TOP TEN FOOD TRENDS FOR THE NEW YEAR PICKED BY THE EVERYDAY DIETITIAN
The final predictions have been made for what we’ll see on restaurant menus in 2012 and what foods we’ll be serving at home. Based on all the forecasts from all of the experts, I have prepared my list of the Top Ten Food Trends I found most favorable, foreboding or fascinating for the coming year.
The Hartman Group – This market research firm studies consumer culture and behavior and sees a continuing shift away from traditional meals. Their forecast for 2012 and beyond has is eating alone more, less eating together as a family and more doing your own thing, more snacks/ fewer meals, distinct “food occasions” replacing traditional meal categories and food decisions for “immediate consumption” based on mood or whimsy.
Technomic – The visionaries at this food service research and consulting firm predict the uncertain economy will make consumers less willing to take risks when dining out, so familiar foods will be given a new twist instead. Expect innovations in sandwiches, wraps, pizza and pasta. Cost-consciousness will also be seen by the use of simpler ingredients, such as beans, artisan grains and cheaper cuts of meat, presented as “rustic fare” in place of premium ingredients.
Mintel Group, Ltd. Anticipating ongoing economic and health concerns, these forecasters say restaurants will feature more “Double-Sided” menus giving consumers the choice of healthy options on one side and the usual indulgences on the other. This concept will also allow restaurants to offer premium and value pricing on opposite sides of the menu.
Phil Lempert’s Supermarket News – Supermarket Guru Phil Lempert describes “Xtreme Home Cooking” as a way people will save money in 2012. Home cooks will strive to make the ultimate “value meal” by placing price and taste ahead of convenience. Lempert also says stores will be catering to the 76 million baby boomers now turning 65 who will control over half of the $706 billion spent on groceries by 2015! As the largest food influencers and purchasers, manufacturers will be motivated to develop more products featuring health and wellness benefits.
Small Business Food Trends – Entrepreneurial restaurant owners looking for an edge will be serving more appetizers or small plate portions on their menus. Customers love them because they allow sampling and sharing, appeal to health-conscious diners and are less expensive than entrees. Chefs like them because they can experiment with new ingredients and recipes without great risk.
Leatherhead Food Research They predict a continuing rise in the sales of “free-from” foods, such as free-from gluten, lactose, soy or nuts, to meet the demands of both the growing aging population and more health and nutrition conscious younger consumers.
Functional Ingredients and Nutraceuticals World – Both of these ingredient suppliers anticipate consumers will continue their search for “clean” labels. They say “pure” is the new “natural” and the meaning of “green” has diversified beyond responsible and sustainable to also mean ethical, less wasteful and more authentic.
The Food Channel A key trend in their sights for 2012 is more “Shopping Schizophrenia” with the revival of butchers, bakers and other specialty food shops right in your neighborhood. These Mom & Pop shops offer a more intimate shopping experience to compete with one-stop shopping in big box stores.
National Restaurant Association – Kids are prominent in the NRA’s vision for 2012. They see more healthful kids’ meals on restaurant menus, children’s nutrition as a culinary theme, more whole grain items in kids’ menus and smaller versions of adult meals served as “children’s mini-meals.”
American Council on Exercise – Weight loss won’t just about diet and exercise in 2012, it will include “lifestyle coaching.” Gyms will staff nutritionists, physical therapists and psychologists in addition to personal trainers to conduct “wellness programs.” Local employers will use these services to try to keep their work force healthy. There will be more mobile apps for interactive and online workouts accessible from smartphones and tablets.
What’s on your list of Top Ten Foods to Eat in 2012?