Food Channel forecasts top food trends for 2013

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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CHICAGO – The Food Channel, an online resource for culinary expertise, announced its top 10 food trends for 2013.

“Year after year we look back and see how our trends spotted something two, even three years early,” said Editor-in-chief Kay Logsdon.

Traditional cooking techniques and social media will play a role in food trends next year. The top trends are:

1. Crowdfunding sites. Kickstarter and similar sites allow individuals to network and pool their resources to support ventures started by other people or organizations. Don't be surprised if the hottest new food products or new restaurant concepts got their start through crowdfunding.

2. Smokin' hot. Smoked foods and beverages are gaining in popularity. Look beyond smoked meats for innovations, such as smoked cocktails, smoked olive oil and (we are not making this up) smoked water. Additionally, look for Nordic and Scandinavian influences in smoked food trends.

3. Home bakers hone skills. Home bakers are finding easier access to high-end and specialty bakery products, according to The Food Channel. New pans, recipes and tutorials have more people embracing home baking.

4. The fix is in. Prix-fixe, that is. The European-style fixed menu is finding a niche from white tablecloth restaurants to the casual dining segment, according to The Food Channel. Look for restaurants to bundle meal options for two for a value price.

5. The Rise of the Supermarket Concierge. Look for grocery stores to attract customers and drive traffic through the supermarket concierge. Executive chefs aren't just for restaurants — they can be found in grocery stores giving cooking classes or acting as specialists to guide consumers to the best food products. The Food Channel predicts a rise in personalized service at the supermarket.
6. Brunch becomes the new fourth meal. Brunch is the hot new meal occasion for individuals who like to stay up late and sleep in during the morning.

7. Seasonals for all seasons. Traditional seasons are lasting longer, and foods and flavors associated with the seasons are following the same trajectory. For example, pumpkin muffins are being served during the summer, according to The Food Channel. Also, look for canning to catch fire among home cooks.

8. Cooking to a tea. Tea consumption is still growing, but look for tea as a cooking ingredient. Tea rubs are becoming more popular.

9. Comfort food with an ethnic accent. Consumer demand for ethnic cuisines has moved beyond meals eaten outside the home. Ramen, Korean kimchi, pot stickers and Vietnamese pho are the new comfort foods for the 20 and 30-something set.

10. Here's the skinny. More Americans are trying to eat healthier meals, and this trend has spawned the idea of "skinny-fit", which is about becoming skinny and not just maintaining a healthy weight.

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