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Food Channel predicts trends for 2011


December 21, 2010
By Canadian Pizza

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 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.

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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.