Cauliflower may be king over kale in 2019, but the trend toward all local and organic fresh foods will continue to reign — buoyed by vertical, urban farming.

The versatile, low-carb cruciferous vegetable, plus higher-tech versions of organic and local produce, are three trends that landed on FreshDirect’s list of the top 10 food trends for 2019, according to a news release.

The Northeast online grocer’s in-house food and wine experts curated the list.

“Next year, there will be more tech-enabled local, organic offerings developed by vertical farming leaders like AeroFarms, and many more bio-dynamic processes and growing methods,” according to the release.

The controlled methods in vertical farming mean tropical produce can be sourced locally in the wintry North, according to FreshDirect. Also, growers can produce out-of-season strains and varietals through vertical farming.

The trend toward organic is also gathering layers as it rises.

“Although organic penetration has been growing year-over-year, customers have recently evolved to become more enthusiastic about products with positive environmental impact, regardless of whether they carry formal organic certification,” according to the FreshDirect release.

While it has limitations, vertical/indoor farming could help meet the rising demands for food and dwindling natural resources, said Sarah Federman, science and technology policy fellow from the Office of the Chief Scientist in Research and Science, in an August USDA report. The department projects that the global population will exceed 9 billion by 2050, and two out of every three people in the world will live in urban areas.

“Producing fresh greens and vegetables close to these growing urban populations could help meet growing global food demands in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way by reducing distribution chains to offer lower emissions, providing higher-nutrient produce and drastically reducing water usage and runoff,” Federman said in the USDA report.

Out of all fresh produce — local, conventional or organic — cauliflower has taken a leading role as customers try to eat fewer carbohydrates and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their diets, according to the FreshDirect release.

The vegetable can be riced and treated like a grain, absorbing other flavors easily. Companies have been replacing it for traditional starches in their products, including pizza crust, rice, crackers, pretzels and even tater tots, called “Tater Nots” by FreshDirect’s recipe developers.


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