Food and Menu Trends for 2013

greens

Here is what to be expected on our menus in 2013.

Beef represents a big challenge for food service operators for the next year, and very likely passed down to consumers. The 6% increase in cattle prices prompted a 8% increase in ground beef and 14% increase on choice steak cuts prices in 2012. To further the challenge, 2013 beef product is expected to decrease by 5% translating to an increase in prices to be record high by spring 2013.

The health conscious consumer. The trend of menu labeling will increase nutrition awareness amongst consumers promoting healthier ingredients like Kale, and whole grains, quinoa and farro.

Lightening our favourites. Our favourite heavy calorie meals are being lightened. CarlsJr tweeted “With only 490 calories in our NEW Jalapeno Turkey Burger, U can make a resolution to eat @CarlsJr every day.”

Game meat, specifically, elk, bison and venison. Consumers are becoming increasing adventurous and won’t mind paying extra $ for added quality.
Chicken breast Overkill. It’s a race to see who can use more chicken breast on their menus.

My favourite trend, is the farm to table concept. Restaurants are ordering local products, and regularly changing upscale comfort foods. You will see more local artisan products and local craft beers.

Heavier food marketing for millennials promoting for Group Grazing. Small share plates, and even street food vendors inspire cravability.

Menu Trending, the Truth on Who Decides What We Eat

Remember when menu trending buzzwords like low-fat and low-calorie, sugar-free was everywhere?  Found on menu’s to granola bars and chocolate chip cookies. These menu trend buzzwords were synonymous with healthy living. Then it began to gradually take on another meaning. Consumers were becoming educated on what they were consuming. Sugar- free is just another word for aspartame, an artificial sweetener gaining increasing evidence of being a serious health risk. One ingredient found in aspartame is methanol, which is a chemical used to make antifreeze.

Today’s Menu Trending Buzzwords

Ingredient/
  Term
Penetration Growth
Gluten 3.2% 72.5%
Grass-Fed 1.2% 43.8%
Quinoa 1.9% 30.3%
Farro 1.2% 30.3%
Vegan 2.9% 19%
All Natural 4.3% 15.4%
Local 6.7% 8.3%
Organic 9.2% 6.4%
Whole Wheat 15.3% 6.1%
Diet 1.5% 1.3%
Fat Free 6.3% 0.2%

source: http://www.datassentialsurveys.com/mtd/newsletter/2012/130/index.html

Gluten is making a huge headway, which up until 5 years ago no one knew about.  For some of us it is a medical condition, for others they believe it’s a path to a healthier lifestyle

Although consumers, myself included, may not know what the labels truly mean just yet, we understand the general implication, food that is better for us.  Or is it? Are we falling for another marketing ploy or are there substantial benefits to eating organic, gluten-free, grass-fed versus the conventional produce.

I found out a local Vancouver chef, only imports organic produce within Canada, asserting that the USDA organics label is worth shit. What the hell, what have I been eating the past few months, paying double for organic produce?

In the next few weeks I will be launching a Food Series: Demystifying Our Food. Along with Hello Vancity,  we will be on a mission to uncover the truth behind what we are consuming.

What does organic exactly mean and does it justify their prices? Since when has the label “organic” changed to “all natural” and why?  Farmed versus Wild, Grass fed versus Grain fed, Fair Trade isn’t as fair as we like to think. In the next few weeks I and a team of bloggers will be featuring local farmers, chefs and businesses around Vancouver, BC.  Stay tuned.