Trends for the future -- shifting sands

Approachable to adventurous; Mysterious to playful; Fearful to courageous; Comfort to experimental; and Clanning to individualistic, according to "Shifting Sands 2011," predictions across government, technology, health, consumer, travel, beverage, and food & flavor trends hitting the food industry in 2011 and beyond.

The report from Culinary Tides Inc. is a compilation of 1,280 individual predictions evaluated for their potential in the coming year. Only predictions, which are well supported -- some 422 -- are included in the tables and used to create link diagrams. Some are short lived, some are longer lived, some are holdovers from previous years but remain strong in 2011 while others are newer to the food world.Overall the trends indicate that consumers and food are moving away from comfort and towards experimentation. There is strong evidence that consumers are moving out of the economic crisis both emotionally and behaviorally. It's notable that a sense of risk taking, playfulness, courage, vulnerability, live life to the fullest actions have emerged again. However, while comfort foods are waning, it should be understood that authenticity is still key and so this is not the time to "Americanize" food. Bring foods in from abroad in their truest form and represent them accurately on the plate. While consumers are letting go of their blanket of fear, created by the economic crisis and war overseas, be aware that they still have a few fingers touching the blanket or at least have it in their line of sight. This is not the year to plunge ahead with molecular gastronomy or create foods without reference to anything in their ken.

 

Some of the predictions in specific categories include: Technology - Linked media, colors (consumers using more senses); Consumers - Invigorating, uplifting, optimism, adventure, vitality, transparency, frugality fatigue; Travel - Deep North, Bucket List, Gambling, Cruise travel; Beverage - Popup locations, guest bartenders, French champagne, Tiki cocktails, tea, Saison; Food & Flavor - Vibrant, popup locations, guest chefs, meatless, hay roasting, hibiscus, exotic citrus, hot peppers, coconut, bellies, global yogurt, Korean spice, dirt, heat w/ flavor, Japanese sweets, Scandinavian foods, Fattoush, foraging, and entomophagy (insect eating). www.culinarytides.com