2013 Food Trends
January 16, 2013
Health Conscious and Affordable
By: Chef Beau Guthrie, VP of Culinary Services
1. Local – Once again, Local will be a big buzz word in the food world for 2013. Whether it is buying your veggies at the local farmer’s market, or a restaurant that grows their own herbs out back, people want to feel like they are giving back to the area they live in. Buying local also cuts down on the carbon foot print of food production. The test now is figuring out how to define “local”. Some are saying it is within 100 miles, while others feel regional food is acceptable. Either way people will be eating more food from closer to home.
2. Healthy Kids Meals and Snacks – Fast Food joints are offering meals with apple slices instead of fries, juice and water instead of soda, and fruit and yogurt parfaits instead of a sugar filled sundae. As the concern about obesity rises, parents are looking for fast but still healthy ways to ward off hunger. With many ethnic foods being favorites of this new generation of parents, their children are dipping their carrots in hummus instead of ranch, and eating sushi instead of fish sticks. While ranch and fish sticks are not going anywhere, the availability of healthier options for kids is certainly on the rise.
3. Healthy Dining Out – The concern about the growing obesity rate has many people looking for healthier options when they dine out. Over the past several years the American diet has shifted from eating dinner at home to busy adults going out or grabbing take-out after work. People are realizing that eating high calorie meals a couple times a week might be ok, but every night is not working. Look to see many restaurants begin showing calorie counts on menus, and promoting vegetarian options with unique whole grains. People want delicious, flavorful food, but don’t want to feel like a sloth afterwards.
4. Chicken Breast – With the drought this summer affecting feed crops, the beef and pork industries are telling us there will be a big price hike on these proteins through half of 2014. People who are looking to save some cash and enjoy some lean protein will have to look no further than the chicken breast. Keep an eye out to see how creative chefs class up this everyday staple.
5. Kale – From baby kale in salads, so the new snacking craze, kale chips, you will find this leafy, green super food everywhere. It may be hiding under your pork tenderloin, or floating in your soup. You may even see it next to the queso dip at your friend’s Super Bowl party. Everywhere you look people will be kale crazy.
6. Game Meat – In response to the rising price of beef and pork, game meats will be the alternative for people that want to enjoy meat but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. Look for venison loin, elk burgers, and bison to be affordable and interesting alternatives to the more common proteins.
7. Home Fermentation – Making beer, wine, pickles, and vinegars are becoming a popular hobby for many foodies. As this interest in home fermentation grows, expect to see many restaurants doing the same. Chefs will be fermenting anything they can get their hands on, and diners will be all over it.
8. Snacking – As people are recovering from the slow economy, diners are still looking on ways to keep checks low, but feel like they are getting high value. Many people are sharing plates, and looking for small plates and good happy hour deals. This allows people to still go out with their friends but not break the bank. This also allows people to go out more often. Expect to see more restaurants extending happy hours and expanding their appetizer and small plate menus.
9. Greek Yogurt – Every major yogurt producer is now selling Greek yogurt, and a few of the smaller Greek yogurt makers are now dairy powerhouses. This Greek yogurt craze is not slowing down. Expect to see many products touting Greek yogurt and its health benefits on their labels. From low fat onion dip to frozen treats you will see Greek yogurt all over the grocery store.
10. Allergy Conscious – As more people are being diagnosed with allergies and intolerances to certain foods, food manufacturers are coming up with ways to give those people the foods they crave, but cannot have. Whether it is because someone cannot have gluten or they are looking to cut back, people are looking for alternatives to traditional foods for many different reasons.