What we eat and how we eat is becoming more of a priority. 2013 promises to be the year of the conscious consumer. People want to know where their food is coming from, how it is being handled and what is in it. This year we will see catch phrases such as local, free range, farm to fork, organic and sustainable become more popular on menus and on the labels of your groceries. These trends are evolving into mainstream pop culture and it appears that the grassroots movement is here to stay!
Not only are consumers becoming more educated about where their food is coming from, they are becoming more health conscious as well. This year we will see loads of green leafy vegetables, such as kale, dandelion leaves, swiss chard and any other kind of green leafy vegetables. These green vegetables are full of nutrients and antioxidants, so load up! We'll see them in salads, as sides and even as mains. I suspect we'll also see more of the green smoothie that will incorporate as many of these greens as possible. Quinoa and whole grains will not loose their momentum, but we'll see other grains such as Teff, Freekeh and Farro pop up on menus and in your local supermarket. It was also predicted by CRFA's Diane Chaisson on December 4, 2012 in her article Eight Food Trends to Watch for in 2013 that Asian flavours, such as Vietnamese, and Japanese noodles will grow in popularity. Although, I tend to disagree with this one. Asian flavours have been around and I feel that it's time for something new. I am hoping to see a wave of flavours from Ethiopian and Jerusalem this year. These cuisines offer healthy flavourful options that fit with the other trends Chaisson outlined for 2013. She's also predicted we'll see animal skin on menus this year. This fits in with the whole animal movement we've been hearing more about. I'm just not so certain this particular trend will take off for the home cook.
With all of this healthy and ethical eating we will still want to induldge from time to time. What will the trend be this year? Well, say good-bye to cupcakes and hello to donuts! Not just regular donut shop type donuts, but gourmet dounuts, we'll see all types of flavours and styles of donuts. I've even heard of donuts being used as burger buns. Another trend that is forcasted for the US this year is popcorn. Popcorn without the butter and salt is actually healthy. FoxNews.com anticipates popcorn will be seen in salads, dessert, tacos and even ice cream. Again I am not sold on this one, but time will tell.
Other trends I foresee for this year are vegetarian or meat free meals being incorporated into the weekly menu. Maybe taking on "Meatless Mondays" as part of your routine or just opting for a meal without meat from time to time. My husband and I often give up meat for the month of February, and since we are typically meat eaters this gets us creative in the kitchen. Legumes may just take a bigger role in the average diet by replacing meat in the meat free meal or just replacing the good ol' rice and potatoes.
Loose leaf tea will also become more popular for 2013. It has a much smaller eco footprint than tea bags and it also offers the health attributes of hydration as well as the leaves, seeds, roots or bark that are used in that variety. It is a fun way to hydrate, be social and experience some aroma therapy all at the same time.
With the popularity of the grassroots movement more and more people are going back to the basics. They are making food from scratch. That said I foresee DIY and scratch cooking as a trend for this year. We'll see more canning and fermenting, making your own bread, sauces, tortillas, ice cream, peanut butter, and so much more. Time to eat up those store bought potato chips and try to make them yourself!
There are lots of exciting and healthy trends to look for this year. The bottom line is healthy and earth friendly foods are the way of the future.
Chaisson, Diane. (December 4, 2012). Eight Food Trends to Watch for in 2013. Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice Association (http://www.restaurantcentral.ca/foodtrends2013.aspx)
FoxNews.com. (January 2, 2013) Food Trends for 2013. (http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2013/01/02/emering-food-trends-for-2013/)