June 15, 2015
It was bound to happen. For several years there’s been a rise in the preference of bold and spicy flavors over mild and newfound interest in ‘ancient’ grains and other ‘ancient’ cooking methods. Couple that with the growing trend of healthful snacking and eating and it’s not surprise that fermented foods are taking center stage for a lot of consumers. As just one example, according to a new Packaged Facts report about the sale and consumption of fermented foods, Kimchi’s place on menus has tripled since 2010.
The culinary act of fermentation is nothing new. It’s been used for thousands of years to help preserve foods. The act of fermentation is a minor chemistry miracle. Natural bacteria feeds on the sugars present in the food items and in the process the food is preserved. The process also creates numerous probiotic strains and that’s caught the attention of many consumers.
Whether it’s someone sipping on Kombucha or digging into a side of Sauerkraut, many believe that the probiotics found in these fermented foods can help balance gut bacteria and help ease digestion issues. Beyond having a healthy belly, some scientists argue that healthy and flourishing gut bacteria (also known as flora) might impact one’s chances of developing an autoimmune disorder like Crohn’s and may be responsible, or at least partly responsible, for mental illnesses such as anxiety and schizophrenia.
Is it the health benefits that are driving this trend? Is it the bolder taste of these fermented products that have so many flocking to them? Is it something else entirely? Either way, fermented foods are gaining a foothold amongst American consumers like never before.