Last Updated on January 8, 2024
ButcherBox Reveals Inaugural Home Cooking Trends Report
As we move into a new year, it’s time to leave the trendy food moments of 2023 in the past (goodbye cottage cheese and girl dinners) and embrace what’s on the table for 2024.
Overall, sustainability, traceability and transparency will continue to be the most crucial demands consumers put on the brands they interact with, from food and clothing to beauty and home décor. As cooking at home continues to rise due to health and cost benefits, consumers will demand more from the products they are bringing into their kitchen. In fact, in ButcherBox’s most recent Kitchen Confidence Report, three-quarters of respondents (74 percent) believe their confidence is boosted in the kitchen because of how and where they source their food.
In addition to these overarching trends, Ashley Lonsdale, ButcherBox’s chef-in-residence, has a her finger on the pulse of what food trends she predicts will show up on kitchen tables in the year to come.
While the Chinese Lunar calendar turns its page to the year of the Dragon, we are predicting 2024 will be the year of the Pig. As animal welfare regulations have gained traction in states like California and Massachusetts in an effort to protect the welfare of breeding pigs, more consumers will begin to understand and seek out humanely raised pork products. Lonsdale believes this is the ultimate moment for pork. On top of that, the flavor of humanely raised pork and versatility of the protein will drive further exploration of it, leading consumers to find cuts of pork that are most approachable to them.
We saw home chefs embrace bread baking during the pandemic, and in 2024 they will be getting more comfortable tackling another daunting category: seafood. “Cooking fish and other seafood at home can be extremely simple and offers incredible variety for your repertoire once you’re comfortable,” offered Lonsdale. “I also expect the increased traceability in high-quality seafood to bring higher confidence to the market, which in turn encourages people to explore their options.”
Vegetable trends will be a distinct mix of old and new in 2024, and Lonsdale sees the spotlight shining on a new, hot vegetable: garleek. This enticing cross between garlic and leek, brought to us by responsible seed breeding, will become more mainstream as consumers are keen to support these types of change-making initiatives. Plus, who doesn’t want to eat a garlic crossed with a leek? Seed breeding (think Row 7) offers endless options and is a sustainable way to pair the natural resources we already have with cutting edge technology.
In addition to garleek, Lonsdale also sees veggies like supergreen seaweed and old heirlooms like Radicchio having a moment in the new year. “Celebrating the beautiful colors and varietals of radicchio’s peppery and pungent flavor makes it a fun alternative to lettuce,” she says.
This year, the starch category will be another example of history repeating – ancient history, to be exact. Ancient grains such as Sorghum, Spelt and Amaranth will have a well-deserved moment. “While each can easily be prepared as a classic steamed pilaf or a new add-in for a favorite salad, ancient grains are not only nutritious, but also multipurpose, serving as ideal cover crops for farmers to increases their soil’s fertility and prevent erosion,” says Lonsdale.
Lonsdale also expects to see more household use of masa harina, an age-old ingredient in Latin American cooking. The endlessly versatile ingredient is not just for tortillas — regional specialties like tlayudas, gorditas, tetelas, tamales, and arepas are all worthy alternatives. Her favorite? Masienda.
Back to basting, and other basics
Lonsdale expects a return to more classic techniques, like basting steak with thyme or garlic-infused butter and rolling roulades. “They’re classics for a reason, they’re delicious. And while they’ve been considered ‘old-fashioned’ for many years, I think we’ll be seeing a resurgence for them in home cooking,” she says.
Fast food, but at home
Ready-to-eat or heat-and-serve options will reach new, high-quality heights as we head into 2024. More frozen options are becoming available, and Lonsdale believes that to be exciting for folks who don’t have a ton of time but still want to eat well. She suggests checking ingredient statements for familiar, yet clean ingredients to get the most out of your meal, and your time. Additionally, thanks to the likes of social media, recreating your own fast-food items at home will continue on in the year ahead.
No set of food predictions would be complete without the finishing touch: beverages. Those who imbibe will explore “sneaky” tiki vibes, bringing a new and simplified life to the fun, but often elaborate, cocktails brought to life in the 1930s. Think: fresh juices and craft liquors shaken (not stirred) as five ingredients instead of ten. Kitschy cup optional.
Alternatively, more people will be enjoying non-alcoholic beers, wines and canned mocktails, even if they do sometimes choose the real thing. With more options readily available and the realization that the taste of a cocktail doesn’t need to result in a headache, “N-A” options will be less taboo, next year.
Lonsdale is eager and excited to see these trends trickle down in realistic, attainable ways for consumers to create more restaurant-quality moments at home. She notes, “home chefs, no matter how experienced, have an enormous opportunity to learn about and make an impact on sustainability in 2024, one recipe at a time.”