across the U.S., the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $32 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger. To learn more about Sodexo, visit SodexoUSA.comSodexoInsights.com and connect with us on FacebookInstagramLinkedInTwitter and YouTube.

Contact: Laurie Goldstein, Sodexo, Inc., 301-252-4553, laurie.goldstein@sodexo.com

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