The REAL Food Trends – As Predicted by Family Eats

by Laura on January 9, 2011

in Food

Articles, blogs and magazines have been filled with predictions for the food trends for 2011.  From artisan popsicles and meatballs to Korean foods and retro-Italian, there appears to be a lot in store for the coming year. But the question is, how will it really affect everyday America? Sure honey and all its varieties may be trending with chefs and foodies, but I’m confident in saying that most of us will not run out and buy 3 or 4 different kinds of honey for different uses . . . maybe in a few years, but not in 2011.

So, here is our take on what the REAL Food Trends are for 2011.

1. REAL Food:

Experimentation with flavors is just what foodies love to do, but now The Food Channel predicts that we’ll be mixing high brow and low brow foods such as lobster and macaroni and cheese, or mixing flavors like butterscotch on bacon. The latter sounds more like novelty to me – so taste it if you’d like — but we predict that what will hold true are classics classic combinations, classic flavors and a true resurgence of the basics. It’s a bit of comfort food mixed with greater knowledge of quality ingredients: The knowledge of what real Parmesan tastes like, What a quality cup of coffee tastes like, and the textures of food the way nature intended it to be. Let’s not reinvent things, let’s just enjoy some great real food, whole food, nutritious foods.

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2. Cooking Meals . . . Yourself:

It has long been accepted that restaurants help drive food trends, but let’s take a look at what is happening at home. Whether it is the economy, health, or the desire to connect with the family, we predict a continued growth of cooking at home.

Sure supermarkets offer some delicious prepared offerings that make it extremely convenient to pick up on the way home from work when you’re just starting to think about what’s for dinner, but we are sure that there will be a shift in that mentality — A shift to thinking about meals long before we’re ready to eat – Yes, that is what we at Family Eats callPlanning.  Not only will planning cut down on the stress that often comes with the “what’s for dinner?” question, but planning will help you save money, too.

3. The Pantry Truly Becomes the Pantry:

You know, the one your Grandmother had, with all the essential ingredients needed to make delicious meals and desserts. Yes, it is time to ditch all the prepackaged premade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and make them yourself. With the trend towards cooking meals yourself, it is time to fill your pantry with all the essentials — from flours  and grains to beans,  spices and broths — needed to make deliciously satisfying meals.

PS – You’ll make more room for everything by ditching all that soda pop!! 😉

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4. Embracing The Melting Pot:

I agree with the Food Channel on this one. They call itAmerican, the New Ethnic. We call it Comfort Food with a Twist. To do this, Americans will take their classics, and add a twist – and in the process, will become more adventuresome in their food preparing, but not over-the-top adventuresome. Yes, that means learning a bit more about how flavors complement each other, how to spruce up old recipes, and basically breaking old habits. In fact, it may mean you’ll be heading to the local cooking school for a refresher course.

5. Functional Foods:

No, not processed foods that are boosted with added nutrients, just the realization that whole foods in their natural state, are not only taste good for us, but are in fact functional. They give you energy, brain power, all around goodness, especially when compared to processed foods. Hey, Mother Nature is pretty smart. This year, we’ll all start realizing that there is a benefit to eating seasonal foods that give our bodies what they need in certain times of the year, and overall, great food, minimally processed for maximum benefit . .  and TASTE!

6. Vegetables:

Remember those mushy things Mom used to put on your plate?  Well, you don’t need to cringe any longer.

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Vegetables are taking center stage, and with the growing popularity of farmers markets and backyard gardens, there has been a greater experimentation with vegetables. This year, the trend will get even stronger, even among those who claim they don’t like vegetables. (Yeah, that means you Dad. You’ll be eating Kale before the end of 2011!)

8. Cheese:

Americans have embraced a high quality coffee, expanded their knowledge of wine varietals, and embraced the artisan way of producing food. With that in mind, we predict that artisan cheese will come into the spotlight . .  . in the home. Cheese plates have been growing in popularity in restaurants, and because of this, we believe that this year, consumers will break the green-can-of-parmesan habit and opt for high quality REAL cheese. From the ever-pleasing Manchego to something a bit more adventuresome like Roquefort, Family Eats predicts that cheese is the next frontier. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch and dinner . .  and any time in between.

9. Better Kids Lunches:

I agree with the efforts to offer better food for children in school lunches, but what we predict is that Americans will once again start making their own lunches – for their kids and themselves. Stop paying for the organic apple all cut up in a school lunch, do it yourself. Plan meals with lunches in mind.  Pull out our lunch pails, and get packing!

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10. Simplicity:

This isn’t equated with grab-and-go convenience,  but simplicity in terms of our eating lives. It is a lifestyle. The acceptance that slowing down, making better choices, and in the process making life . . . well, much simpler. Rid yourselves of the soda pop addiction, nibble on an apple or carrots that you chopped up yourself. Make the commitment to sit at the table for dinner at least once a week- your own table, not a restaurant. It’s Simple.

11. Other notable micro trends:

  • Pie of all sorts. Sweet and savory. I agree with this one. Keep an eye out for new things in 2011, we’ll be throwing a Pie Party – stay tuned.
  • Foodies won’t drive food trends, real people will! (I must come up with a term!)
  • Organic produce – With a greater number of mainstream supermarkets offering more organic produce, this segment is sure to continue to grow.
  • Small sized meals and desserts – Smaller, more appropriate , sized portions. Hopefully this trend will become the norm and super-sized portions will be a thing of the past.

 

Most Importantly – Have Fun. Celebrate Food.

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