|By Joleen Oshiro, The Honolulu
Star-AdvertiserMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 09, 2013--It's a shiny, brand-new year, full of unknown potential. What will capture the food world's fancy in 2013?
Food market researchers have done extensive homework evaluating, interviewing and surveying the restaurant industry, product developers, consumers and others, to forecast just that.
Here are 10 of their food-trend predictions:
--Vegetables: As we become more conscious about saving the environment, and aging boomers give more consideration to their health, vegetables will rise to the forefront. Veggies will take a more central role on the dinner plate, and much of them will be sourced locally. Consumers will attend more farmers markets and buy more community-supported agriculture boxes to get their vegetables.
--Healthier kids menus: With the rise of childhood diabetes and obesity, restaurants are realizing their stock children's menu of mac 'n' cheese, hot dogs, cheese pizza and chicken strips just don't cut it anymore. Plus, more and more healthy-food programs are proving that children will eat their veggies if you just make them available. As a result, look for menus wherein the operative words are "fresh" and "healthful."
--Sustainability: More people will be eating food raised where they live, from produce to proteins, and more chefs will go hyperlocal, serving produce grown in gardens right outside the restaurant. Also, look for cocktails made from local fruit.
--Food sharing: Following the trend of grass-roots community exchanges, more folks will get together to swap dishes and recipes. There's also fantasy food sharing via social media such as Pinterest, Taste Spotting and Food Gawker.
--Casual dining: With the economy still fragile, interest in street food, and emerging chefs operating outside the established restaurant format, look for casual eateries to cast a shadow on fine-dining restaurants.
--Allergen-free food: With all the ado about gluten-free fare, restaurants will expand their repertoire to cater to those with food allergies. Some trend forecasters expect grains to dominate. These high-nutrient alternatives to wheat include quinoa, amaranth, millet, wild rice, oats and buckwheat.
--Chicken: It will replace pork and beef as the protein of choice.
--Tapas: As diners become more curious and adventurous with their food even as they're watching their pocketbook, single bites become the perfect way to eat out. They offer a customized menu and flexible portions, and are budget-friendly.
--Artisanal food: Crafted food hits everything from beer to charcuterie.
--Food preservation: Interest rises in cured, brined, pickled and fermented foods in the styles of various cultures.
Sources: Technomic, Sterling-Rice Group, National Restaurant Association, Baum + Whiteman and Publicis
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