After analyzing the search and recipe-viewing behvaiors of more than 25 million home cooks on its website (and incorporating other research data), allrecipes.com has released its projections for the top food trends of the coming year. According to the report, "What American Families are Eating & Cooking: 2011 Insights and Trends," cooks will "embrace greater speed, convenience and diversity in their kitchens," and technology and digital communities will play a large role in their doing so.
Here's a summary of the report (which you can also download in its entirety):
- Going Mobile: Mobile devices and wireless computing are serving up newfound meal planning freedom. Cooks of all ages are using laptops, smartphones and tablet devices to find recipes, check competitive pricing and make grocery lists whenever and wherever inspiration strikes. In 2010, Allrecipes.com page views from mobile devices surged 340 percent; top food activities among smartphone equipped cooks were finding recipes (63 percent) and creating shopping lists (60 percent).
- Shrinking World, Expanding Kitchen: Just a few years ago ethnic cuisine typically involved a night of eating out or ordering in. In a likely effort to save money without compromising variety, cooks are increasingly taking a DIY approach toward satisfying their cravings for favorite ethnic dishes. Consumption of ethnic dishes increased 29 percent in 2010 with the fastest growing cuisines coming from South America, Japan and Korea.
- Where the Drinks Are: It can be safely said, the economy is driving consumers to drink—at home. Wine, beer, and cocktails have become part of the make-it-yourself mix. More than half of consumers surveyed are drinking more at home vs. a year ago—top motivations include cost savings, entertaining more at home, and the enjoyment of creating signature cocktails. The fastest growing spirit? Tequila.
- Farewell to Fad Diets: Dieting is so 2009. This year, healthy eating is the focus, and the road to health is paved with good eating intentions rather than bizarre diet interventions. Long gone are the days of carb-free, grapefruit only, diet fads. Now "healthy" is considered eating a well-balanced meal with lots of fruits and vegetables, and a limited amount of sugars and processed foods. According to a recent Allrecipes survey, 75 percent of cooks feel they are eating more healthfully today.
- Local Artisan Shops: Seeking quality, community and variety, everyday folk are increasingly gravitating to locally-owned specialty shops and markets for everyday food items including meat, breads and vegetables.
- Pies Take the Cake: Pies of all types—hot and cold, sweet and savory—are picking up in popularity. In 2010, slices of savory pie were as often a part of dinner as sweet pie was the star of dessert. Bucking tradition, ice cream pie was 2010's fastest growing pie type.
- Pre-made Ingredients: Cooks are taking a 'can-do' approach for getting favorite dishes on the table in record time. Mixes, cans and refrigerated dough are making supper time a snap.
- Small Kitchen Tools Rule: Since a full blown kitchen makeover is likely not in the budget, cooks are snatching up colorful silicone kitchen tools and fun kitchen gadgets to make meal prep more festive and fun.
- Countertop Appliances: Adequate storage is always a struggle, but it's clear that countertop appliances, with their ease of use, are overtaking the stove inch-by-inch.
- Men in the Kitchen: More men are cooking, and appear to be the primary cook when the family hosts a crowd. Male cooks are feeling just as comfortable in the kitchen as behind the barbeque—particularly the 20-somethings.
- Home is Where the Food is: While potluck dinners and formal sit down dinners have traditionally been the most popular forms of entertaining, the casual sit down dinner – a mash-up of the two - will be the entertaining format of choice in 2011.