A year in review and a glance into the future

Posted: January 5, 2014 at 6 a.m.

Forbes Top Food Trends of 2013

Forbes contributor Andrew Bender compiled a review of the past year’s most influential ingredients, flavors and offerings in the food industry. The list is a blend of insights from chefs, food writers and educators. The article aims to serve up the hottest trends of 2013 that will remain on the most-popular list for 2014.

  1. High-end Vegan

  2. Octopus

  3. Korean flavors

  4. Lobster rolls

  5. Deviled eggs

  6. Wine, cocktails and condiments on tap

  7. Tortas

  8. Pastrami

  9. Snow cream

  10. Tiny desserts

What will make food news in 2014?

  1. BYOF - Bring Your Own Food

Similar to bringing a bottle of wine along to dinner to avoid the restaurant cost mark-up, some bars will allow patron bring their own food to enjoy while they mix and mingle.

Particularly present in bars that don’t have a full-service kitchen, this concept is popping up in big cities across the nation, and it only seems to be gaining traction.

As food prices rise and food sensitivities become more common, this makes sense for the business and the customers. Business can focus on what they do best, whether it be artisan-craft beers or providing an environment for socialization, and customers can avoid the food cost mark-up and know the source of their snacks.

  1. Fast-casual restaurants thrive

Fast-food is convenient, but quality is highly compromised. As the demand for healthier, locally-sourced ingredients grows, customers will want to be more involved and conscious with their food choices.

However, cost and quickness of service will be equally as important. Restaurants that combine high standards and affordability will build a loyal following. Those that also have transparent food preparation and courteous staff will top the earning charts.

  1. Nutrient-dense foods for fuel

Food is first and foremost fuel. As more information about how food affects health, energy and well-being becomes mainstream, more people are making more careful decisions about what they put in their bodies. Conscious consumers who want the most bang for their buck but with a high nutrient return will propel a market for grab-and-go, high-energy foods.

Not everyone can afford or has access to fresh produce or organic products, but there are are few simple foods that are economical and easy to acquire while packing a healthy punch. Beans, mushrooms, onions, leafy greens and berries are heavy hitters for nutrient-dense foods.

  • Amber Stanley-Kruth/NWA Media

Top Hot Culinary Trends in 2014

The National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot culinary forecast predicts menu trends for the coming year. For 2014, the NRA surveyed nearly 1,300 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) — to find out what the hottest menu trends will be.

Here is what the chef’s are raving about –

Appetizers - house-cured meats/charcuterie

Starches - non-wheat noodles/pasta (e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat)

Main dish - locally-sourced meats and sustainable seafood

Desserts - hybrids (e.g. cronut, townie, ice cream cupcake)

Breakfast/Brunch - ethnic-inspired (e.g. Asian-flavored syrups, Chorizo scrambled eggs, coconut milk pancakes)

Kids’ meals - healthful kids’ meals

Produce - locally grown

Ethnic cuisine - Peruvian, Korean, Southeast Asian

Preparation method - pickling

Drinks - made in house (e.g. housemade soda, fresh lemonade, barrel-aged drinks, artisan spirits and beer)

  • restaurant.org/foodtrends

Top Healthy Food Trends for 2014

Eating Well magazine had a clairvoyant prediction of the top trends of 2013, including quinoa, gluten-free, organic, goat and elimination diets.

Here is the list for the coming year –

  1. Clean eating - more vegetables, less meat, less sodium, watching your alcohol, limiting processed foods and choosing whole grains.

  2. “Trash” fish - to be more sustainable, less-known fish species, such as wolf eel and sea robin, are being served up instead of tossed back.

  3. Cauliflower - this versatile vegetable can be used for cream soups in place of dairy, mashed instead of potatoes or blended with cheese to make a gluten-free pizza crust

  4. Kaniwa - a smaller version of quinoa that cooks quickly and is high in protein

  5. Fermentation - a transformation from milk to yogurt, cabbage to sauerkraut and tea to kombucha

  6. Community-supported foods - from community gardens to new businesses that supply weekly shares of bread, cheese and fish

  7. eatingwell.com/6_top_healthy_food_trends_for_2014

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