Looking forward: What food trends will we see in 2011?

Jan 11 2011 - 5:06am


Looking forward:

Pork belly, pop-up restaurants and organic food? That's soooooo 2010. Instead, we're looking at which food trends are in store for 2011.

Some foodstuffs never seem to go out of style, like bacon being included in everything from ice cream to chocolate. Other trends have yet to take, sometimes for bureaucratic reasons.

What else can we look forward to in food for 2011? We asked national and local experts for their predictions.

1. Breakfast pizza. We're not talking about the bachelor staple of cold leftover pizza for breakfast. Look for breakfast pizzas with eggs, ham and other morning meats to become an increasingly popular item with breakfast eateries and pizza chains.

"We're finding that pizza is bridging the gap not just as a dinner meal or a breakfast meal, but an everything meal," said Sonal Dutt, executive lifestyle editor of Every Day With Rachael Ray magazine. "Some Domino's (pizza chains) have introduced a breakfast pizza, so you can eat pizza all day long."

2. Humane foods. From pastured poultry and cage-free eggs to family farmers tending their "humanely raised" cattle, making sure an animal has as pleasant a life as possible before winding up on the dinner plate is emerging as the hot topic of ethical eating.

" 'Humane' is one of those hot spots that may surpass organic foods," said Phil Lempert, a food-trends expert known as the Supermarket Guru. "People have discovered that organic doesn't necessarily mean that it's healthier or better. What we've discovered is people are being more conscious about where their food comes from and a new focus on humane."

3. iPad wine lists. You'll already find diners scrolling through the wine list on an iPad at South Gate restaurant in New York City and Bone's Restaurant in Atlanta. Meanwhile, look for the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., to roll out its own iPad wine list soon; its current 100-plus pages have to be reprinted as inventory changes. Restaurateurs will tout the environmental friendliness of iPad wine lists.

4. Cooking with locally sourced foods. The restaurant industry has been rocked by the recession, leaving more folks to opt for dining at home. But with the bevy of farmers markets, sourcing fresh ingredients for home cooking has never been easier.

5. Milk. Got milk? Lempert predicts that more of us will start drinking milk regularly for dietary reasons. "I'm predicting the rise of milk, not as flavored or sugar-added but plain old milk," said Lempert. "It's about really touting the whole aspect of vitamin D deficiency. People understand the solution isn't to overdose on supplements, but getting those vitamins naturally from foods."

6. Nostalgic ethnic foods. Smell those steaming bowls of pho and pozole, just like Mom used to make. While "comfort food" has become a hot buzzword of the past couple of years, this restaurant trend will pick up on the home-cooked ethnic dishes that many folks know from their childhoods.

"Most people never knew two years ago about banh mi (the Vietnamese sandwich), but these kinds of things have been out there for a while," Dutt said. "Those flavors are now trickling into everyday eating. In New York City, there's a diner that serves kimchee (Korean pickled cabbage) on top of a burger."

7. Food vacations. Ah, to go biking and wine tasting through Bordeaux. Or how about a good ol' road trip through Texas' barbecue belt, with stops at Kreuz Market for beef brisket and smoked sausage at Louie Mueller Barbecue? Look for travel destinations to be increasingly influenced by taste buds.

"People love the beach and skiing, but we're finding more readers want to involve food in their vacations and take cooking classes," Dutt said.

8. Locally sourced airport food. Airports around the country are showing increased efforts of showcasing their regional cuisine and gourmet items. San Francisco International Airport features Niman Ranch burgers at Burger Joint, while Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Airport has fennel and coriander-crusted lamb tenderloin at One Flew South.

9. Goat. That's right, the petting-zoo staple will likely be served at your favorite farm-to-table restaurant in 2011. But if you've ever had chivo barbacoa (barbecued goat) at Rick Bayless' Topolobampo restaurant in Chicago, you'll know that impeccably prepared goat can produce some succulent meat that doesn't taste gamey. For fans of regional Mexican cooking, birria de chivo (goat stew) is often a go-to dish during the winter.

10. New soda sweeteners. Sodas using real cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup have become increasingly popular. Now an emerging soda style seeks a middle ground of sweetness and calories without sacrificing flavor.

"You will see a new soda -- not zero calories or moving away from high-fructose corn syrup -- but a blend of 30- to 50-calorie sodas with regular sugar combined with stevia (a South American herb used as a sweetener)," Lempert said. "People won't move just to cane sugar because of the obesity situation. I think that blending (sweeteners) with reduced calories is going to be the solution -- and it tastes great."

From Around the Web