2012 Food Trends: Some Expected, Some Quirky
Everyone eats and therefore has an opinion on food. And with the rise of social media, everyone can now share their opinion with the world. Most notable year-end reviews are top food trends published by Food magazines such as Bon Appetit and T.V. channels such as The Food Channel. My 2012 trends are a compilation based on online research as well as my observations from media coverage, food shows, farmers markets, and foodie events throughout 2011. In no particular order, here are 6 general and 4 quirky food trends for 2012. The first 5 trends on the list have been trending for some time, becoming more pronounced over time. Others, such as Foraging go in and out of trend. 6 General Food Trends for 2012 Home preserving. This trend is making a comeback. People are buying local produce or even growing them in a kitchen garden and using age old canning techniques to preserve. This gives Americans a sense of being in control of quality and contamination-prevention. Buying Local, Buying Humane: Popularity of CSAs, Farm to Table Restaurants, Getting to know the local butcher, baker and cheese maker. There is movement of back to basics, of supporting the community in a bad economy. With movies such as Food Inc. and Fresh bringing to light the hormone infused and long-distance, pesticide infused foods resulting from our food chain, people are turning to local producers that are farming the old fashioned way, so they feel in control of knowing where their food comes from. Even restaurants are showcasing fresh produce and meats from their local farmers or even better, highlighting fresh produce from own their gardens. Curiosity about non-GMO products. More Americans now want genetically modified food to be labeled as such. This stems from a desire to let nature take its course and showcasing natural food diversity. There is a beauty to having different vintages of tomatoes tasting different, much like people have come to expect of their wines. Gluten-free. 6% of Americans having some form of Gluten allergy according to WSJ Reporting, but many more self-diagnose and choose gluten-free options. With $2.6 Billion in retail sales in 2010 and with a growth rate of 30% between 2008-2010 according to Mintel, Gluten-free is still trending. Social Media Revolution. Social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube have led to the rise of the Home Chef while iPpad apps such Speakeasy for mixing cocktails have led to more party chatter. Multi-ethnic, Multi-sensory. Shows like top chef and food network and a more connected and global social phenomenon are inspiring people to experiment in their kitchen and expand their palette. Look out for textures, layered flavors, and vibrant colors in your foods. 4 Quirky Food Trends for 2012: All Parts. Perhaps it’s the economy or perhaps it’s shows like Chef Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” that has made eating ears, intestines and tails trendy. Using the whole animal was a norm in grandma’s kitchen but this trend is making its way into the mainstream. Natural and Healthy Fast Food. Chains such as LYFE Kitchen by ex-McDonald’s executives and Naked Pizza is testament to the trend that people are looking for their fast foods to be fresh and tasty as opposed to greasy and junk. Foraging. Made popular by rock star chefs such as Sao Paolo restaurant, D.O.M.’s Chef Atala who forages for ingredients in the Amazonian rainforest, foraging combines adventure and environmentalism. This trend may not take off in 2012 but definitely one to watch out for. Organic Alcohol. In addition to microbreweries popularized by the local movement, another trend is a move to herb and agave-infused cocktails as well as organic drinks (square vodka).

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