Predictions For Food Trends In 2012

As a foodie I love to learn about, and often mock, new food trends. They’re often like the hot new fashion trend, occasionally something genuinely unique emerges, but more often than not it’s ridiculous for the average person. Think the large, thick black or dark brown plastic frames for glasses popular in 2011.  If you are a Sofia Vergara look alike – yes, you can easily rock those. The average Latina – not so much. Don’t misunderstand; I’m not knocking the average Latina. I count myself among them. And let’s be honest, even us everyday Latinas are not so average in comparison to the Gringa world, but that’s for another post!

Back to food trends. Who needs a fancy nutella-tehina-pomegranate donut – with a price tag to match the name – when a simple chocolate glazed will do, thank you very much?  Or a single food restaurant that serves a variation of one thing like Peanut Butter and Co?  I have a feeling these 2011 trends will fade away.  They’re cute but do they really have staying power?  I guess that’s the issue, cute and creative vs. staying power.  I go for staying power which is why I still get excited by a plate of well prepared ropa vieja with rice and beans.

 Yet, there are trends that not only have staying power but change the way we eat, such as the locally grown and organic movements. Even Goya is getting into the mix with their organic bean line.  Go Goya!  2012 has ushered in some new foods trends and our friend Chef Craig Mason – whose last year’s predictions were like hitting the bull’s-eye in a game of darts – offers us his 2012 predictions.

CHEF CRAIG MASON’S 2012 FOOD PREDICTIONS

Farm-To-Table And More Of It

Mason predicts a continuation of the current farm-to-table movement. He says local will begin to make strides towards becoming “the normal,” and almost expected. He doesn’t necessarily believe organic will be the standard in consumers’ food purchasing but foresees shopping at farmers markets to grow in popularity.

More Heirloom Food

You’ll begin to see fruits and vegetables that aren’t common or have disappeared from the produce section. Among those uncommon fruits and vegetables, Mason says will be honey crisp apples. 

Imported Wines

In 2011, Mason predicted an emphasis on local wine, but in 2012 Mason says there’s going to a high demand for higher-quality, value-priced wines from places like Spain and South America. He also believes the market should anticipate a high demand for natural wines that entailed minimalistic farming, meaning the farmers spray when they have to spray, rather than spraying every day.

Flavored Vinegars

“We’ll see it more in restaurants first,” Mason explains, “Weird flavored vinegars, such as pomegranate vinegars, house-made vegetables and fruit pickles will be among those to start the movement.” Watch out for the follow up in grocery stores.

The Explosion Of Special Diets 

Mason says there’s already a confusion of preference versus dietary restrictions. In 2012, consumers will be even more caught-up in diary-free, gluten-free, soy-free, rice-free menu options as a personal preference, rather than a dietary restriction.

A Great Whole-Grain Explosion 

Not only will 2012 see the trend in special diets but Mason predicts diners will begin to see different grain varieties on the menu. Quinoa will be a staple on many menus, barley will begin to replace rice and whole-wheat pizza will be a new menu addition for pizza-lovers.

More Atmosphere 

The Chef who enjoys grilling outdoors, predicts (and probably has secret wishes) that new restaurants will cater to people who enjoy a fun atmosphere. Mason says, “2012 will be the year of leaving behind the stuffy restaurants and sitting outside in a fun atmosphere, a place where people can have great food in jeans.” He also says beer gardens will become more popular.

Small Chocolate Treats

Dessert-lovers will see a resurgence of chocolate in main-stream dining. Tiny desserts such as chocolate truffles on a smaller dish will become the new trend.

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