|A couple of ideas from last year...|
Before we launch into our findings for the coming year, let's look back over 2012: last year at around this time I tried my hand at writing about and even predicting what would be the hottest trends for food and eating in 2012- how did I get on?
- I wrote that natural sugar alternatives would be big: well they certainly were in our house, and actually, I did see many stores in the UK selling stevia, malt, fructose, date syrup, xylitol and the like. It seems to be a continuing trend into 2013.
- Vegan has indeed become the new Vegetarian over the past year as those who are truly health-conscious are eschewing animal-based products and substituting plant ones, as much for slimming and allergy reasons as for animal welfare.
- As Huffington Post predicted, kale, Chinese broccoli and coconut oil and water were really big in 2012; especially variations on kale chips and putting coconut oil in just about everything. There are now commercial "milk" drinks based on coconut and the hydrating attributes of coconut water are now well-known. I also learnt how to make yummy and healthy kale chips and blogged about it, as well as incorporating coconut oil into various recipes- my husband is now also a convert! I also experimented with hummus, my best result being one made from green peas, but I didn't come across much else to do with hummus in the blogosphere. I did, however, come across lots of yummy vegetarian South Indian recipes, just as they predicted (yet more coconut). I also saw such vegetable-based condiments/ spreads as tomato jam, and responded with my green tomato chilli jam. Plus, in response to the comment about "upside-down" (sweet-savoury) foods, I did actually bake some vegetable muffins as I intended, although a sweet pizza has so far eluded me.
- One thing that has come out of the economic downturn is that home cooking has indeed grown hugely in popularity over the past year as it's cheaper. (And healthier, and more fun!) I think in the UK "The Great British Bake Off" has also played a big part in this. I know it inspired a lot of my colleagues to don an apron and get into the kitchen to bake cakes, pies and the like.
- I was right in that wheat alternatives have come to the forefront over the past year; not only because it seems there is a growing number of wheat and /or gluten-allergic people, but also because gluten-free dishes are reported to stop you putting on weight/ help you lose weight. I don't know of there is any truth in this, but certainly anything I have posted labelled as "gluten free" has certainly proved popular. I didn't find much out there to do with chillis or European fusion cookery, though. Maybe I was a year too late for those...
- According to http://www.restaurant.org/pressroom/pressrelease/?id=2291 , in the USA nutrition and natural foods will be at the forefront of product design and restaurant menus, with lots of artisan products on the market. They also think that the gluten-free trend will be even bigger into 2013, with many companies making gluten-free lines to complement their existing products. Food trucks as the vehicles (no pun intended ;)) for pop-up restaurants are also apparently on the menu for the coming year. Mediterranean cuisine will also get even more popular in the USA.
- According to http://www.baumwhiteman.com/2013trends.pdf , seaweed and greens such as kale and mustard greens will find their way into products such as crackers and seasonings. This would be great as we all know that greens are health-giving superfoods.
- Buzzwords for 2013 include: Asian flavourings, fermented foods, gourmet doughnuts, hot and smoky favours, white strawberries and green tomatoes (we're already onto that one- check out our green tomato recipes here and here!), geranium leaves, hibiscus and shiso- a kind of Japanese mint. But take note: we're all supposedly fed up with kimchi, so that's definitely out for 2013.
- At http://nutritionunplugged.com/2012/12/food-trend-predictions-for-2013/ (which also has many links to other food trends sites) I found that 2013 will be the "year of the vegetable"- which means more plates of vegetables such as cauliflower steaks in restaurants, a reflection on the increasing trend for "flexitarian" dining. This also means vegetables like avocado, pumpkin and corn in deserts too- again, we're one step ahead here.