2014 Food Trends

Check out my column on food trends published in the New Haven Register on January 8, 2014. 

Adam Salomone, Associate Publisher at The Harvard Common Press, a cookbook publisher, sees a renewed interest in food apps, allowing consumers the ability to have more control over the foods eaten, where they find them, and how much they pay.

Dan Rosenberg, cookbook editor at the publisher shared several thoughts.

  • Upscale spins on the old Hamburger Helper model: Cooks want to feel that they are making home-cooked meals, but they don’t have much time to shop and cook. Upscale, high-quality enhancement kits based on the classic Hamburger Helper model will take off. You buy a protein (chicken, fish, beef) and a bag or box of a classy marinade or sauce, probably with a starch/carb alongside (rice, quinoa, pasta), and throw it all together quickly at home.
  • Homemade beverages: soda makers, juicers, and high-speed blenders (Vitamix and competitors) will continue to gain traction so that home cooks can make good beverages that cost less than store-bought and are healthier.
  • “Locavore meets Main Street,” The farm-to-table language of high-end eateries will penetrate into mainstream middle-class eateries. In connection with this, diners will show an increased interest in regional American foods. Diners see food (just as they did with rediscovered local beers over the last two decades) as one arena where they can combat homogenization and feel there is something special about where they live—at the same time supporting local producers.
  • Gluten-free becomes gluten-reduced: Very few Americans have celiac and truly require a gluten-free diet, and the diet can be damn boring. Yet many “feel better” with less gluten. As a compromise sweet spot, people will turn from gluten-free to gluten-reduced diets.
  • Amazon’s move into home food delivery will appeal to consumers and will up the pressure on supermarket chains to offer up their own easy, seamless delivery services.
  • Healthy-eating trends of the 70s and 80s come back: As baby boomers age, buzzwords of the 70s and 80s, especially “low-cholesterol” and “low-fat,” will come back with a vengeance as heart health declines with age. The rapid rise of paleo eating over the past several years will bump heads with doctors’ advice to cool it on red-meat consumption.

Facebook “friend” KellyAnn Carpentier wrote, “ I see us going back to our roots with an increase in organic food that’s clean, non-gmo … Basically as they say “what our grandparents just called food”. With such an abundance of culinary creativity, the possibilities of deliciousness are endless. I see a return of the privately owned restaurants.”