What’s Next?: a year in food trends

food trends

food trendsLike fashion and design, the food world is fickle and filled with fads. The biggest trend of 2010 (one much of the food world hopes will quickly fizzle into a short-lived fad) was the food truck obsession. Although its popularity still seems to be going strong as we come crashing into the second month of the new year, restaurant consultants Baum and Whiteman believe that by the end of 2011, there may very well be more supply than demand in this market. We’ve also noticed that stricter city regulations have started to slow the growth of restaurant rookies into the four-wheeled food world. But more and more big name players are slapping their names on trucks as time goes on.

It looks as though gardens will play a larger role in Americans’ dining out experience. Restaurants are adding rooftop gardens right and left, leasing farming space and chefs are turning their own yards into edible paradises in order to keep their customers fed with freshness. And for those pressed for space, time, or lacking in green thumbs, farmers’ markets will become even more important suppliers to both our restaurants and our home tables.

Cupcakes are finally on the decline and it is believed that they will be replaced by pies, whoopie pies and gourmet popsicles.

At the 2011 Winter Fancy Food Show, several trends were clear. Pork products are the kings of meat in both savory and sweet packaged foods. (In one afternoon at the show I sampled a pork pie, prosciutto pizza, bacon-flavored chocolate, bacon salt and maple bacon marshmallows and lollipops.) The pork belly, craze, however, is predicted to fall out of fashion any day now.

Chocolate continues to be one of America’s favorite food products. Bittersweet and super dark chocolates reign supreme while cocoa nibs continue to rise in popularity. But if you aren’t eating your chocolate sprinkled with salt, you are so 2010.

Other Fancy Food trends included spicy foods, both savory and sweet, packaged health foods, heirloom products like black garlic and unusual rice and grains, honey (including honeycomb and bee pollen) and, in the snack food category, popcorn is the look of 2011.

research by lashanda chadwick

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