Bakers Journal

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Food Channel predicts trends for 2011


December 21, 2010
By Bakers Journal

December 21, 2010, Chicago, IL – The Food Channel has released its Top
Ten Food Trends for 2011, identifying the most significant food trends
that will drive how people eat throughout the year.

“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,” said Kay Logsdon, editor of The Food Channel. “One example
is Baby Boomers wanting to age well. Trend number 10 explains they are
eating for better sex, more energy and the ability to work longer.”

The Food Channel predicts that the following trends will be hot in 2011:

The canning comeback

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It used to be called “putting up,” as in
putting up tomatoes or corn for the winter ahead. What it means is
canning, pickling and preserving. More and more folks will be getting
into it for a number of reasons. One major one is the concern over food
safety. Recent scares over contaminated tomatoes, peanut butter and eggs
have driven people to take more control over what they put on the
table.

Men in aprons

Food preservation is being rejuvenated. A gender
role reversal is bubbling up in the kitchen. Layoffs have led to more
men cooking. 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. This has left many couples with
a new balance of power: female breadwinner, male bread buyer (and
baker). TIME magazine calls this the Sheconomy and it’s expected to last
for a while.

Men have been influenced by macho chefs on TV cooking shows, where it’s
all about culinary competition, achievement and triumph.

Local somewhere

Politicians say that all politics is local. It’s
becoming more and more evident that the same is true for food. This
trend understands that mindset – that it’s all about eating local, but
that local goes beyond a geographical definition. The new local is
really about the independent spirit that causes entrepreneurial people
to develop new food products, open new restaurants, and bring new food
ideas to life. In other words, local has moved, and it didn’t leave a
forwarding address.

Don’t ask, don’t tell

Sometimes we don’t want to know the
nutrition numbers. Politicians on the local, state and federal
government levels 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. Some things we just don’t want to know. We’re okay
having pamphlets on nutrition available, but do we really have to have
the calories and fat listed in bold type on the menu right next to our
favourite mega-burger? For many, it’s just another example of the
growing Nanny State, and the answer is simply, “No, thanks.”

Appetite for food apps

Discount eats make new smartphone apps
delicious. Just as the adorable antics of cats have become the
unexpected stars of the Internet, food has become the dominant
attraction of smartphones. 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 neighbourhood,
cuisine type, and price to help you find a restaurant. VegOut helps you
find lots of vegetarian choices. Open Table locates restaurant choices
using GPS technology and also lets you know if there are tables
currently available. But it’s the instant 24/7 availability of mobile
grocery coupons and restaurant deals on smartphones that consumers will
really grab onto in the coming year.

Small is the new big business

Corporations are thinking like
small businesses. As anyone who works for a big corporation knows, the
bigger your brand, the larger the target you may become. In today’s
world, a corporate mindset might be bad for business.

Fresh every day

We see American food shoppers going about their
marketing a bit more like our European counterparts in the coming year.
People will be returning to the neighbourhood butcher shop to pick up
fresh meats and grabbing their specialty breads and pastries at the
corner bakery or bakery-café, and shopping on nearly an everyday basis
for the evening meal. Yes, the large supermarkets and
everything-under-one-roof big box 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.

Chefs in schools

This will be the year we finally get really
serious about feeding our children healthier, better quality foods.
We’re no longer just talking about childhood obesity, we’re doing
something about it. 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.

Discomfort foods

Change makes us comfortable with more change. 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.

Eating for sex and other things

We are working longer and want
all the gusto, so we are looking for foods that keep us young, strong
and active. It’s no secret that Americans are reaching retirement age in
record numbers, now that the Baby Boomers are starting to hit their
mid-sixties. And, as they have since they first began to walk, 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, as sales for Viagra
prove, boomers want to stay in shape for nighttime activities, too. Look
for more food products to make bedroom performance claims in the years
ahead. Nutmeg, for one, has gained a lot of press recently for its
reputation as a female aphrodisiac.