2012 Food Trends: What’s Hot, What’s Not

Happy New Year to all.  Hope 2012 will bring you lots of joy, great health and good food.

What do you plan to eat more in 2012?  I suggest putting your focus on whole, real foods instead of seeking out the next big superfood.  The folks at The Hartman Group have put together an excellent report that looks at the food culture in 2012.  They say “nutritionism” is at an all time high.  This refers to celebrating or demonizing particular ingredients at the expense of the food itself, allowing the popularity of processed foods (such as potato chips with added fiber) to flourish while whole, real foods in the produce section remain uneaten.  That’s a real shame.  But it seems the tide may be turning.  More people are beginning to reject nutritionism and have become increasingly skeptical of overtly scientific functional foods.

Here’s a look at what The Hartman Group predicts will be trending up and trending out in 2012:

3061691298_9878e7ac45_b In: Real butter. Out: Margarine.


In: Grass-fed meat.  Out: Processed soy protein.

In: Sea salt.  Out: Low sodium.

In: Healthy fats.  Out: Fat Free.

In: Stevia. Out: Artificial Sweeteners.

In: Chicken thigh/dark meat. Out: Chicken breast/white meat.

In: Local, seasonal superfruits.  Out: Superfruits from afar.

In: Whole eggs, cage free. Out: Egg whites.

3313669395_44851babf0_bIn: Farmstead cheese. Out: Processed factory cheese.

In: The Family Dinner.  Out: Activities trumping meal time.

In: Fresh produce.  Out: Excessive supplements.

In: Portion control. Out: Elimination diets.

In: Dance/Rumba.  Out: Treadmills.

In: Craft beer.  Out. Ultra Lite beers.

In: Kettle potato chips.  Out: Baked potato chips.

In. Eating dark leafy greens. Out: Drinking wheat grass shots.



Do you agree?  Are there some trends that you would like to see less of in 2012?

[photo credits:  butter: Robert S. Donovan; margarine: Roberto Verzo, eggs: Indiana Public Media; leafy greens: Guidance for Growing; wheat grass shot: Milwaukee Public Market on flickr.com]

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  • I love this article and had to share it! Why are treadmills on the trending out list though? Is there a machine that’s replacing that or are people running outside more? Hmmmm I wonder why that is. Happy New Year Nutrition Unplugged!!! Thanks for a great blog~

  • I would love to see less salt more spice as an in trend! People can get an exotic flair with a new herb or spice- be adventurous and watch sodium levels. As always, great post Janet.

  • Janet Helm

    Thanks for visiting and your best wishes! The treadmills are trending out because dance classes like Zumba are trending in. Your comment made me realize that the way I had originally organized my article that it was hard to tell what was in vs. out for each specific trend, so I reworked the post to have them on the same line. So thanks for your question…I think this works better.
    Best to you in the new year!

  • I love this list, it shows how our food trends have changed over the past few years and in my opinion more towards whole food again, I think this will be a good thing for all! Happy New Year!

  • Jim Matorin

    I am an advocate of portion control, but unless the restaurant industry makes a move to reduce portions and educates the consumer, we are looking at frozen meals for portion control, thus , portion control is not going to happen on a broad scale.

  • Love the list, Janet!

    Curious about one thing though – dark vs light meat chicken? Just from a nutrition perspective, even though personally I don’t eat meat or poultry – what’s the reasoning for pushing the white meat “out”?

    Thanks for a great post!

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  • Thanks for shairng. What a pleasure to read!

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  • I love this list! I’d like to see more ‘slow food’ and less ‘fast food’. In just the past couple months my town has gotten 4 new fast food restaurants and zero new local restaurants. I hope this local trend starts catching on some more at home!

  • Janet, I like the fact that you say ‘real butter’ as the ‘in’ thing in 2012. For the information of your readers, I would like to bring to their attention clarified butter or ‘ghee’ as we call it here in India. Ghee is made by carefully simmering unsalted butter to eliminate the moisture, a process that lightly browns the natural oils giving it an almost nutlike flavor, then heat pasteurizing the purified and strained oil in a sealed can. This Ghee which is made in Indian households by the woman of the house is ideal for sautéing, braising, pan-frying and deep-frying whenever you want a rich butter-infused flavor. It is packed with flavor, and often 1 tablespoon of ghee will work just as well as four tablespoons of any other cooking oil. It is the healthy, all-natural, salt-free, lactose-free alternative to hydrogenated oils that clog arteries.

    As a nutritionist and a skin and anti aging doctor from Mumbai, I always advise pure ghee made from cow’s milk as a virtual elixir! it improves health, helps quick oxidation of negative elements in the body & promotes great looking skin and good health. Try looking for ‘Ghee’ it in your local high-end specialty / ethnic stores especially the Indian ones.

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