Weathering the Food Industry’s Forecast for 2010

Posted on Monday 21 December 2009

Here at Savor, we’ve been doing some serious soul searching (meaning, reading, research and arguing) to hash out the hottest food trends for 2010. Ready?

The Epi-Log’s Top 10 Food Trends for 2010 of Epicurious.com says that Fried Chicken is in & Gourmet Burgers are out. Unfortunate for KFC, just as they were rolling out their “Un-fried side” the food industry gourmands pulled a fast one on them! Diners across the country have been serving up this crispy delight for decades and now chefs are inventing new ways to flip the bird. However, fried food (especially overeating it) is not friendly on the stomach. Approach this enticement with caution.

And although we can all agree the hoopla around craft burgers is probably at its peak, the concept isn’t going anywhere. Burgers have always been a go-to of the American diet. There simply is nothing like the pleasure and joy of sinking your incisors into a fat juicy piece of meat smothered in nature’s greatest gift, cheese.

On that note, Burgers will remain on the mind, but their friendly counterpart the Artisan Hot Dog is what’s gettin’ people talking. The January 2010 issue of Food & Wine Magazine’s “2010 Trend Report” is calling this a “Classic Comeback,” noting places like Bark Hot Dogs in Brooklyn, Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace in Columbus (OH) and Frank in Austin. We’d also like to tack on Hot Doug’s in Chitown to that list, as the leaders of this modest, yet very appealing trend. Give the ole’ weenie an upgrade and you’ve got yourself a real audience. Um, hi, I’ll take a Kobe dog, sprinkled with some truffle salt, a friendly serving of homemade relish and stuffed into a handmade bun. Thanks.

After a tasty frankfurter, how about some dessert? The same Epi-Log 2010 forecast is predicting that Mini Whoopie Pies – salivation inducing chocolate sandwiches filled with marshmallow cream — will be the new Mini Cupcake. We fully support this claim, although like to think that it was our prediction first, and feel that they don’t necessarily have to be miniature. We’d be completely satisfied with one the size of a Whoopie Cushion.

Sustainability, Locally Grown Produce and Locally Sourced Meats & Seafood were the Top 3 trends from the National Restaurant Associations Chef Survey, “What’s Hot in 2010?” Who’s going to argue with this? Not me. Luckily, farmers’ markets are really catching on across the country, making this trend more accessible, and less “trendy.”

Locally Produced Wine & Beer was rated fifth overall “Hot Trend of 2010” from the same NRA survey. With more gastropubs and local wine producers than we can count, we happily can’t argue with this one. Local beer is fun and unique. And, gastropubs tend to serve up equally good food. Pair the two together. Enjoy.

A few predictions of our own….

I think there is going to be a strong push for late night options. It’s already happening. Look at Big Star in Chicago for instance, they offer craft bourbons and a limited menu till 3am. More places will follow suit, offering limited menus in a drinking space. Look for craft beers, liquors and wine, burgers, and Neapolitan pizzas being offered well in to the wee hours. Yum.

On that note, I feel very strongly that Pizza is going to be huge this year. It’s another opportunity for restaurants to show off their creativity in an inexpensive, customizable and totally patron-mind-blowing way.

Lastly, a perfectly fried egg on that pizza would really be the yin to my yang. Seth (Savor Partner) strongly believes eggs as a topping is making a statement. And others agree. Restaurants & Institutions 20 Menu Trends for 2010 noted “Are eggs the new bacon?” 6th on their list of 20, quoting an egg-friendly menu, “Everything’s better with a fried egg on top.” The egg seems to be showing up on burgers, pastas, sandwiches…you name it. Eggs for breakfast, eggs for brunch, eggs on dinner and your lunch! Duck, Chicken, Quail…whatever the bird, egg is the word.

That’s all I got for now, and as a result of writing this, I am starving.

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