Our Predictions: 2013 Food Trends

If you’ve been asking yourself what the next kale, quinoa, and cupcake will be, then read on for our food trend 2013 predictions. By: Frances Largeman-Roth, RD

2013 Food Trends

2013 Food Trends

What will be on your plate in 2013? According to Technomic, a food service research and consulting firm, we’ll be seeing more vegetables and grains on menus, plus savory snacks, and upscale ramen noodles. And other food industry watchers predict that sour will be the new salty and that popcorn will have its day. Let’s take a closer look at some of the food trends we predict will be big in the year ahead.

New Twists on Current Trends

Photo courtesy of Navitas Naturals

New Twists on Current Trends

Coconut water, a hot hydrator for the last several years, now comes in a powdered form, so you can mix it on the go or add it to smoothies. And nutritious chia seeds are also available as a powder, which can be used in baked goods as a flour substitute and sprinkled over oatmeal and yogurt. Navitas Naturals makes both products.

Ancient Grains Show Up in Snacks

Photo courtesy of KIND

Ancient Grains Show Up in Snacks

High-protein quinoa isn’t just for side dishes anymore. It’s finding its way into sweet snacks and energy bars. The company iheartkeenwah makes quinoa clusters in four different flavors, including Chocolate Sea Salt. And KIND features the grain in its Maple Walnut Clusters with Chia and Quinoa. Several small companies like Fiona’s Natural Foods are using quinoa in bars, but we predict you’ll see larger companies get creative with it this year.

Sexy Veggies

Photo courtesy of Earthbound Farm

Sexy Veggies

No longer relegated to the side of the plate, vegetables will take a star turn in the New Year thanks to increasing demand for healthier food, plus the rising cost of meat. Flavors will be bigger and bolder with an emphasis on vegetables with bitter undertones like Brussels sprouts and other cabbages, kale, and cauliflower. So what’s the next kale? Earthbound Farm is placing its bets on komatsuna, which is part of their new Zen Blend—an organic mix of baby spinach, baby kale, komatsuna (Asian mustard), chard, and mizuna. Like kale, komatsuna has a little bite to it and can be eaten raw, sautéed, braised, or added to soups.

The Rise of Ramen

Photo: Brian Woodcock

The Rise of Ramen

The MSG-laden styrofoam cups of dorm rooms have been replaced by huge, flavorful bowls of noodles, kimchi (see Trend #6), and pork dumplings (gyoza). Already wildly popular in New York, Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles, the Japanese staple is set to spread across the United States this year. Get ready to start slurping.

Pucker Up—Time to Get Sour

Photo: Randy Mayor

Pucker Up—Time to Get Sour

Kombucha and gourmet pickled vegetables have had us flirting with sour over the last few years, but it looks like 2013 is the year for a full-fledged love affair with this flavor. Craft beer companies will be making brews with a sour edge (and high acidity), which have wine-like complexity and go very well with food. And kimchi (Korean pickled cabbage) will continue making its way onto restaurant menus with options that have crossover appeal, like kimchi-topped hot dogs.

Better Burger Buns

Photo: John Autry

Better Burger Buns

Since burgers might be shrinking a bit due to the rising cost of meat, attention will turn to what the burger is on—the bun. Instead of offering a basic bun, restaurants will be offering patrons a selection, just as they offer various types of meat for their burgers. Look out for gluten-free rice buns, spicy jalapeño buns, multigrain rolls, pretzel buns, and more.

Popcorn

Photo courtesy of FIT

Popcorn

The movie theater favorite (and undercover whole grain) gets its time in the spotlight with new healthy formulations like Popcorn Indiana’s FIT and new brands like BOOMCHICKAPOP. Also look for the crunchy stuff to show up in confections like ice cream and chocolate bars, and to be used as croutons and in other savory dishes.

Boozy Desserts

Boozy Desserts

America's cocktail obsession will spill over into our sweets, giving boozy twists to cakes, bread pudding, cupcakes, and cookies. And Keegan Gerhard, chef/owner of D Bar Restaurants in Denver and San Diego thinks that pastry chefs will be reworking the origins of desserts and will be bringing new focus to seemingly simple sweets like pound cake, biscuits, marshmallows, and butterscotch.

View Recipe: Bourbon-Caramel Truffles

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