More 2011 Food Trend Predictions

This time the 2011 predictions come from The Food Channel® , in partnership with CultureWaves™ , Mintel International and International Food Futurists®. Kay Logsdon, editor of The Food Channel, said:

“The new economy has created a boldness and willingness to change how we work, how we cook and how we eat. All of our 2011 trends reflect that in some way. One example is Baby Boomers wanting to age well. Trend #10 explains they are eating for better sex, more energy and the ability to work longer.”

top102011storyheaderThe Food Channel Top 10 Trends for 2011


1.       The Canning Comeback – Food preservation has a rejuvenation. They used to call it “putting up,” as in putting up tomatoes or corn for the winter ahead. Maybe your grandmother still refers to it that way. What it means of course is canning, pickling, and preserving—and more and more folks will be getting into it for a number of reasons, including the economy, health and food safety.  The recent scares over contaminated tomatoes, peanut butter, and eggs have driven people to take more control over what they put on the table.

2.       Men in Aprons – A gender role reversal is bubbling up in the kitchen. The slumping economy has hit men harder than women, with job losses in traditionally male fields such as finance and construction. Women on the other hand, are employed in fields that are expected to flourish in the years ahead. As Mintel points out, it’s left many couples with a new balance of power: female breadwinner, male bread buyer (and baker). Men have tripled the amount of time they’re spending in the kitchen today compared to 1970.


3.       Local Somewhere – We care about hand-tended no matter where it’s grown.  A study a year ago by the Food Marketing Institute said that people think of local in terms of freshness, support for the local economy, and knowing the source of the product. In Local Somewhere, it’s the same three things. An independent producer is creating a fresh product, and we’re supporting that American city’s economy, and we know exactly where it came from—and we appreciate the fact that they tended and cared for it as the ingredients grew and the quantities were mixed.

4.       Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell –   Sometimes we don’t want to know the nutrition numbers. Politicians on the local, state, and federal government level are stepping up efforts to legislate healthier eating. These well-meaning efforts have led to calorie counts on restaurant menus, bans on trans fats, and a war on sodium. They’ve also brought about a backlash. Let’s face it, according to The Food Channel:  Some things we just don’t want to know. We’re okay having pamphlets on nutrition being available, but do we really have to have the calories and fat listed in bold type on the menu right next to our favorite megaburger? For many, it’s just another example of the Nanny State, and the answer is simply “No, thanks.”  The trends report said that when we order the Baconator at Wendy’s, we pretty much know what we’re getting into, don’t we?  We just want to take a blissful bite without thinking about nutritional numbers. It’s like that old saying, “if you have to ask how much, you can’t afford it.”  Really, is that how you feel?

baconator

5.       Appetite for Food Apps – Social media is our guide and our coupon source. It seems like there’s a new mobile food app popping up every time you start to feel hungry. You can shake your phone on Urbanspoon to create a slot machine effect that spins neighborhood, cuisine type, and price to help you find a restaurant. VegOut helps you find one with lots of vegetarian choices, and Open Table not only locates restaurant choices using GPS technology, but also lets you know if there are tables currently available. But it’s the availability of mobile grocery coupons and restaurant deals on smart phones that consumers will really grab onto in the coming year. Online services like CouponClipper.com now have mobile editions that allow you to pull up coupons on your phone. Even traditional paper coupon king Valpak now offers mobile couponing that uses your phone’s GPS to find deals in your immediate area. Savvy restaurants text and tweet about hot specials that not only bring in extra business, but also make customers feel like insiders.

6.       Small is the New Big Business – Corporations are thinking like small businesses. Successful food companies will use all the tools of social media to get closer to their customers. They’ll be purposely getting “smaller” in how they think, with a customer in mind instead of a bottom line. They’ll no longer subscribe to the Henry Ford model of food production, but will actually be okay with being less “finished” and with letting the world see a few rough edges. They’ll be more like you and me, the consumers they serve. It’s the reason we consumers like local diners, and why we look for places off the beaten path. It’s why we like cafes. We want to spend our money someplace where the owner knows we’ve been there, and where success is based on producing a quality product at a good price.

7.       Fresh Every Day – Rediscovering the butcher, baker and cheese maker.  American food shoppers may go a bit European in 2011, The Food Channel predicts.  People will be returning to the neighborhood butcher shop to pick up fresh meats and grabbing their specialty breads and pastries and the corner bakery.  The supermarket and everything under one roof stores will still get the lion’s share of our grocery dollars, but the increased popularity of farmers markets has whetted our appetite for locally-sourced foods and one-on-one personal attention. 

8.       Chefs in Schools – Living up to their pledge, chefs join the cafeteria crews.  This will be the year we finally get really serious about feeding our children healthier, better quality foods.  Jamie Oliver came with TV cameras to the “unhealthiest city in America” and showed what a difference one person can make.  In 2011 thousands of chefs will be working with school districts to get better, fresher foods on the kids’ trays. 

9.       Discomfort Foods– Eating your way out of your comfort zone.  In some ways, we’ve grown accustomed to a topsy-turvy world and are embracing food that accentuates that.  However, at other times we find the situation just a little bit unnerving.  This trend is about consciously trying new things that stretch our food vocabulary and experience. 

10.    Eating for Sex and Other Things – Looking for foods that keep us young, strong and active. Baby Boomers will influence nearly everything in 2011, including foods.  Many Boomers will continue to work — and they’ll demand foods that provide the energy and vitality to get them through the day (and night). 

Read the complete Top 10 Food Trends for 2011 at www.foodchannel.com.

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