Food Channel Trends in Action

19-Jun-2010 by

Surf the Web, pick up any newspaper, or stroll down to your local newsstand and you will see that food culture is all around us. The Food Channel constantly tracks food trends, and we have rolled up the Top 10 for 2010, based on research in conjunction with CultureWaves® and the International Food Futurists. Read on for the inside scoop:

Keeping it Real
In a back-to-basics economy it seems natural to return to basic ingredients. This isn’t about going retro, eating comfort foods, or cost savings. It’s about determining the essentials and stocking your pantry accordingly. It is about pure, simple and sustainable ingredients. It is a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking, now that we have more time than money and more food knowledge and concerns.
For evidence read:
Jamie Oliver to Spend Own Millions to Improve UK School Meals
Return of the Potluck
Home Butchery Carving a New Niche

Experimentation Nation
You're in New York City and have a hankering for something gooey and sweet. Where to go? Check out one of the novelty dessert trucks driving around Manhattan. 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.

For evidence read:

Chains Think Small: Small Bites, Small Price
Belly Up to the Beer Dessert Bar

More in Store
We predict growth in grocery stores 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). We’re all looking for meal solutions for dinner that take us beyond fast food to good food fast. In fact, we’ll go so far as to say that grocery stores will be stealing share from take out when they offer good quality, pre-prepped convenience.

For evidence read:
Grocery Store Brands Come Out on Top
Aldi Considers Opening Larger, Modern Store
Starbucks Mounts Major Grocery Push

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.

For evidence read:
More Ethnic Foods in American Diets
Chocolate Meets Peppers for Cinco de Mayo

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.

For evidence read:
From Field to Plate
Consumers' Attitudes Evolve on 'Ethically Produced' Foods

Mainstreaming Sustainability
We think people have mainstreamed sustainability. Unlike a year ago, when we were somewhat afraid to use the word, now it flows trippingly off the tongue. In 2010 we are seeing people and companies becoming sustainable for authentic reasons; they are doing it to make a difference, and that's what comes with understanding.

For evidence read:
Going Green While Staying Stylish
Salad on Your Doorstep
Silver Diner Brings Food From the Farm to the Table

Food with Benefits
Call it what you will—nutritional, healthful, good for you—but this trend toward beneficial foods is growing a fast clip. Expect foods to continue to have nutrients added or be labeled "free" (gluten-free, allergy-free).

For evidence read:
Smoothies Healthy for Consumers
Pepsico Develops Designer Salt to Reduce Sodium in Chips and other Products

I Want My Umami
The "foodie" has settled into a more universal designation of someone who loves food—not a food snob. They are just as likely to want a PB&J as they are to try the latest soft crab shell sushi. The point is experimentation and a willingness to try new things. The new foodie is driving all kinds of adventures in flavor, too.

For evidence read:
Is Grilled Cheese Trendy?
5 Disgusting Delicacies

Will Trade for Food
We've called it "the rental economy" and just plain ol' bartering. In an era when you can rent a brand-name purse for a special event, we want to know how we can apply that same concept to consumables. We predict that we'll see more of a barter system as technology can assist with the connections.

No Need to Beg Borrow or Steal When You Can Barter
Tattoos for Tacos

I, Me, Mine
It really is all about you. It's the rise of the individual. While sharing has come into its own with 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. With the decline in the economy, it's more important than ever that you have a voice.

For evidence read:
Pizza Lovers: Get Your Own Slice of Pie
Eatery Offers Customized Take on Mexican Cuisine

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