2011 Food Trends

Food is trendy, no doubt about it. The hot topics in food this year can be confusing to consumers who don’t know how their food is raised.

The Food Channel has put together their list of top 10 food trends for the upcoming year:

  1. Canning is cool. Canning, pickling and preserving are in.
  2. Men in aprons. More men will hit the kitchen to cook meals for their families.
  3. Local support. Consumers will continue to emphasize support for local growers and farms.
  4. Don’t ask, don’t tell regarding nutrition facts. There will be a bit of a backlash regarding nutrition labels on everything.
  5. Food apps are in. Food has become the dominant attraction of smart phones. Look for a myriad of apps for everything from restaurants to coupons.
  6. Small is the new big business. Take lessons from small businesses to stay close to customers.
  7. Fresh every day. There is a move toward a return to local bakeries, butcher shops and farmers’ markets.
  8. Chefs in schools. Reportedly, thousands of chefs will consult with school lunch programs this year.
  9. Discomfort food. People will be more willing to try new things and step out of their food comfort zones.
  10. Eating for sex and other things. Consumers will be searching out foods that will help them look and feel younger and healthier.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel also put together a list of food trends that tend to worry me.

Their #1 trend was foraged food is the “new” organic produce.
They wrote: “Once "organic" food was appropriated by the likes of Walmart and Target – where you can get a quart of organic strawberries along with bargain-price bedsheets – then foodies had to find another breed of produce to be exclusive about. Now you’ll find them, tastefully clad in Birkenstocks and Columbia-brand field shorts, rustling up a salad of watercress and morels from out of the wild wood. Some restaurants now boast that at least a portion of their menu has been seasonally foraged, either by the chefs themselves, a hired "forager" such as the one on staff at Madison’s L’Etoile, or by any of dozens of independent contractors who aren’t afraid of a little mud, thank you, to pick you some of those delectable ramps and fiddleheads.”

Basically, these food purveyors are telling their customers that it is “healthier” and/or “safer” to eat produce that is grown by themselves. These consumers are confused about other produce then. Is the lettuce I buy at the store safe? Were these apples sprayed with something that makes them unsafe? Are these home-grown carrots more nutritious?

Their #5 trend is GRASS-FED BEEF is the new free-range chicken.

They wrote: “The rise of grass-fed beef is the newest component in the meat trend, which fits snugly into the small-farm, co-op movement that has been particularly fruitful in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative supplies its brand of beef, "Wisconsin Meadows," to several Milwaukee restaurants, including Comet Café and Le Rêve, along with cuts for the home cook at Outpost Natural Foods. Meanwhile, Franklin’s Strauss Brands Inc., introduced meadow-fed veal and free-raised lamb to its product line less than two years ago, which are available locally at Sendik’s and Whole Foods stores and at several restaurants, including those in the Bartolotta Group (Lake Park Bistro, Bacchus). In 2010, Strauss’ environmentally friendly meats gained national attention thanks to features by Anthony Bourdain, O Magazine (Oprah’s publication) and the online food zine Tastingtable.com.”

My thoughts on the difference in choices between corn-fed and grass-finished beef are in the tab at the top of this blog. Because of modern agriculture, consumers have choices in the food they purchase and eat. These food trends are moving towards food that is produced organically or local, which is fine – but people need to realize because of modern agriculture and technology, they have a choice in the food they eat. Also, that food found in the grocery store is safe and nutritious, and that food grown organically cannot feed the growing world population.

What are you thoughts on the growing food trends for 2011?

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