Published on: January 9, 2013by Kate McMahon
"Kate's Take" is brought to you by Wholesome Sweeteners, Making The World a Sweeter Place.
It’s that time for MNB’s culinary crystal ball – a compilation/critique of 2013 Food Trend prognostications from across the internet.
Canning is suddenly cool again and smoked flavor (even in ice cubes) is hot. “Sexy” vegetables and “heirloom” chicken (who knew?) are in, and popcorn in several guises pops up on many lists. But still the leading trend is continued, fervent consumer demand for more flavor, farm-to-table/locally sourced products and transparency about ingredients.
“Nothing sells like pure and simple,” says Sharon Olson, executive director of the research firm Culinary Visions, which surveyed more than 3,000 consumers and interviewed dozens of food experts.
While hard-core foodies debate whether the Asian mustard green komatsuna is the new kale and if cupcakes are truly passé, we’ve perused two dozen lists and offer this roundup of less controversial predictions:
Small footprint, big impact: The authentic ethnic flavors emanating from street markets and food trucks will continue to influence diners and supermarket shoppers. Think Korean hot sauce, Peruvian ceviche, Middle Eastern spices and Japanese ramen noodles of all shapes and sizes going mainstream.
Popcorn gets Snack of the Year billing: Look for this fiber-filled snack in breakfast granolas and as a topping for salads, desserts, tacos and ice cream. Butter-and-salt coatings are replaced by white truffle oil, fennel dusting or glazed caramel.
Not just a side dish: “Vegetables will continue to move to the center of the plate, catering to vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians, foodies and nutrition conscious carnivores alike,” said David Sprinkles of the consumer research firm Packaged Facts. Expect more savory greens, beets, spigarello (a leafy green which tastes like broccoli) and Brussels sprouts in the mix.
New birds on the block: Move over Perdue and make way for heritage chicken breeds such as the Buckeye, the Java and the Jersey Giant, mostly raised by small-scale family farmers.
“Free” market principles: With food allergies and health concerns on the rise, consumers want more gluten-free and dairy-free products, natural sweeteners, salt alternatives and soy-based offerings that please the palate. Chefs and bakers say a grain called teff, a key ingredient in traditional Ethiopian flatbread, does just that. In one trend article, Jim Hiller of Michigan-based Hiller Markets told Hour Detroit: “In my stores now, I have more than 5,000 gluten-free items. It has become a way of life for many people.”
Stock up on mason jars: Canning and pickling are back in style, a natural extension of the locavore movement. And there is newfound attention paid to fermenting, and foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, for both their unusual meld of tastes and probiotic benefits.
Also on the watch list: Higher-quality wine-in-a-box options; exotic eggs, i.e. duck, goose and quail; coconut water and milk; Greek yogurt-based dressing, dips and even cheesecake; smoked meats and charcuterie, and Prosecco replacing champagne as the new celebratory drink.
The takeaway for retailers, producers and marketers is this: While cupcakes and kale may come and go, the American public’s demand for healthy foods and ingredient integrity is here to stay.
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