Food Predictions for 2011

As each year comes to a close, food companies and food publications gaze into their crystal balls and attempt to predict what will be the hot foods and food trends for the coming year. The following are a few of the most interesting predictions that I discovered.

1. McCormick Spices ( ): taking into account a convergence of influences which are impacting today’s food culture like never before ( the economy, the environment and a focus on health and wellness ), the experts at McCormick’s along with a coalition of top chefs, popular food bloggers and a mixologist have identified leading trends and flavor parings that are poised to shape the way we eat.

McCormick’s TOP TEN Trends for 2011

  1. ‘In’ is the New ‘Out’ – big flavors and new definitions of ‘dinner party’ bring the best of restaurant meals home
  2. Always in Season – preserving the peak of ripeness for year-round enjoyment, fresh at the ready
  3. Meatless on the Menu – mixing up the center of the plate
  4. Ethnic Sizzle – tastes of the global grill, appearing in the backyard
  5. New Comfort Cuisine – a renewed appreciation for the integrity of ingredients and cooking techniques
  6. Where the Cocktail Meets the Kitchen – shaken or stirred, tasteful inspiration takes on new forms

McCormick’s TOP TEN Flavor Pairings  for 2011: 

  • Ginger & Rhubarb – the combination of roasted ginger and rhubarb shakes up traditional barbecue sauces or chunky chutneys for roasted meats
  • Thai Basil & Watermelon– the fusion of Thai basil’s licorice-like edge and the sweet juiciness of ripe watermelon is a colorful study in contrasts
  • Caraway & Bitter Greens– the unmistakable flavor of caraway tames the aggressiveness of bold greens that are a signature of Southern cooking.
  • Bay Leaves & Preserved Lemon– the intensely aromatic coupling of bay leaves and preserved lemon is an alluring blend of bitter, salty-tart and bright
  •  Almond & Ale – evoking the spirit of the modern gastropub, the bittersweet character of both almonds and ale are a rich, hearty match for one another
  • Turmeric & Vine-Ripened Tomatoes – vivid turmeric teams up with juicy, peak-of-harvest tomatoes to accent  their subtle sweetness and add a mildly bitter, earthy note
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice & Coconut Milk – summoning the essence of its island origins, this lush, warm pairing reconnects the components of a familiar American spice mixture with their tropical roots
  • Roasted Cumin & Chickpeas – a harmony of culinary commonalities unites roasted cumin and chickpeas for a robust, nourishing and surprisingly versatile taste experience
  • Creole Mustard & Shellfish – the lively zip of Creole mustard wakes up a range of shellfish from shrimp, crayfish and crabs to oysters and clams
  • Chives & Fish Sauce – The mild, oniony bite of chives adds a fresh green dimension and color to the salty complexity of fish sauce

2. The FoodChannel ( ) predicts that we will be seeing a lot more of these trends this year:

Food Channel’s TOP TEN Food Trends for 2011:

  • The Canning Comeback – ‘putting up’ is gaining popularity for both economy and health
  • Men in Aprons – layoffs have led to more men cooking
  • Local Somewhere – we care about hand-tended no matter where it’s grown
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – we’re tired of being told what we can eat
  • Appetite for Food Apps – social media is our guide and coupon source
  • Small is the New Big Business – corporations are thinking like small businesses
  • Fresh Every Day – rooftop gardens are just part of this trend
  • Chefs in Schools – better flavor is possible in an institutional setting
  • Discomfort Foods – changes makes us more comfortable with more change
  • Eating for Sex and Other Things – we are working longer and want all the gusto

Food Channel’s TOP TEN Foods for 2011:

  • Small pies – small pies, in sweet and savory varieties. Some call them the next ‘cupcake’
  • Sausage – look for leaner, better quality sausage, sourced locally at farmers markets, to take on the role as the ‘new bacon.’  Home butchery and the charcuterie trend that has led to remewed interest in cured meats are additional factors here as well
  • Nutmeg – researchers have discoverd that nutmeg’s reputation as an aphordisiac, especially for women, has some merit
  • Moonshine – has gone legit. Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distillery opened last summer and the clear corn whickey hootch can now be found in many liquor stores and even purchased online. It still packs a wallop.
  • Gourmet Ice Pops – in exotic flavors like bacon, mango, chile and peanut butter are the latest to get the artisinal treatment
  • Grits – could this old southern favorite move beyond the breakfast menu and become the ‘new grain ? “
  • Sweet Potatoes – these super-nutritious tubers will be orange-hot in 2011. They will be especially molten as the better-for-you french fry.
  • Fin Fish – we are still discovering so much about the benefits of fish. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that we found out about Omega 3’s, and we know that obtaining these nutrients from food is the best way to get them into our system. We’re banking on more acceptance of farmed fish as it becomes more important to have a good supply of this lean protein
  • Cupuacu Fruit – following in the footsteps of acai fruit, this superfruit is from the Brazilian rainforest. Cupuacu has a number of antioxidants and minerals, and is considered a natural source of energy
  • Beans – the lowly legume will step up to the spotlight in 2011, as a great source of protein and a versatile ingredient in appetizes like white bean & rosemary bruschetta, and soups of all types

3. Food Arts , the premiere restaurant and hotel magazine has their own HOT LIST of tastes and flavors to expect in 2011, too. Perhaps a bit more esoteric that the others, these ideas will be popping up in trendy restaurants around the country:

Food Arts HOT LIST of Tastes & Flavors for 2011:

  • affogato ( ice cream with espresso )
  • agrodolce ( sweet with sour )
  • artichoke in everything
  • black garlic
  • black mission figs
  • branzino ( ‘loup de mer’ or Mediterraneas sea bass )
  • bread crumbs
  • broccoli raab
  • charcuterie and salumi plates
  • cherry tomatoes in rainbow colors
  • chocolate budino ( see my blog post Budino Tartlets with Sea Salt and Olive oil from April 2009
  • chorizo
  • chuncks of confectionery ‘sponge’ in desserts
  • coconut soups
  • corn with everything
  • crab in soups
  • cracked black pepper pasta
  • cubes of fried or sauteed squash
  • duck fat
  • fennel soups
  • fried chicken
  • grits
  • hazelnuts with fish and meat
  • kale
  • Kona Kampachi ( sustainably open-ocean grown environmentally friendly fish with the Latin name of Seriola rivoliana )
  • lardo ( thin, nearly transluscent strips of pork fatback )
  • lemon pastas
  • little gem lettuce
  • mascarpone
  • persimmons
  • pickled everything
  • pies with streusel topping
  • pistachio cakes
  • pots de creme
  • profiteroles
  • red velvet cakes
  • rum in desserts
  • sea urchin
  • fresh shell beans
  • spiced or gingered chocolate cakes
  • steak for two
  • strozzapreti ( strangle the priest ) pasta
  • succotash
  • tripe
  • venison
  • vinaigrettes & vinegar-based sauces (yeah! says the vinegar queen)
  • whole roasted pig
  • wild arugula

4. Sensient Flavors ( ), is one of the world’s leading flavor companies, has announced its flavor trend predictions for 2011. The list encompasses exotic and tropical flavors inspired from multiple macro trends including Health & Wellness, Sensory, and Personalization.


Sensient Flavors FLAVOR TREND PREDICTIONS for 2011

  • Aguaje: widely grown and consumed in Peru, aguaje is a highly nutritious fruit with a bright orange flesh and a sweet taste that has been compared to a carrot
  • Berbere: an Ethiopian spice mixture, berbere is a blend of cayenne pepper, allspice, cardamom, cloves, fenugreek, ginger, black pepper, and salt
  • Borojo: grown in Colombia and Ecuador and thought to boost energy, borojo has a pleasantly sweet and sour taste
  • Ceylon Cinnamon: used widely in England and Mexico, Ceylon cinnamon has a complex flavor with a citrus overtone and is less sweet than cassia cinnamon
  • Cherimoya: native to Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, the cherimoya has a tropical fruit flavor with slight cream and green notes
  • Grains of Paradise: native to Africa, these dried seeds offer a complex flavor profile with earthy, woody, citrus, herb and heat nuances
  • Hibiscus: popular in South America and the Caribbean, hibiscus offers a tart, tangy berry flavor
  • Pandan: grown in the tropical areas of Asia, pandan offers a uniquely sweet flavor and aroma
  • Yacon: native to Peru, the yacon is a vegetable that has a distinctly unique flavor that is fruity and earthy and is compared most commonly with an apple
  • Yumberry: officially known as the Yang Mei and native to China, the yumberry has a pleasantly tart and sweet flavor profile

In our shop, Cooks Shop Here  ( ), we sell several of the ingredients mentioned above, including Bay Leaves; Berebere spice blend; French duck fat; Ceylon Cinnamon; Grains of Paradise; Hibiscus Flowers; Nutmeg; Turmeric; and vinegars, wonderful vinegars.


One thought on “Food Predictions for 2011

  1. I’m happy to report that just today in Barts in downtown Greenfield, MA I asked what a affogatto was that had appeared on their drinks board since the last time I visited! Go Greenfield!!

    I love figs and I’m glad they’re making a comeback — I just tried a fig and cocoa spread from Croatia — delicious!

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