Food Trends 2014

According to Jennifer Water’s article from Market Watch, we’re going to see some major price changes in the market.

Beef will get a major price hike since drought hit many US pastures and cow herds suffered in population; canned tuna will keep increasing since bluefin tuna is still being over-fished despite being on the verge of extinction and sushi is still ever popular; and chocolate prices will still keep going up because of increased international demand.

She also sees a rising trend with (rich) chefs investing in personal farms to extend the rooftop garden concept to harvesting their own vegetables for service, more nose-to-tail and root-to-stalk dishes, cronuts, a return to more basic drinks and food, and a stronger indie market in 2014.

What does this mean? Food trends are becoming more and more localized to your own region or even your own city area.

And that, my friends, means that we are going to be seeing more emphasis on simple, homey dishes in both restaurants and magazines.

Here’s my predictions for 2014:

1. Local Meats and Fish

With beef and conventional canned fish prices to go up, people are going to gravitate more towards chicken, pork and seafood. I’ll get to you vegetarians and vegans in a second.

I live in Toronto, where it’s almost landlocked with a fantastic port that brings in food from around the world. Even though I love that I can easily find great fish like marlin, pacific salmon and shrimp, they’re not exactly the freshest proteins I can eat! So, I’ll be sticking mostly to Ontario chicken and pork.

2. Eggs, eggs and more eggs!

EGGS! I love eggs, so it’s my pleasure to announce that eggs are going to be VERY trendy this year. The chicken market is getting stronger and there’s more and more oh-so-nutritious eggs to go around for all those quiches and egg bennies we’ll be making.

That’s great news for vegetarians since restaurants are positioned to pick up this trend very easily. Let’s hope they don’t put ham in it.

3. Meatless dishes

Now, I’m not saying that there’s going to be more vegetarians and vegans because that’s what  a lot of people think when they see or hear about dishes without any meat. Anybody who knows me well enough that I’d never be able to become a vegetarian myself. (Carmelized pork is a sultry temptress.)

I’m not even talking about the vegetarian options that try to be meat but really aren’t like meatless, vegetarian hot dogs with ingredient decks a mile long.

I’m actually talking about dishes like spiced sweet potato fries,  baked beans, roasted vegetable and lentil soups, mushroom risotto and red bean pudding. Those dishes don’t have any meat, but they’re packed with protein and there’s a certain heartiness that’s similar to that feel you get when you tuck into a good steak.

Of course, you can always add a bit of meat as garnish to any of those dishes and I think that’s okay. The meat turns into something more of an afterthought, not the main feature.

4. Ready-to-cook convenience

Face it, the economy’s still a bit in the shits even though a lot of places have relatively low unemployment rates. People are working longer hours during the week and finding less time to prepare their meals. What do they do? Grab some chicken from the market, go home, fry up the chicken, cook some pasta and sauce, mix and then tuck in.

This trend of semi-cooking has been rising in the past decade or so, but I don’t think it’s showing any signs of stopping anytime soon, compared to the downward trend of using fully ready-to-eat dishes where you simply put it in the oven or the microwave.

5. Healthier, simpler beverages

We all know that Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and basically all the high-fructose carbonated beverages out there are terrible for us and we shouldn’t drink them, but they always show up in the office meeting, barbecues, parties and somehow in your hand. It’s most likely here to stay for a few more decades at this rate.

But, people are looking for convenient, healthier drinks on the market with low sugar, no preservatives and some sort of health benefit that makes it different from plain water.

It’s been a rising trend in the past few years with teas and flavoured waters becoming more and more readily available and I don’t think it shows any sign of slowing down.

We’ll see what happens this year since Nature is a finicky thing and anything can happen!

What do you want to see as a food trend? Share your thoughts!



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