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These are the food trends that will dominate restaurant menus in 2015

Get ready for mezze, or Middle Eastern appetizers.
Get ready for mezze, or Middle Eastern appetizers.
Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Spice company McCormick has put out its annual "flavor forecast" — its list of what people will want to eat in 2015. McCormick is perhaps most famous for its role in the rise of pumpkin spice-flavored everything. So you should maybe get ready to drink a lot more carrot-ginger-tinis.

McCormick gives each category a catchy name, such as "flavors worth the wait." These are the food trends they're predicting:

  1. Japanese seven-spice blend (shichimi togarashi) and shawarma (used in Middle Eastern grilling).
  2. Middle Eastern mezze (marinated olives, labneh yogurt dip, garlic hummus)
  3. Puréed things (including a ginger-carrot martini)
  4. Fancy salt blends with sour ingredients (pickled ginger salt, mango curry lime salt)
  5. Smoked spices
  6. Cookie flavors in desserts that are not cookies (gingersnap crème brûlée)
  7. Slow-cooked or braised meats
  8. "Umami flavors" — sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms

Before you roll your eyes, it's worth remembering that McCormick's taste predictions (like Pantone's Color of the Year) are something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. After it releases the flavor forecast, the company gives presentations to companies in the food industry pushing its new products. As David Sax, author of The Tastemakers, wrote for Vox:

The McCormick marketing team present its results to over a hundred major customers while the company's distributors give hundreds more presentations to smaller clients. Each talk is tailored to the customer, so one to TGI Friday's will be quite different from one at Nabisco. Sample foods are always provided, like cayenne and tart cherry brownies (2009), to suggest how McCormick's customers might integrate these new pairings in their particular products. … In many ways the McCormick Flavor Forecast is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they call something a trend and then use that prediction to sell those flavors up and down the food chain, it's like Goldman Sachs putting a buy rating on a stock they're promoting and then profiting when the stock's price inevitably goes up in reaction to that rating.