By Kaley Volkmann
This April, the National Peanut Board (NPB) hosted the Next Gen Food Summit at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at COPIA in Napa, California. The event brings together professional chefs, food service directors, consumer package goods brands, media contributors and dietitians to discuss the tastes of the next generation and how to reach this growing, evolving audience.
The event featured a live cooking demonstration by the winner of Fox’s “Next Level Chef” Pyet DeSpain, along with presentations on Top Culinary Trends of 2023; Trending Tastes of Gen Z; Creating Engaging Digital Content; Advocating for Access; and Evolutions in Peanut Farming.
Attendees also participated in an interactive market basket challenge. They were given limited ingredients and challenged to create a dish inspired by the culinary trends discussed while highlighting peanuts in unique, delicious ways.
From presentations to menu items, peanuts were the star of the show. Here are four ways to incorporate peanuts into current culinary trends.
1. The Brown Butter and Peanuts Duo
According to Flavor & The Menu’s 2023 Top Trends brown butter is having a moment. Brown butter and peanuts make a tasty duo, creating a nutty, roasted sauce packed with umami that can easily transform any dish.
2. Elevate Meat Sticks with Peanuts
Skewered meats are seen as approachable, casual and trendy. Meat sticks are a familiar vehicle perfect for exploring new techniques, textures and pairings. Chef Godwin Ihentuge of Yum Village is known for pairing maafe peanut stew, a staple in West African cuisine, with suya beef skewers.
3. Globalize With Peanuts
When marketing to Gen Z, globalization is key. Peanuts play a vital role in many cultures. At the Next Gen Food Summit, Chef Pyet demonstrated her salsa de cacahuate, made of toasted peanuts, roasted ancho chiles, garlic and onions blended in a molcajete to draw out the natural flavors.
4. Peanuts Take on Recessioncore
The economic downshift is on the minds of many, especially Gen Z. From budget-friendly food hacks to splurging occasionally, there’s a place to insert peanuts across the board.