2013 promises another year of exciting new food trends. For foodies and everyday diners alike, the coming year will bring healthier menu options, place exotic menu items front and center, and rely heavily upon sustainable, locally grown products. We’ve picked out some of our favorite trends for the New Year to give you a hint of what’s to come!
Pucker Up to Sour Foods
America’s collective palate is changing and consumers are moving beyond the allure of the absurdly sweet. Sterling-Rice Group (SRG), a business strategy firm with ties to the food industry, predicts the rise of more acidic and bitter flavors, with a general shift toward sour foods. Products like fermented cherry juice and varietal vinegar are just two examples of the newest refreshments and condiments du jour.
SRG has also noted a new food industry fascination with smoked foods, though the trend isn’t limited to meats. One of the most popular new items to get “smoked” is olive oil, but the smoky flavor is also making its way into tofu, cocktails, and even water.
Choose Sustainable and Locally Sourced
In the wake of “Green” consciousness, the emphasis on sustainability and local product has grown. “Locavores” pride themselves on eating in season and using only the freshest ingredients procured from local growers. Hyper-local sourcing will see the light of day in 2013 as well; a system in which restaurants grow their product and harvest it seasonally while tailoring their menus to whatever is ripest. Restaurant gardens have been harvesting their own vegetables and herbs with some even making their own cheese with milk from local cows.
Lighten Up Your “Kids’ Meal”
The need to introduce healthy eating habits to children via well-balanced, real food will be even easier to fulfill in 2013. A decisive shift away from kids’ meals laden with fat and carbs is in the works. Last year the National Restaurant Association unveiled a health initiative that resulted in more than 25,000 American restaurant locations ditching their old kids’ menus for healthier alternatives. From Arizona to Washington, local and large chain restaurants are getting into line, featuring diverse, tasty, low-cal food options for hungry tots.
Begin with Breakfast
Research continues to reinforce the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and consumers will be paying better attention to their meal make-up when they wake up. Protein is very important for appetite control and breakfasts will become more centered on smart sources like eggs, egg whites, lean varieties of breakfast meats, and lower fat dairy products like yogurt and milk.
Go Gluten-Free in a New Way
In 2012, we saw a huge rise in gluten-free foods. But it isn’t just about avoiding gluten for health reasons anymore; it’s about variety with new foods and new experiences. As more people move away from gluten, 2013 will bring a bigger spotlight on recipes featuring non-wheat staples like buckwheat, bulgar, quinoa, and rice. And these alternative starches will be showcased in more restaurant meals as well.
Visit Your “Super” Market
The supermarket is living up to its name in a new way. 2013 promises to bring more specialty features at the grocery store, with in-store chefs preparing take-home meals and offering cooking classes. Supermarkets are also offering more help with making healthy choices by implementing nutrition scoring values and shelf labels and tags indicating healthier choices.
What popular food trends are you looking forward to? Share your comments with us!