We, humans, have been turning perfectly ripe olives into delicious golden liquids for over 8000 years. For most of that time, all we cared about were the incredible health benefits we were reaping – and we put our best scientists and nutritionists to work to find out exactly why. Fast forward to modern times when producers like the Texas Hill Country Olive Company are making exquisite varieties of Texas olive oil right here in the USA. Who would have thought it possible?
And while these modern times come with advances in technology and easy access to information that make such new ventures possible, it sometimes feels like we are living in a continuous popularity contest. From clothes to holiday destinations, from personal care to TV shows, we turn to experts to find out what’s trending.
In the food industry, trends come in the form of ingredients, dishes, and creating various experiences through foods and drinks. Following food trends can be a great way to experiment with new ideas and even perceive food differently. More than just eating for survival, we can turn meals into moods and learn about other cultures in the process.
In 2024, we see food trends promoting healthy eating and sustainability – let’s have a look at where Texas olive oil sits in this year’s trends.
Health is at the top of the list of trends in 2024 – and we’re talking about both physical and mental health. We are steering clear of ultra-processed foods and looking for words such as “clean,” “cold-pressed,” and “fermented” on the labels of the food products we purchase. According to experts, these terms are associated with healthfulness – and rightfully so! Even the FDA is in the process of setting new labeling regulations for more transparency, helping us easily choose healthy products in the store.
This year, we are also taking a hard look at how the foods we consume impact our mental and emotional health. We will see ingredients like ashwagandha and turmeric being used more often, together with other foods and beverages that help with stress reduction, improved sleep, more positive moods, and health issues that are specific to women. Wellness products and supplements will incorporate botanicals, helping us reap all those natural medicinal properties of herbs and plants.
On the drinks front, we are going to redefine the way we hydrate through functional beverages. “Clean caffeine” (caffeine that is extracted without using harsh chemicals) is predicted to be a trend in 2024, and so are drinks that support better sleep, plus drinks with added pre- and probiotics for improved gut health.
Naturally fermented foods and cold-pressed oils are trending this year due to their many health benefits. Think kombucha, kimchi, sourdough bread, olives, and yogurt for fermented foods and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) which should ideally be cold-pressed to preserve its quality.
Sustainability as a trend in 2024 pivots around conscientious water use in food and drink production. As consumers, we will seek items that echo this ethos and require less water to grow and produce. It’s a good time to support dry farming – an agricultural practice that uses the moisture in the soil rather than irrigation – and purchase more fruit and veggies grown this way. Beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, corn, rye, and grapes are just some of the crops that are suited for dry farming. Look for these next time you go shopping!
Another sustainability trend that is predicted to become big this year is reusing water. Specifically, companies such as breweries can use pond filtration systems to obtain clean water rather than using fresh water right out of a spring to brew the beers.
In this narrative, EVOO shines as a beacon of sustainability. The cultivation of olives for oil production is generally less resource-intensive than many other crops. And, when produced locally, it reduces the carbon footprint associated with international transportation.
The plant-based revolution continues to gain momentum, and in 2024, vegan seafood is set to reach new heights. Plant-based foods and drinks have a lower environmental impact than their animal-derived counterparts and get brownie points for both health and sustainability. With overfishing impacting entire ecosystems and depleting the seas of fish, plant-based alternatives for seafood could not land on our plants sooner.
We will be seeing more burgers made from nuts and legumes in supermarkets, and plenty of recipes are already available online for those of us who like to get creative in the kitchen. As moreish and mouthwatering as they might be, burgers are not exactly a healthy staple in our diets. By using veggies and nuts instead of meat and cheese when preparing burgers, we can up the health factor without sacrificing the flavor.
When it comes to our day-to-day eating habits, an easy step towards a plant-based diet is swapping butter for EVOO. This golden liquid, packed full of nutrients, is ideal for sauteing or grilling vegetables, drizzling over salads, and even baking delicious cakes and sweets.
So, is Texas olive oil trending in 2024? Absolutely. It ticks many of the boxes when it comes to this year’s food trends, seamlessly aligning with the emphasis on health, sustainability, and plant-based alternatives. Its health benefits have been studied and proved again and again – from reducing the risk of chronic diseases to preventing strokes and heart disease. In 2022, an analysis of previous studies confirmed that consuming a teaspoon of EVOO daily can lower the risk of dying by 4%. On the health front, EVOO is definitely winning!
Olive tree orchards are more sustainable than rapeseed or sunflower crops because they don’t require replanting year after year, which means fewer machines are needed to obtain the final product, the oil. This significantly reduces the carbon footprint of EVOO, especially when it’s produced locally by companies like the Texas Hill Country Olive Co. Their orchards further help the environment by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases through the process of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Finally, Texas olive oil is a staple in any plant-based kitchen. Its flavor profile makes it a versatile replacement for animal-derived fats in any dish – be it savory or sweet – and even a welcomed addition to cocktails and coffees.