Sour candies, local artisan chocolates and confections, healthy foods that actually taste good, and popcorn are among the next big trends in the food industry — at least according to the 2013 Top Ten Food Trends list released by Sterling-Rice Group (SRG), a brand strategy firm.
Compiled with the expertise of SRG's culinary council — a team of more than 100 famous chefs, restaurateurs, and foodies — look for these trends to go mainstream in the coming year:
10. Popcorn is THE snack of 2013: Sweet or savory, the all-time favorite (and healthy) snack will pop up everywhere -- including in ice cream as croutons.
9. No diner left behind: From gluten-free to vegan, more and more restaurants will offer all-inclusive menus and services to accommodate all eaters.
8. Savory fruit: Look for fruit used with savory flavors, incorporated as a touch in appetizers, soups and meat dishes.
7. Small plates for me only: Small plates for sharing will be replaced with smaller, singular servings of meat, veggies or starches – for a truly customized dining experience.
6. American artisans save you a trip to Europe: With the emergence of local artisans budding in cities across America, why fly to Paris when you can go to Philly? Foodies can think globally, but travel locally.
5. Kids' menus grow up: Mac and Cheese and chicken nuggets take a backseat to kid-friendly versions of adult dining options
4. Veggies take over the plate: No longer prepared as just a side or salad, vegetables will get their chance to star as the main dish.
3. Asian infiltrates American comfort food: The spicy and fresh flavors of Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea will give consumers a new take on comfort food.
2. Chefs watch your weight: Chefs are changing their habits and exchanging their butter and bacon for broth and beets. The result, better-for-you food that actually tastes good.
1. Sour gets its day: Fermented cherry juice and sour beer? In 2013, yes, as food palates move beyond sweet, salty and fatty to tart, acidic and bitter.
An extension of Culinary Shifts, SRG's proprietary research based on key societal shifts driving long-term food trends, the predictions provide insight for food industry companies to better develop, position, market and sell food products.