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Food & Hunger

2017 Food Trends: What You'll Be Eating & Drinking Next Year

Tree water is the new coconut water, and purple foods are taking over, according to Whole Foods market predictions for food trends for 2017.

With 7 billion people shopping and shifting diets constantly, all these changes take a toll on the planet for better or worse.

Here is a look at five food trends for the coming year and what they could mean for the people who grow them and places they are grown.

1. Tree Water

Coconut water, packed with electrolytes and potassium, initiated a growing trend toward naturally derived beverages in recent years. In small island countries like Vanuatu, coconut production accounts for 50% of national income, and 1.5% in the Philippines.

But now, there’s maple water, birch water, and watermelon coldpressed water available at mass scale. The benefit of this trend is that it diversifies consumption from the spike 2014 and onward saw in coconut water, and left the Philippines asking for help streamlining production. Since Canada is responsible for 83% of the world’s maple production, greenhouse gas emissions will also be less if shipped to the US.

2. Purple Produce

Purple potatoes, cauliflower, corn, asparagus, and ube are taking over Instagram. These colorful hot food trends for 2017 again bring diversity to a previously pale plate in the vegetable world. In relation to the mass scales of “regular cauliflower” these food open up more opportunities for small farmers to sell crops in an increasingly competitive global market.

3. Seaweed

Presenting an option for healthier snacking — demand for seaweed has grown by 15% in the past year and is expected to continue as a popular food trend into 2017. Currently, China, Indonesia, Korea, and the Philippines produce the majority of the world’s seaweed. Some organizations have raised concern that seaweed production could fall into the unsustainable traps that produce like bananas, and shrimp have seen exploiting workers to meet high production demands.

On the other hand, seaweed production acts as an alternative livelihood for fishermen burdened by the perils of overfishing. It can also help filter marine environments, and has provided economic opportunities for women in Tanzania, according to a study from the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment, and Health.

4. Byproduct Foods

Awareness around food waste is growing. One way producers are taking action is utilizing the unwanted wastes to create new edibles. For example, the acid whey leaves after making yogurt is too toxic to dump into the environment. For every ounce of creamy Greek yogurt, three to four ounces of whey is leftover.

Two Whole Food sold brands, White Moustache and Atlanta Fresh, are taking leftover whey from yogurt production to make probiotic drinks. Consuming food waste just got more delicious, nutritious, and trendy. Now, if they’d only share their recipe with Chobani the world could see a progressive step in an industry worth nearly $4 billion dollars.

5. Meat-like creations

2016 saw the rise of the impossible, or quite literally, the Impossible Burger when it comes to meat alternatives. New York’s latest food craze over the summer was a burger that bleeds. The burger was backed by $180 million from Silicon Valley, and created with molecular technology that replicates the taste of meat. And 2017 will only see meat-like products expand on a more available scale. Beyond Meats is one product already available in select stores. The fake meat company is even supported by chicken conglomerate Tyson Foods. This is great news in a world where animal agriculture is one of the leading drivers of climate change.