Like the year itself, trends—especially in food—are cyclical. What’s hot one year goes dormant until years later when it’s made new again by a chef, region, entrepreneur, even home cooks.
For those who love food, spotting trends isn’t so much about being “in the know,” but about inciting our enthusiasm for what’s to come. Here are 7 you should be aware of for 2013:
1. Power Breakfasts
Remember what Mom said about breakfast being the most important meal? Well, gone are the days when it was a status symbol to rush to work only on a cup of coffee and a energy bar. This year, breakfast makes its comeback as the meal that, with better choices, fuels our bodies and makes them leaner and meaner: homemade egg sandwiches, steel-cut oatmeal with flax seeds and berries, and breakfast shakes made with Greek yogurt and avocado. Now, that’s real energy!
2. Cruciferous Greens
Kale steps out from behind spotlight-hogging spinach this year. Same with chard and turnip and mustard greens. Not only will these make more appearances at restaurants, but they’ll be presented in new ways: kale chips, anyone?
3. Hipster Cocktails
This trend started last year, but it will accelerate in 2013. Have you sampled Fernet-Branca yet or The Paloma (mezcal, fresh grapefruit juice, and a splash of club soda)? Look out for things, too, that hearken back to the farm or old traditions, such as all kinds of artisanal ciders.
4. Tea for Two (And Three, Four, Five…)
While we’re on the subject of beverages, tea is going to make a run at coffee this year as the drink of choice for those who want caffeine without the edge. But tea is also getting reinvented as an ingredient in rubs, baked goods, and sauces. There will also be a push to experiment with tea so that herbals become more exotic.
5. Food Communities
This year we’ll see a resurgence around food communities, or places that have food or farming as their mission starting to act as social nexuses for people to come together. To eat, think, and talk about food, yes, but also to share off-the-grid experiences many are craving. Check out your local CSA, farm, or local artisanal vendor for programming like this. Similarly, with all the studies showing what a significant impact eating together has on family function and child development, 2013 might also see the comeback of the dinner hour around the table.
6. New Proteins
Look for a shift from animal protein to foods like eggs, nut butters, tofu, beans, and legumes. Even fast-food places are taking notice and offering more veggie-centric items such as salads and veggie burgers. Accompanying that will be an attempt to make side dishes more protein packed, including things like quinoa to augment their appeal.
7. Exotic Spices
The side doors of refrigerators are going to start featuring curious new bottles, like sriracha and gochujang, a Korean chile paste that is a bold miso with some heat. Both can be used in a variety of recipes and on eggs and sandwiches.
“Drinking Your Dinner and Bulgur with Your Burger: Food Trends for 2013,” www.adage.com, 1/10/13
“The BA 25: What to Eat, Drink, and Cook in 2013” by Erik Salgstrom, www.bonappetit.com, 1/13
“The Top 25 Food Trends of 2012” by Arthur Bovino, www.thedailymeal.com, 12/30/12