BOULDER — Next year, it’s all about butter, bitter flavors and brain foods. The topics are among the top 10 leading culinary trends in 2019 compiled by the Sterling-Rice Group.

"(All of these trends) have in common the desire to optimize the human experience,” said Elizabeth Moskow, creative culinary director at the Boulder-based firm. “Ask any chef how they make a recipe better, and they say, ‘I add butter.’"

Today’s consumers seek foods and beverages that enhance cognitive function, physical appearance and performance.

“Consumers have access to information all the time that I think it’s this frenzy to constantly improve,” Ms. Moskow said in an interview with Food Business News. “To me, the human experience now is getting the best out of the experience… the most health, the most flavor, the most satiety, the most bang for your buck.

“I think that’s why innovation is constantly moving at this fast pace. Everyone is trying to make everything better all the time.”

To develop its annual list of food trends, the Sterling-Rice Group taps the expertise of more than 175 experts, sociologists, chefs, nutritionists and trend spotters.

“In the past, we’d call out specific things like sardines and … Syrian food,” Ms. Moskow said. “Calling out single ingredients is less of an art form and less interesting, I think, than coming up with themes. So, this year, we came up with more thematic trends.”

View the 10 cutting-edge culinary trends in 2019.