Food Industry Experts Reveal Surprising 2013 Cooking Trends

Data from a multitude of sources gathered by Food Technology magazine’s contributing editor A. Elizabeth Sloan has revealed some trends that any budding chef in culinary school programs should know. Keeping yourself informed about the burgeoning foodie world is one of the most informative things you can do while you’re earning your culinary certificates.

Palates are becoming more refined
Even for home cooks, making dishes more upscale is becoming the norm. One in 10 grocery shoppers are now choosing higher cuts of meat and are interested in a dining experience focused on flavor rather than sustenance. One of the trends that has nearly doubled from three years ago is the push for bolder flavors like tangy, herbal, smoky, sour and salty, showing that the country’s eating habits are shifting to cover a wide range of foods.

Healthy is in!
Research has also revealed that 80 percent of consumers are looking for words “fresh” or “healthy” while they shop for their ingredients, and 58 percent of diners look for the same words while they are eating in restaurants. Clearly, Americans are looking to have a healthier lifestyle with their foods. Animal welfare is also a big part of this movement, as terms like farm-raised, grass-fed, free-range and cage-free were also associated with health.

Young people are cooking from home more
For the fifth year in a row, data has concluded that Millenials are scaling back their restaurant visits and cooking from home more. Forty-four percent of these young cooks are also looking to prepare their meals with fresh foods, which shows that healthy meals are a priority among many generations.

Transparency is needed
Consumers believe that foods should clearly state what kinds of products are in them, especially when it comes to antibiotics and hormones in their meat. Up to 17 percent of consumers have also stopped buying certain brands due to safety concerns. Posting calorie counts in restaurants also impacted consumer’s food decisions, and was shown to be appreciated by diners.

Food is becoming more global
America is becoming more multicultural, and so are Americans’ palates! While ethnic food is on the rise in general, specific food items are becoming more popular on traditional American menus. Sauces like sriracha, chimichurri and aioli, and items like queso fresco and Thai basil are making appearances everywhere – even on non-ethnic menus.

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