FRESH FOOD TRENDS: ‘Food With Benefits’ Ranks Among 2010’s Top 10 Trends

Experimentation nation, umami, and food with benefits are just three of the top 10 trends to watch in 2010, according to industry watchers from Springfield, Mo.-based The Food Channel (, which released its top 10 for ’10 at year’s end, based on research conducted in conjunction with CultureWaves and the International Food Futurists. Among the spotlighted trends:

Keeping It Real
As opposed to retro or comfort food, or even cost, “real” refers to determining the essentials and stocking the pantry accordingly with “pure, simple, clean and sustainable” ingredients that make a deliberate shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking.

Experimentation Nation
Restaurant concepts are in flux as people redefine what going “out” to eat means. Gastropubs, fusion dining, shareables and communal tables are all being tried. New concepts around “fresh” and DIY are expected to do well. Experimentation is thus a trend in and of itself, so it won’t be unusual to see concepts come and go, including those among grocers.

More in Store
Continued private label prominence is expected to continue, now that no-name generics have morphed into exclusive go-to brands. Grocery stores’ upgraded delis and fresh takeout sections, as well as restoring in-house butchers to a place of prominence, are also scoring big points.

American, The New Ethnic
It’s all about flavor delivery. Immigration has come to the plate, and a new “global flavor curve” is hitting its stride. Part comfort, part creativity, the latest flavors are coming from the great American melting pot, courtesy of Grandma’s classics.

Food Vetting
Be it food vetting, sourcing or simply transparency about the origins of food, the need for further assurance that food is safe and pure will continue to intensify.

Mainstreaming Sustainability
Rather than mere lip service, Americans are finally beginning to adopt long-term sustainability-related practices. In 2010, we’ll see people and companies becoming sustainable for authentic reasons, according to The Food Channel.

Food with Benefits
Call it what you will — nutritional, healthful, good-for-you — but the trend toward beneficial foods is growing at a swift clip. We can thus expect to see more nutrient-added and free-from products (gluten-free, allergy-free) making their way to market.

I Want My Umami
Food snobs are so yesterday, and today’s so-called foodies have settled into a more universal designation of one who loves and celebrates good food, be it a trusty PB&J or the latest soft-shell crab sushi — both of which might wind up with French fries on top. The point is, experimentation and a willingness to try new things are on the rise.

Will Trade for Food
The fine art of bartering is expected to come into play with consumables, which leads us directly to the final prognostication:

I, Me, Mine
While sharing has come into its own in restaurant concepts, there’s a separate but equal trend toward individuality with small-batch cheeses, at-home meat smokers and homemade specialty desserts. Expect more attention to the individual, not just in portion size, but also in food that reflects personality.

Read more about the “Top Ten Food Trends for 2010” by checking out
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