What’s the hottest type of food these days? Anything fermented.

It may not sound particularly appetizing. But fermentation is an age-old preservation process that boosts the taste of food. You’re probably already familiar with lots of fermented foods. Like cheese, sourdough bread, and beer.

But experts say we’re on the verge of fermented fever. And a lot of manufacturers are rolling out new products to keep up with demand.

For example, Lay’s recently launched a Sriracha potato chip flavor, using the popular Thai-food sauce made from fermented chili peppers. Also, Heinz now sells balsamic vinegar flavored ketchup. And even Williams Sonoma is getting in on the trend by offering free D-I-Y fermentation classes and selling fermentation kits. 

So, why are we going crazy for fermentation? The trend is driven by the two biggest consumer groups around – Baby Boomers and Millennials. Experts say that Boomers like stronger flavors - because as we age, our taste buds get dull. So older people like stronger flavors they can actually taste. 

Meanwhile, Millennials grew up eating strongly-flavored artificial foods. 

Like extreme-flavored chips – Intense gum – and Killer soda. So they crave strong flavors. 

But are fermented foods healthy? The answer is “yes” – with a catch. The good new is, fermented foods are packed with probiotics, which maintain the good bacteria in your gut. Also, the fermenting process helps foods produce anti-inflammatory compounds, which help prevent heart disease.

But migraine sufferers, beware. The  National Headache Foundation says fermented foods often contain a chemical that triggers headaches. So beware of eating fermented foods, especially aged cheeses, beer, vermouth and soy products. Like miso soup, teriyaki sauce and soy sauce.