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Dec 14, 2009

Top 10 Food Trends for 2010: The Food Channel

Not surprisingly, the economy is a big influence on food trends for 2010, leading to less time spent in restaurants and more cooking at home; more experimentation in dining; a boost in purchase of foods that are beneficial to health, and more. That’s according to Cable TV’s Food Channel, which lists as the upcoming year’s hottest Top 10 Food Trends:
  1. Keeping it Real: In a back-to-basics economy perhaps it is natural to return to basic ingredients. This isn’t about retro, or comfort food, or even cost. It’s about determining the essentials and stocking your pantry accordingly. It is about pure, simple, clean and sustainable. It's a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking, now that we have more time than money and more food knowledge and concerns. Read more
  2. Experimentation Nation: Restaurant concepts are in flux as people redefine what going “out” to eat means. Gastropubs, fusion dining, shareables, and communal tables are all being tried. While this started because of the economy it will finish because consumers will indicate what works for them and what doesn’t. New concepts around “fresh” and DIY will do well. Experimentation is the trend, so we’ll see concepts come and go. Read More
  3. More in Store: The Food Channel predicts growth in grocery stores, particularly as private labels assume prominence. Those old generics have morphed into their own brands, so that there is a blurring and less of a caste system—there is no particular glory in using a “name brand” anymore (unless you are ketchup). And that’s not the only way grocery stores are growing. They have been paying attention to the trends and are doing things such as upgrading their delis and fresh take out sections, and are even returning butchers to a place of prominence. Just as in restaurants, the stores that can help redefine the family dinner table are going to show the most gains. Read More
  4. American, the New Ethnic: This is all about flavor delivery. Immigration has come to the plate, and we are now defining a new Global Flavor Curve. Part comfort, part creativity, the latest flavors are coming from the great American melting pot. So, it’s about grandma’s food, but the recipes may be written in Japanese. American food is distinctive in its lack of identity outside of the hamburger—until, that is, you mix in our heritage. This is the year we’ll do it in a big way. The presentation of food, the flavor, and the experimentation is coming into its own in 2010. Read More
  5. Food Vetting: You are what you eat, and we are big into understanding ourselves! That’s what’s leading this trend—our constant need for assurance that we are eating the right things, that our food is safe, that we are not ingesting pesticides or anything that will someday prove harmful. If we can provide jobs, help the economy, protect animals and ensure a sustained food supply at the same time, well, that’s all the better. Call it food vetting, sourcing or whatever you want—the issue is that people are asking where their food comes from. We call it the “new luxury food” because it can be more expensive to include that traceability into delivery, but we want it anyway. Read More
  6. Mainstreaming Sustainability: Sustainability has become mainstream. Unlike a year ago, when we were somewhat afraid to use the word, now it flows trippingly off the tongue. America is just now learning how to be sustainable, and Americans are holding themselves responsible. In 2010 we’ll see people and companies becoming sustainable for authentic reasons; they are doing it to make a difference. After all, that’s what comes with understanding. Read More
  7. Food with Benefits: Call it what you will—nutritional, healthful, good-for-you—but this trend toward beneficial foods is growing at a pretty big rate. Expect food to either have nutrients added, or have the word “free” (gluten-free, allergy-free). Just last year we talked about “functional food,” which was really about adding ingredients to pump up the nutritional value. Before that, it was “fortified.” Next year we see this idea morphing into a grown-up version. Read More
  8. I Want My Umami: The “foodie” has settled into a more universal designation of someone who loves food—not a food snob. The point is experimentation and a willingness to try new things. They are the ones who find their adventure leaning over the cookstove rather than climbing the mountaintop—although a mix of both would be just fine. The new foodie is driving all kinds of adventures in flavor, too. Read More
  9. Will Trade for Food: What do we do in a bad economy when we have more time than money and skills that we still want to put to use? We barter. The Food Channel predicts that we’ll all see more of the barter system come into play now that technology can assist with the connections. Read More
  10. I, Me, Mine: It really is about you. It’s the rise of the individual. While sharing has come into its own in restaurant concepts (goodbye additional plate charge), there is a separate but equal trend toward individuality. It’s part of the reason why we are making our own cheese, smoking our own meats, and making our own specialty desserts. Expect more attention to the individual, but it’s not just about portion size—it’s also about food that reflects personality. With the decline of the economy, it’s more important than ever that you have a voice. Read More
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