Saturday, December 7, 2013

NikSnacks' 2014 Food Trend Forecast

Every December, I do a web search for "food trend forecast" to see what comes up. It's part of my job to know what's on trend and report accordingly. Below is Nik Snacks' Food Trend Forecast for 2014. This list is in no order of importance, nor exhaustive:

Celebrity farmers

I'm sure Hugh Acheson has a Rolodex full of amazing farmers. I just wanted an excuse to post this photo again.


Chef Boyardee was the original celebrity chef (much to professional chefs' chagrin and a slap to the face of KFC's book) and the rise of famous chefs will not stop, but taking farm-to-fork one more step and rising out of the shadows will be the Celebrity Farmer. Diners and home cooks are intensely interested in where their food comes from and who is pulling the roots from the ground and slaughtering their humanely-raised sheep. As local farmer's markets are extending their seasons across the country and people are cultivating relationships with their "favorite farms", the men and women behind the barn door will soon come to a media outlet near you.

Root-to-leaf cooking
Radishes in France at a outdoor market


As food waste becomes a concern for diners, home cooks are going to want to use every part of the food they buy. Nose-to-tail cooking has been trendy in recent times and while plant-based cooking (read: vegetarian) has always been on-trend, people are starting to understand and respect vegetables in a new and different way. Roots will be pickled and canned, stems will be braised and roasted, while leaves will be tossed and dressed.

Doughnuts



With the crazy phenomenon of the Cronut in 2013, there are knockoffs and reasonable facsimiles of the coveted dessert all over the place. For those of us not willing to trek to New York and stand in line for hours on end to get the original, we are willing to create fancy doughnuts at home and demand our favorite patisseries create them for us. Be they dusted with sugar, filled with custard or sprinkled with candied bits of zest, we want them and we want them now. And for the record, the best doughnuts are spelled with a "ugh"as in "Ugh, I just can't get enoUGH" and made with yeast. Cake need not apply here.

Housemade Hot Sauce



There is going to be a Sriracha shortage due to the shutdown of a large hot sauce supplier in California. Over 100 million pounds of chilis will rot if they can't come up with a solution to the problem. I came up with a solution a few months ago and I believe others will follow suit: housemade sriracha. Top Chef has done it, Kelsey Nixon has done it. It's bound to catch on. People love their hot sauces to add flavor and flair to their dishes. It's just a matter of time, everyone will have a crock of peppers fermenting on the kitchen counter.

Juicing






With the popularity of blenders (VitaMix, Kitchen Aid, Oster, Ninja) people are throwing fruits and vegetables into their machines at breakneck speeds. An alternative to making and freezing breakfast burritos in the morning, a morning juice with a few scoops of protein powder will be a way to get whole nutrition in 2014. Jack LaLanne knew what he was talking about.

Exotic burgers



Grass-fed beef is pretty "exotic" for a lot of people. The differences between beef from a cow and meat from a bison (American buffalo) don't vary much, but people are still freaked out by food sources they're not familiar with. "Don't ask, don't tell" in the food world refers to the fact that people don't question where their food comes from or how it's prepared. For more 'adventurous' eaters, beef is a meat of the past. Meats like goat, rabbit, pigeon and ostrich will be raised on a small-scale (featuring those celebrity farmers!) and find a place on upscale menus across the country.

To hear more of my Food Trend Forecast, listen to the 12/10 episode of Tart & Tangy Triad podcast where I'll talk about everything foodie and trendy with my cohosts, Stephanie and Tim.

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