The KosherEye View
Photo credit: Supermarket Guru
As we do each year, we try to use our crystal ball and see into the food future. With the help of several of our favorite online resources*, we, along with some prominent culinary experts, present some widely held predictions for 2013 culinary trends. We invite you to share your thoughts and predictions with us! We look forward to a year of exciting and innovative kosher introductions.
Due to inclement weather in parts of the country, once again some food prices are forecast to go up, up, up. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the cost of both beef and chicken will increase by at least 5% because of the 2012 drought and a declining supply. However couponing, frequent shopper loyalty cards, online deals, the growing use of mobile apps, and the proliferation of budget friendly signature store products, many of them kosher, will offset some of these price increases. Additionally the budget conscious kosher shopper can continue to turn to Jdeal and other sites for kosher discounts.
The Protein Shift
A major shift is anticipated in the nation's protein consumption is predicted, away from meat-based protein to meatless proteins like eggs, nuts, tofu, beans and legumes. Baby boomers trying to avoid diabetes, high blood pressure and heart Disease lead this movement. Boomers will control more than 50% of the dollars spent on grocery foods by 2015. Look for more heart-healthy antioxidant-rich foods including oily fish such as salmon, as well as green tea, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, popcorn, berries and whole grains.
Food Traceability and Label Transparency
2013 will be a transitional year for label transparency. Package labeling claims are still confusing to most consumers. Look for supermarkets to take on the role of gatekeeper, requiring proof and transparency of claims before they will permit products to be sold on their shelves. (Kudos for this!) The Aware Shopper, who is more informed and knowledgeable about value and health, is increasingly influencing the market. More and more shoppers realize that there is always at least one more level of supervision on kosher products. Perhaps that is one explanation for the ever-increasing growth of the kosher niche.
The Year of the Vegetable
Veggies are set for stardom – taking over center-stage, or should we say center-plate, and actually much of the meal. Entrees such as cauliflower steak and squash noodles; drinks such as fresh juice cocktails, and desserts such as Maple Parsnip Cake and Avocado Mousse. Chefs and home cooks (Thank you Jessica Seinfeld), are sneaking in more and more vegetables. Yes, readers, veggies are not just for vegetarians anymore, nor just on the side of the plate.
The tablet and smartphone have become part of the supermarket experience, the home kitchen and the restaurant. Tracking pantry needs, finding recipes, discovering products, cooking, watching technique videos — the food industry and technology are going forward hand in hand. More and more of us are adding apps, pinning our food photos on Pinterest, visiting food websites (KosherEye appreciates this), and constantly finding new culinary uses for technology.
Some 2013 Standout Food, Trend and Ingredient Forecasts
Infusions and flavors from Asia will continue to abound. South American cuisine is heading north as well. The American menu has begun to mainstream chimichurri sauce, ceviche, and Latin American cocktails, such as Brazil's Caipirinha. Flavor trends also include a new Go American theme, but with a twist. After decades of seeking foods from faraway lands, we are looking inward, appreciating the growing melting pot of American fare. Foods growing in popularity include Italian-American, Tex-Mex, Jewish-American, Chinese-American, and more.
Sour, Tart and Pungent flavors are in the forefront including acidic tastes such as fermented cherry juice, sour beet juice and vinegars. Other hot and Asian specialties are also on the rise such as Kimchi (pungent pickled cabbage), Chili Paste, Japanese 7 spice powder, miso and mirin
Adventurous Home Cooking Techniques such as drying, smoking, dehydrating, fermenting, pickling. preserving will intrigue the cooking hobbyist. Tools and cookbooks to master these techniques will be readily available online and at local kitchen stores.
Artisan growers and specialists — There is a predicted business boom of artisan food "mavens" and producers who specialize in just one area. Organic, local and natural continue to be important.
Almost everything. The heat is on for flavoring popcorn, chips, crackers, snacks, mayonnaise, sauces and more. And then there's our new favorite newly kosher certified sauce Sriracha (Huy Fong) We think Sriracha is sensational on just about everything – but more about that in 2013.
Great Grains Back again! Grains are widely recognized as nutrition powerhouses and many are packed with protein, texture and full, rich taste. Dishes like polenta, couscous or bulgur, quinoa, chickpeas, kamut, spelt, amaranth. (all are inherently kosher!) and grits (We like this one, y'all!).
Beverages fresh fruit (especially tropical fruit), natural energy drinks; "housemade" sodas; cocktails made with sweet flavored vodkas; micro distillery liquors, regional craft brews
*Some of the information for this article was gathered from online reports and various Internet sources.