Ahh, December. The time of year when every food blog talks about what the new year will bring to the foodie world. We figured we’d jump on the bandwagon and share a roundup from a few of these lists of food trends for 2012.

Food trends: doughnuts

James Beard Foundation

  1. Locavorism, Redefined (the heirloom approach)
  2. Doughnut World Tour  (make sure your first stop is Voodoo Donuts in Portland)
  3. Thai Revival (if you like this food trend, try our grilled Thai burgers)
  4. New Nordic Pantry
  5. Canelés: The New New Cupcakes
  6. Eat-in Kitchen, Reinvented (as in, restaurants where you eat in the kitchen)
  7. Bloody Good Food (for all us True Blood and Dexter fans)
  8. Diminishing Portion Sizes (bite-size instead of small plates)

Publicis Consultants USA also seems to agree with the turn to small portions and single-bite servings, calling “Perpetual Snacking” its number-one Food & Nutrition Trend for 2012.

Food trends: Grow-it, pick-it, cook-it, eat-it

Publicis Consultants USA

  1. Perpetual snacking (get started with these snack recipes)
  2. Global Food Mash-Up
  3. The Connected Table (apps, crowd-sourced restaurant reviews… wasn’t this 2011? Or every year since smartphones were invented?)
  4. Wine Cred
  5. Popcorn
  6. In-Your-Face Nutrition (I’m a fan of seeing calorie counts on menus… although it definitely influences my ordering)
  7. Grow-it, Raise-it, Pick-it, Eat-it (again… this seems like a trend that’s been around for a year or two)
  8. Dining In
  9. Barramundi, the Next Sustainable Seafood
  10. Tumeric, the Real “Spice of Life”

Personally, I’m much more interested in learning about new foods such as canelés and fun twists on popcorn as opposed to theories and actions that don’t seem to be just a one-time fad. I was excited to see my favorite guilty pleasure topping the monstrous list of 2012 food trends from Andrew Freeman & Co.

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Food trends: French fry bars

A F & Co.

  1. Custom French-Fry Bars (yes… Noodles & Co. for fries. Pick your type of potato, how it’s cut and the sauce to go with it. I’ve already talked about how I feel about ketchup, but calling it the Year of the Potato is A-OK with me.)
  2. Unusual Ice Cream Flavors (grass and horseradish, bacon, etc. I live within walking distance of a Jeni’s, so I’m used to Pear Riesling and Sweet Corn Blackberry, but don’t think I’ll be ordering any lobster ice cream.)
  3. Grilled Cheese Is the New Burger
  4. Hand Pulled Noodles
  5. Modern Thai Cuisine (must be true, since it’s on two lists!)
  6. Vegetable Desserts
  7. Tell the Story Behind the Dish (hope this one is here to stay)
  8. High-End Chefs Open Casual Off-Shoots
  9. Indian Street Food
  10. Breakfast for Every Meal (I’m personally a big advocate of this one)

Check out their website for the complete list… trust me, this is just the beginning.
Food trends: YouTube chef

Food Channel

  1. Black Market Foods (a la the Soup Nazi and the McRib)
  2. Inconspicuous Consumption (looking like you’re spending little when you’re spending a lot. Why?)
  3. Social Media: Finding Common Ground and Common Courtesy
  4. Shopping Schizophrenia
  5. Beyond Ramen Noodles (hopefully also beyond Easy Mac, my go-to meal in college)
  6. So THAT’s What it Tastes Like! (been here; love this concept)
  7. The New Agri-Chef (again, the opportunity of cooking what you grow)
  8. Groovin’ On Peruvian
  9. Social Cooking (love this concept even more)
  10. The Rise of the YouTube Chef

Food trends: Thai

Huffington Post

  1. Fast Casual Asian
  2. Frontiers in Taps
  3. French Dips (yes, please!)
  4. The Fall of Food Trucks (it’s bound to happen – we’re seeing too much of a good thing in mid-sized cities)
  5. More Mezcal
  6. Pretzels
  7. Niche Hyperlocal Cuisines
  8. Rabbit and Goat (we know a bit about meat goats)
  9. Mismatched Dishes (as in plates and silverware – I’ve seen this one in the wild at a little deli in my neighborhood)
  10. Chicken Skin
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On that note, there you have it. A bunch of food trends that we can reflect on (or laugh at) this time next year. I don’t know why something always has to be the new cupcake, or if social media and user-generated content can still be considered mere “trends,” let alone the farm-to-fork movement, but some of this may be on the right track. I’ll be interested to see what sticks, what doesn’t and how long it takes for my city to get a french-fry bar.

Which food trends are you most excited about? Which ones do you think are too much of a stretch to be considered true trends?


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