2012 Food Trends
January 26, 2012
By: Chef Beau Guthrie, VP of Culinary Services
With January coming to a close I think it is time I gave my two cents as to what this coming year’s hot food trends are going to be. I read a lot of magazines, books, and blogs, and eat at new restaurants across the country so I figure I am just as qualified as anyone else to weigh in on the subject. So allow me to don my wizard’s cloak, stare into my crystal ball and tell you all what the future holds…
1. Fresh and Local – people will continue to seek out local farmers and artisans in order to support their communities, and get the freshest possible ingredients.
2. Attention to Allergies – as people learn more about food intolerances and allergies, the demand for gluten free, dairy free and other allergen free foods will continue to grow. Chefs and restaurateurs will be more willing to offer allergen free options to this growing market.
3. Ancient Grains – the term has been floating around for a few years, but has not really made its way off the bread aisle. Look for these grains to begin appearing on menus in casual dining as quinoa pilafs and spelt risottos.
4. Handheld Comfort Food – people will still be wanting the flavors of their past, but will choose options that are smaller and portable. Look for bite sized Sheppard’s pie and pot pie empanadas.
5. Reduction in “added sugar” – packaged foods may have to claim the amount of “added sugar” on the label in the very near future. This dialogue will have the public pushing for more foods containing only sugars that are naturally occurring.
6. Moroccan Food – with several cookbooks coming out this year and a few last year, expect people to experiment with Mediterranean cuisine outside of Europe.
7. Meatballs – sharable and bite sized, meatballs are a way for people to get the comforting flavors of meatloaf in a size that is less of a commitment. Flavor variations will be almost infinite.
8. Pickles – the popularity of Korean cuisine and home pickling will have people willing to experiment with pickled foods outside of the standard cucumber and sauerkraut.
9. Share Plates – people eating out will be wanting to order lots of small appetizers and sharing them around the table. This allows diners to try a lot of different flavors, and it’s less of a commitment if they are let down by one or two dishes because there were four others they really liked.
10. Social Media – now that nearly everyone has a smart phone, people will be using social media beyond figuring out where their favorite food truck is at lunch. More and more pictures will be taken of plates at restaurants of all levels, and these pictures will be shared with the world.