NEW YORK – Throughout 2010, certain dishes and drinks were introduced or innovated upon by savvy food marketers and restaurant operators to satisfy consumer needs. Overall themes included back to the basics, artisan upgrades, healthful eating and regional and global flavor adventure, according to the Culinary Trend Mapping Report, a bi-monthly journal from Packaged Facts and the Center for Culinary Development (CCD).

Culinary Trend Mapping Report pinpointed two handfuls of trends that shaped the food landscape in 2010, using CCD's signature five-stage Trend Mapping technique, where Stage 1 represents the emerging trend phase in fine dining or regional restaurants, while Stage 5 represents full "trickle down" to mainstream grocery store shelves and quick-service restaurants.

The following are among 10 of the top food trends for 2010 where meat plays a dominant role:

  • Gourmet-on-the-go (Stage 1) – Street food was "hot" this year and was made by a variety of cooks and chefs. One notable subset was fine-dining chefs serving upgraded street food either in restaurants or from refurbished carts and taco trucks, while foodie entrepreneurs made specialized, high-quality cuisine available on the go.
  • "Fine fast" sandwich shops (Stage 1) -- These gourmet sandwich shops were often helmed by fine-dining chefs and featured high-quality, artisan and locally sourced ingredients, as well as a wide range of housemade condiments and toppings.
  • Bahn mi and bao (Stage 2) – Bao (a Taiwanese pork-based sandwich, served on a white flour bun) and banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich featuring grilled meat or pâté served on French bread) marry the novel with the familiar, appealing to consumers who love sandwiches but are searching for flavor adventure. Both bao and banh mi made waves in 2010 in urban centers like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, as well on the street from a myriad of street food trucks and carts.
  • Butchery (Stage 3) – Butchers stole the headlines this year, acting as unexpected emissaries of the heritage meat and artisan trends that came together to renew popular demand for hand-cut meat. With the upsurge in production and consumption of high-quality meat, young and aspiring foodies flocked to butchery demonstrations, wanting to feel closer to the sources of their food.
  • Eggs all day (Stage 4) – The egg was touted as a food that is inexpensive, healthful (protein-rich or low-fat if only egg whites), and adaptable, whether for a sandwich or wrap, to accompany a salad, on a pizza, or mixed with pasta.
  • Better burgers (Stage 5) -- Building better burgers became a nationwide obsession in 2010, whether it meant adding exotic toppings, using grass-fed and locally sourced beef, or finding the perfect bun. Many fine-dining restaurants added dressed-up versions on their menus while chain restaurants responded to customer demand for better quality meat by using Angus and Kobe-style American Wagyu beef for their burgers.