10 Food Trends For 2011 Predicted By The Experts!

Lovely exotic fruit from the far east.Lovely exotic fruit from the far east. The predictions are in from the professionals who follow what's getting the emphasis in the food industry globally and, sometimes, regionally.  What foods will be hot and which will not in 2011?

There's SIAL, the organization which gives all food producers and related industries many chances a year to strut their stuff in around the world... Technomic, a leading food service research and consulting firm... Mintel, food and drink research analysts, and several other food consultation and analysis experts.

For 2011, they all propose what's going to thrive for the food industry and consumers alike, agreeing on some points, but not on others.  I just thought I would peek into each of their crystal balls and pitch you a few of their curves....

1.   Men Will Do The Shopping & Cooking!

This prognostication is based on trends in the workforce, which Mintel says is shifting towards women being more qualified (than men?) and working longer hours.  One can only guess what men will buy for their families and how "macho-cheffing" will impact our dinner tables, but I'm very willing to find out.


Men will do more shopping and cooking!: image via runningheels.co.ukMen will do more shopping and cooking!: image via runningheels.co.uk



2.  Pies Instead of Cupcakes

Mini-pies will replace cupcakes, proposes hotel marketing consultant Andrew Freeman, and anything should be tried in them... but please make a good crust!  The small size will make gourmet cooking a bit more affordable and just who can stand to eat another cupcake?


Small pies will replace cupcakes!: image via fotobank.ruSmall pies will replace cupcakes!: image via fotobank.ru



3.  More Cocktails On The Drink Horizon

With gusto, says Technomic, let's drink.  Retro-cocktails with gin or bourbon, craft beers (glad they're not out of fashion yet), and especially new sangrias, which may just show up at your favorite Denny's.  Warning: You may feel like you're drinking something healthy when you swish a sangria around your mouth, but watch out for those incredible hangovers. 

Retro-cocktails (retro-sign!): image by Spexstudio, fallingpixel.comRetro-cocktails (retro-sign!): image by Spexstudio, fallingpixel.com



4.   One-Item Pop Ups and Restaurants

Of course, this trend has been around for awhile in the fast food industry, but specialization seems to be even more relevant to mom and pop start ups.  Bagels, pizza, hot dogs, barbecue, tacos, and potato shops are big favorites in urban and suburban areas; but new and singular restaurant themes would open up a new gastronomic adventure for all of us who get cravings. 


 Spiral potato stand: image via spiralpotatos.comSpiral potato stand: image via spiralpotatos.com



5.  Eco-Friendly Packaging

SIAL and Innova Market Insights noted that if anything needs to change in 2011 it's attention to developing packaging that is healthy for us and the environment.  Different methods of freezing food to preserve taste and longevity will be introduced in 2011, as well.


Eco-friendly food packaging: image via hofex.comEco-friendly food packaging: image via hofex.com


6. Exotic Taste Delights

Greater use of spices, fruit, chili chocolate, honey, wasabi, and ginger, says SIAL.  Plus, healthy ingredients such as seeds, nuts, berries, ewes' and goats' milk will be used.  And textures will be frothy, crispy, with bits (a la chocolate chip); multi-textured will be the pinnacle.  SIAL sure knows a lot about trends.


Exotic fruits and berries...: image via trifter.comExotic fruits and berries...: image via trifter.com



 7.  Weight Management Foods

Food Technology is putting its bet on food as a weight management tool.  The magazine of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) says that food will contain more super fibers, low glycemic sweeteners, and foods that suppress appetite, making you feel full, even when you've eaten less.  Foods will also contain more natural and healthy ingredients and be flavored in exotic ways.  Just think about a blended fruit latte...


 Healthier options like fruit lattes...Healthier options like fruit lattes...



8. Indulge Gluttony

Mintel agrees there will be more of an emphasis on health and weight management food, but the company also sees the other side of the coin.  Some companies will "embrace the idea of indulgence and gluttony," said a spokesperson.  Others may try to walk the fence, giving into indulgence on one side of its menu and catering to the health conscious on the other.  McDonalds is trying to do this, but it's tough with a greasy cheeseburger as your most popular product.


Gluttony?: image by RonaldMChummer.comGluttony?: image by RonaldMChummer.com



9.  Eating Local

This is a trend that will continue into 2011.  Eating fruits and vegetables - fried will be in -  meats, chicken and other foods that are grown locally will be encouraged to lower the cost of transport to the environment.  "Growing your own," will be even bigger in 2011, and so will 'cooking your own,' as food trends continue to support our unique heritage and ancestry and we yearn for the comfort foods served at home in earlier times.

Eating local means shopping local...: image by Stephen Vittorioso at ci.reading.ma.usEating local means shopping local...: image by Stephen Vittorioso at ci.reading.ma.us



10.  Consumers Will Become Experts

There will be more information available about the packaging and the contents of each package and consumers won't be willing to accept substitutes in processed ingredients. No more MSG or trans fats. Less salt and sugar will be used as ingredients in process food.   Also, a new law that goes into effect in 2011, demands that family restaurants like McDonald's will include nutritional information on their menus... not just somewhere on the wall to the rest rooms.


One of the proposed new food labels: image via jilp.usOne of the proposed new food labels: image via jilp.us


Here's a list of my sources for this article, in case you want to read more about where food and drink trends are headed in 2011.

Edmonton.ctv.ca, FoodNavigator.com, Huffington Post,  Independent, Independent Food & Drink,
Mintel, Potato Pro,  SIAL, Small Business Trends, Technomic.


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