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Sep 16, 2009

The Latest Food Trends

Pulled Pork Sandwich...Yum!

Here's a roundup of up-and-coming food trends across three categories, compiled by the Center for Culinary Development. Follow the links below to learn more.

Emerging Ingredients, Flavors & Dishes
  • Porking out gains traction…Pulled pork sandwiches, a classic Southern BBQ staple, have hit menus of all sorts in the Bay Area. Tipsy Pig serves a non-traditional pulled pork Sloppy Joe topped with aioli and cabbage slaw; Town Hall has a 12-hour smoked pork sandwich; take-out window Little Skillet offers a pulled pork po' boy with tomato and shredded lettuce. (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/16)
  • Any way you slice it…Chefs view pizza as the perfect canvas for showcasing intriguing flavor combinations and seasonal ingredients. Some notable examples of creative pizzas include: Taleggio and 3-hour Roasted Grape at La Madio, Chicago; Potato Chip Pizza (with house-made chips tossed with chile flakes and Parm) at David Burke at Bloomingdale's, N.Y.C.; Guanciale, Soft Egg and Arugula at Serious Pig, Seattle. (Restaurants & Institutions (R&I), August)
  • Greens to envy…To liven up the leafy side of the menu, some chefs are turning to greens with edgier, bitter bites for salads and braises. Some braising choices include escarole, radicchio, kale and endive. A new favorite in San Francisco is Little Gem, a hybrid lettuce that is a cross between Bibb and romaine. (R&I, August)
  • Green cuisine: London's sustainable restaurants set new culinary trend…A growing number of London restaurants are committing to sustainable practices which include sourcing sustainable fish and produce, buying fair trade goods and reducing energy consumption. Time Out magazine now bestows an award on the best sustainable restaurant. The 2008 winner was The Clerkenwell Kitchen. (Wall Street Journal, 8/7)
  • Carnivorous cocktails put meat in your glass…Led by Black Rock Spirits' Bakon Vodka, meat-flavored spirits are beginning to appear on cocktail menus around the country. Thrasher, a speakeasy in Alexandria, VA, serves a BLT cocktail featuring a huge lettuce-water ice cube, clear tomato water, bacon-infused vodka and a rim of bacon salt. A ham-and-cheese cocktail has appeared at Nacional 27 in Chicago. (Associated Press, 8/21)
  • Where to go next: New indie restaurantsFood & Wine finds that some of the country's most innovative food is coming from farmers' markets stands and food trucks. It profiles the Kogi Taco Truck in L.A., Mogriddler's in N.Y.C. and our favorite, Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago. We included Hoosier Mama in our Generational Comfort Food Culinary Trend Mapping Report, in our profile of The Return of Pie. (Food & Wine, August)
  • Bacon: A new wave of cured-pork mania…Today bacon is in everything from desserts to liquor. New additions to the craze include Maple Bacon Crunch ice cream made by The Surreal Gourmet for an Austin, TX. competition; Chocolate Oatmeal Cupcakes with Maple Bacon frosting were introduced at Yummy Stuff, a bakery in Toronto; and bacon-flavored gumballs. (The Globe & Mail, 8/27)
New Product Launches
  • Pepperidge Farm serves veggie-infused goldfish…The new Goldfish Garden Cheddar crackers contain a third of a serving of vegetables and are part of a ìstealth healthî trend growing for years in cookies, crackers, chips and fruit snacks. Research conducted by Pepperidge Farms shows that 73% of parents say their child has gone an entire day without eating a single vegetable. (Brandweek, 8/28)

  • Gelatin grows up…Three new antioxidant-rich flavors join the Jell-O brand sugar-free line: Açaí, Raspberry Goji and Wolfberry. Adding superfruit flavors makes the dessert more appealing to parents as well as adults concerned with weight management and healthful eating. (Prepared Foods, August)
  • Benefiting beverages…Brain function, mood drinks, gut health and cardiovascular benefits are just a sampling of the functional claims appearing on new beverages. Hybrid drinks, such as Cherry 7Up with Antioxidants, are another way functional benefits are being introduced to new beverage segments. However, some ingredients, like those associated with mood, have less research than behind them than others, like probiotics. (Prepared Foods, August)
  • Unwrap a little Godiva every day with the introduction of Godiva Chocolatier Gems…The new, individually wrapped chocolates are intended to make the brand more affordable and accessible. The Gems will be available in new locations such as Safeway, Publix and Wegmans. Three varieties include Solid Gems, Caramel Gems and Truffle Gems, available in milk or dark chocolate. (PR Newswire, 8/27)
Food & Beverage Industry News
  • The real cost of food…The conversation about sustainable food, humane meat production and the high environmental and human cost of cheap food hits the pages of Time. There are more choices than ever for alternative-to-conventionally grown food, but are consumers willing to pay for them and consider the hidden costs behind some low prices? (Time, 8/21)

  • Personalized foods…Thanks to advancements in nutritional systems biology, product formulators are seeking ingredients that provide select segments of the population with specific health benefits, so called lifestage foods. From supplement drinks for pregnant women to omega-3 DHA-fortified kids' food to vitamin-E-rich foods for men, lifestage foods hold promise. (Food Product Design, August)
  • Beyond packaging: Wal-Mart turns to sustainability…The mass retailer, in cooperation with a group of suppliers, universities and other industry leaders, announced plans to develop a worldwide sustainable product index to rank suppliers. The score will be on product labels, informing the consumer as well. (Food Processing, August)
  • Kids are well aware which foods are healthy, finds Technomic…A new study finds that nearly nine out of ten kids surveyed say that fresh vegetables and whole fruits are healthful. Other healthful foods identified by kids are salad, steamed veggies and eggs. The findings are part of a new Kids & Moms Consumer Trend Report designed to help restaurant operators and suppliers understand dining behavior. (PR-Inside.com, 8/5)
  • How consumers approach functional foods…Whole grains, fiber and protein are top of the list for consumers looking to improve their diets by eating more of a specific type of food, according to a new American survey by the International Food Information Council. (Food Navigator-USA, 8/13)
  • Battling inflammation through food…There is growing evidence that foods like vegetables and fish can ease an overactive immune system, according to a host of new diet books such as The Anti-Inflammation Zone by Barry Sears. These books come at a time when chronic inflammation is an emerging field in medicine. (Los Angele Times, 8/17)
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