2011 Trend List
Several global trends continue to influence food choices and eating behaviors. Each has many facets and continues to evolve and shape product development, meal patterns and shopping:
The following trends are more tactical and less strategic but none the less will have many outlets and variations in the coming year:
Gluten-free - Minimal interest in gluten-free foods and cooking has been present for more than a decade. But in the past couple years activity in this area and increased dramatically. Both grocery and bakery products are becoming readily available through mainstream channels. Cookbooks abound, many with celebrity authors and or endorsements. Restaurants are including gluten-free menu options easily as often as they offer vegetarian choices.
Mad Men/”mid-century” entertaining – “Mid century” had become the chic new term for stuff from the 1950’s and 60’s weather food, fashion or lifestyle in general. Son Draper’s influence has expanded beyons narrow ties and midday Scotch. Cocktail party entertaining has become and excuse for more than simply martinis and highballs. Dust off those recipes for rumaki, cheese balls and sweet and sour meatballs. They’re back. Or, for those in the hinterland were they never disappeared, these favorites are cool again.
Street food/food trucks – Both street food and food trucks satisfy several of today’s culinary desires. For the patron the food is fast, accessible, inexpensive and often interesting and adventurous. For the proprietor, the business offers the opportunity for creativity, mobility and less financial investment than brick and mortar eateries. These trucks are introducing large groups of people to new ethnic flavors, exciting flavor combinations that are a mix of many cultures and new sass to American iconic foods. The Gen Y’s are loving this fresh approach to fast food.
Integrated plates – What used to be the triangle trinity of meat, starch, and vegetable on the dinner plate has come together. Whether a result of a time crunched cook or simply a form of downsizing, the meal plate has a single focus. But the dish doesn’t always have to be the dreaded casserole, one-pot recipe, or skillet meal. Today is can be as elegant as chicken cacciatore served on a bed of sautéed green beans or pork medallions on parmesan toast rounds smothered in grilled peppers.
Humble gourmets - What a great way to refer to the old fashioned mom-and-pop operations! Humble gourmets don’t have to be a couple of old folks in a rundown grimy store front. Today these local and neighborhood businesses that specialize in classic favorites like great barbecue, terrific fried chicken, outstanding breakfast or popular regional favorites are just as likely to be owned and run by thirty-something college graduates who love great food and yearn for a nontraditional lifestyle.
Beer, craft distillers, niche wine –Beer is showing up with all types of foods. 33% of all beer drinkers aged 21 and up are drinking less imported beer because they’re drinking more domestic craft beer instead (Mintel). Whether for snob appeal or health effect, wine lovers continue to explore and imbibe lastest vinters from around the world. Along with the changes in beer and wine tastes has come the interest in specialized distilled spirits. Regional vodka, special bourbons,
Flash trends - these are the foods that pop up from someone's tweets, blogs, Facebook or even some cable or reality show. An example would be Spaghetti Tacos which started as a gag on the iCarly TV series and went viral with the K-thru-middle school age group. Beware of these trends. More often than not they lack any substance for sustainability much less profit. However if you are the marketer of an ingredient or component of a flash trend, it could be like winning the lottery.
Ethnic ingredients, dishes and flavor combinations continue to be adapted by a broad range of food venues. The following are some of the items that are making significant inroads on American palates.
Enough already – don’t need to see more of these in 2011!