Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Trendy: 2011

It's that time of year again: the time when my "food trends" Google alert goes crazy. Every large and small publication in the world publishes an article about "food trends to watch in 2011" - and links to all of them end up in my inbox.

Yesterday, I was on the receiving end of eight such links and I decided to visit all of them, to see what they have in common (and what they don't). Here's what I learned:

We are all going to eat a lot of pie this year.

Everybody agrees that pie - in all its shapes and sizes, from big to mini and savory to sweet - is the new trend to watch out for. It will supplant cupcakes, despite the fact that we can't eat it with one hand while driving. Actually, since it is the future, we probably will be able to eat it with one hand while driving.

Other notable trends (mentioned by more than one article) include:
  • More focus on school lunches, with chefs in schools and everybody all abuzz
  • Food trucks everywhere, except LA, where they will start closing
  • Lots of social media use and food-related apps
  • Artisanal hot dogs
  • More canning and pickling
  • Lots of fighting about what we should and shouldn't eat, and who gets to decide
  • Pop-up restaurants and supper clubs
  • Amped up convenience stores that compete with restaurants
  • Mom and pop spots where a couple of people are responsible for everything
  • On the other end of the spectrum, a "frugality backlash" with places that focus on luxury and indulgence
  • More lamb and goat on menus
  • Restaurants that focus on one item, like grilled cheese places
As it turns out, most of these have been mentioned here at some point over the past year and none of them are a huge surprise to me. Well, strike that. I am kind of surprised, actually, to see artisanal hot dogs back on this list - I thought we'd been through that last year. The canning and pickling trend is also starting to get long in the tooth, but it fits so neatly with the wider Etsy/handmade/artisanal trend that I'm not surprised it's sticking around.

That trend (Etsy, etc.) is also the basis for one of the more interesting predictions that only showed up once is "Local Somewhere" - it doesn't have to be local as long as it's handmade. I certainly see that.

Interesting, sure, but this list also leaves me wondering: what's next after all of this? What's really new?

[The links: The Daily Green: New Green Cuisine, Charleston (WV) Daily Mail: Food Guy, New York Daily News (summarizing Everyday with Rachael Ray), Small Business Trends, Canada TV, HTR News/Gannett, Philadelphia Inquirer: Restaurants & Food, LA Weekly blogs.]

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