Although September no longer means stocking up on value-priced three-ring-binder loose-leafed paper or the acquisition of an aluminum Scoobie Doo lunch box with matching thermos, I still feel that this month marks the end of old things and the beginning of the new. So in the spirit of endings and beginnings, I thought I’d do a round up of food trends – which are going up and which are losing steam. Note: This is pure opinion. There are no facts here. These views are personal, unscientific, highly biased and prime candidates for unfettered rebuttal.
Trends on The Rise
- Gluten-Free: Muffins, cakes, pizza — this trend has been so strong for the past couple years and though I think it will soon crest, I don’t think it’s there yet. I still hear of new “gluten free” bakeries and brands popping up almost weekly. Though it’s hard to say what percentage of those who go gluten-free truly are “celiacs,” there is no question that many who cut out gluten claim to just “feel better.” There is also some evidence that the type of wheat grown today has much higher gluten levels than twenty five years ago.
- Local: If for no other reason, people are realizing that buying food that was grown and picked the day before, from a farm 25 miles away, simply tastes better – not to mention the higher nutritional content because it hasn’t sat in a truck for three days. More cities are demanding farmers markets and more are getting them.
- The Elevation of Veggies: The trend of viewing veggies as more than just a “side act” is in part health-driven and in part because fresher seasonal vegetables are increasingly available.
- Honey As The New Agave: I have seen two new bottled beverages in the past week, claiming “No Sugar!” and using honey instead (which is kind of misleading since honey is a form of “sugar” and like agave, large amounts will lead to all the same health problems and weight gain that sucrose excels at.)
- Minimizing Grains/Starches: The Atkins days of “fear of grains” seem to be over, but there are still many people who have realized how quickly grains convert to glucose and how easy it is to over-consume grains and not feel full. I personally believe one of the quickest ways to drop a few pounds is to cut all starches (even the brown ones) out of your diet for a week.
- Juice Cleanses: Fasting for a day is more than most people can handle, but juice as a meal substitute here and there is pretty do-able and millions do it. There are several competing brands of juice cleanses out there (as well as the DIY option), and juice bars seem to continue to do a whopping business (with some serious price tags attached to the elixirs).
- Embracing Saturated Fats: Saturated fat has been demonized as the “bad” fat. I personally think (from much research on this topic) that this is a unwarranted label, and there do seem to be more people (including health practitioners) embracing coconuts and coconut oil (pure saturated fat) along with eggs and even moderate levels of beef (both which contain significant amounts of saturated fat). Watch for lard to become the trendy fat of 2012…
Trends Flattening or Ending
- Bacon In Everything: Bacon will never go out of style – it’s the U2 of the food world, the Porsche, the trench coat… but now that bacon has made its way into cookies and ice cream, where does it go from there?
- Paleo:The Paleo diet is about eating quite a bit of meat/fish, significant levels of fat, veggies, a little bit of fruit and no grains or dairy. It’s quite “niche,” is more popular with men and I don’t believe will ever get a strong mainstream following.
- Nose to Tail: It’s mainly a restaurant trend — serving pigs’ feet, say, along with the pork chops. This trend stems from both a respect for the animal as well as the feeling that there are less traditional parts of an animal that are perfectly edible and delicious. I fully support it, but I think its “novelty” appeal is waning.
- Organic: Don’t get me wrong on this one, I still choose organic for much of what I eat as do millions of others, but after a massive surge over the past twenty years coupled with the recession and job losses, I think people are being more discerning in what organic foods they buy. Unless organic prices come more into line with conventional, then I think there will always be a huge segment of the population that won’t touch organic.
- Vegan: No meat, fish, eggs or dairy (in fact the strictest vegans won’t even eat honey). The trend’s been around long enough though, that I think those that want to “go vegan” have “gone vegan” meaning I’m not sure that it will continue to grow the way it has, though there will always be a following both for ethical as well as perceived health benefits. (But am sure I will hear from those of you who think I am dead wrong! )
- Lactose Free: The growth of “alt” milks (i.e. non dairy) over the past decade has skyrocketed (far exceeding the growth in cow’s milk sales), and for those who are truly lactose intolerant the demand will continue, but I think the massive growth of these “nut milks” is dissipating as fewer new entrants come onto the shelves.
Get Posts By Email