On day two of the Specialty Food Show the NASFT announced what they saw as the top five food trends for 2010. They were: Good-for-you foods, Coconut, Gluten-free, Exotic citrus, Nostalgic foods.
As I said on my previous post, we also saw gluten-free as one of the trends. I've noticed many gluten-free blogs amongst my food blogger counterparts. More and more people are getting food allergies and celiac has been one of the big ones. Apart from that consideration, it made me think back to 20+ years ago when I dabbled in modeling. One of the bookers for sending models to Japan had told me that I needed to cut out eating wheat because it was what added chubbiness to my face. When you think about it, people with celiac allergies are a lot thinner. It makes me think that maybe I need to start looking more into gluten-free baking. After all, I'll never be able to give up my love of baked goods but at the same time, who wouldn't like to lose a few pounds? (As a side note, this month's DB Challenge involves gluten-free baking, so stay tuned for that post at month end.)
The coconut they mention would be mostly in coconut water. There were a lot of exhibits with it, but I wouldn't have said it was a big, new trend. Same with exotic citrus. The only exotic citrus I saw was about three vendors with blood orange juice. That's not indicative of a big trend to me either.
As far as good-for-you foods...well that's a no brainer. There is more and more emphasis on eating healthier, more organic, lower calorie sweeteners, etc. That's why almost one whole building was dedicated to Natural & Organic. The big thing I noticed was a lot of agave and stevia. For those that don't know, both of these are natural sweeteners.
Stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose levels and so that's why it is recommended for diabetics. It is 300 times sweeter than sugar and 0 calories! It comes from the plant found in Central and South America.
Agave is a plant also found in Central and South America. Agave has about half the glycemic level and effect on blood glucose than sugar does. Plus, sugar has no other benefits to the body while agave has vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and inulin. Inulin is a fiber that helps moderate blood sugar and enhances calcium absorption.
Anyway, the point is I think that in the next decade you will start seeing a lot of foods moving away from the artificial sweeteners and embracing the natural sweeteners. Boy, the sweetener dish at restaurants is gonna be a rainbow of packets with Extra, Sweet n Low, Splenda, and then add Stevia, and others!
The last NASFT choice confuses me as well. I really didn't see a lot of examples of Nostalgic Food. What exactly were they meaning? Or am I wrong in my thinking it's similar to Comfort Foods? I've actually sent an inquiry to NASFT to clarify what they mean.
The NASFT said that close behind their top five were preserved foods. This would include pickled, cured, and smoked. I would have switched Coconut with Preserved Foods on the list. There were definitely lots of smoked meats, loads of cheeses, and plenty of other examples as well. Look for this food trend to start appearing in more magazines.
NASFT is only one organization though. Sacatomato's Ann was telling me that she heard that gourmet doughnuts were gonna be the new cupcake. Maybe so. If you can think of a food trend that you see as gaining in popularity, please submit a comment.