This is a post sponsored by Loblaws. But 100% honest.
I ate crickets. Billed as the next new protein, they were crunchy little bits sitting on top of a lovely paella. Bugs are an environmentally-friendly protein that could make us, and our world a little healthier. If you want to taste the #TasteTheNewNext, you can try them out.
I ate them at Loblaws, the nation’s largest grocery store chain. The food industry is always looking for new trends and items like bugs, sustainable seafood and turmeric are top of the list. I’m on the Loblaws Food Council that is discussing those new trends and what will be on store shelves, and on our plates, for the next year.
But really, I’m just looking at ways of making dinner a little easier.
Those of us in the head-down tunnel of just getting dinner on the table may be impervious to the trends. But some of those trends are very helpful to the harried home cook. Loblaws has identified a handful of trends that are going to influence how we eat and shop over the next year.
For instance, stores are doing better at connecting with shoppers online. That’s a trend that can help you out of a time-squeeze panic. I have written about my love affair with Loblaws Click & Collect before. And almost two years later it just keeps getting better. Click & Collect is Loblaws’ online service. You shop online, choose a 2-hour window to pick it up and they pack it for you. You never get out of your car. They will even take your reusable bins/bags out of the car and put your groceries in them and then return them to your car. The whole time you are listening to music, enjoying your heated seat and cruising Facebook on your phone.
I just did a junk food order last week for my daughter’s birthday. Not only did I not want to be seen carting all that stuff around, but why bother? I also order while I’m up north to pick up on the way home. And sometimes, I order and get my husband to pick it up on his way home. Then it is like delivery (but the tip is much higher).
Can you guess what the number one item that gets ordered on Click & Collect is? Bananas. I was worried about ordering fruit and vegetables online, but the staff do a very good job choosing and people keep going back for more. Personally, I need to get better at visualizing how much 100 grams of green beans is.
And it all hooks up with your PC Points account. I currently have 100 dollars to redeem at my local Loblaws, thanks to my points. (If you aren’t a member. Why not?) Eventually, I hope that grocery stores’ sites will be a hub to get inspired and make meal planning and shopping much easier.
Another trend that I am big proponent of is the use of global flavours in the home kitchen. If you follow my 6 O’Clock Challenge column in the Globe and Mail, you will know that we use flavours from around the world. Loblaws calls this The New Canadian Cuisine. I call it dinner.
Loblaws has made it a lot easier for me to kick up my dishes a notch, with the PC black label spice blends. I am a big fan of both the Za’atar and Togarashi blends, which I use weekly.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern blend that often combines thyme, sesame and sumac. It is used in Mediterranean food and is good as a finisher on hummus, salads, chicken and roasted vegetables. The Schichimi Togarashi spice is a Japanese combination of red chili flakes, Szechuan peppers, dried orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, nori flakes and wasabi powder. It has a little bit of a kick to it and I love it on any kind of sweet roasted vegetable such as butternut squash as well as chicken wings.
If you have been searching out turmeric, then you are on trend as well. There are other trends that will continue to seep into your home such as searching out sustainable options, using healthy whole food ingredients and wasting less of the foods we use.. Actually, the word trend sort of undercuts those ideas. Choosing healthier, less-processed, less-damaging food should not be a trend. I would hate to see those go out of fashion.
I may not be ready to embrace bugs in my food but if you are sprinkling cricket powder into your green smoothies, then you may be the trendiest person out there!
Loblaws Inc. has provided promotional consideration, all product(s) and product information in exchange for my comments or review.