I already posted some predictions from Bon Appétit, but if I could predict the top ten food trends of 2010 (especially as they relate to nutrition), here’s what I’d pick.
1. Real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. 2009 was all “is he or isn’t he?” in terms of corn syrup’s real threat. But with news that some corn syrup-producing plants are also producing a less benevolent byproduct (mercury), I’m thinking manufacturers are going to be switching over to another sweetener. PepsiCo has already done this with their “throwback” line of drinks (made with real sugar). I’ve tasted the throwback Pepsi and actually prefer it, though I’m not a pop drinker to begin with.
2. Chia is the new flax. Flaxseed, though still a nutritional powerhouse, will be overthrown by new kid on the block chia. Understandably so. Chia seeds have 11g of fiber and 4g of protein per ounce, and they’re just as versatile as their flaxy friend.
3. Cutting way back on meat. Like I’ve mentioned before, as meat manufacturers’ practices become more transparent, people will start reevaluating their need for meat. Vegetarian proteins, like beans, will start becoming the star ingredient.
4. Local over organic. Though both are and will continue to be important for many people, buying local is starting to be emphasized over buying organic.
5. Rejection of “diet” foods. People are no longer fooled by the promise of “low fat” and “low sugar.” They want real food that tastes great but won’t give them a heart attack. We’ve seen the evidence on artificial sweetener already.
6. Healthy fast food. Everybody’s doing it. Have you guys seen the commercials for Taco Bell’s Drive-Thru Diet (aka, the “eat fewer calories and you’ll lose weight, you morons” diet)? However they can swing it, fast food chains will continue to try and jump on the health bandwagon.
7. Paying more for higher quality food. This goes along with #3 and 4. People are willing to shell out more dough if it means their food will be pumped with fewer hormones and chemicals.
8. DIY produce. I know many people whose goal for 2010 is to start their own veggie garden. Community urban gardens are also rising in popularity. If you want to start your own, check out the five must-have books for urban gardeners.
9. Let’s do potluck. Instead of fancy-pants dinners, people are trying to cook more. That’s a great thing! Expect to get invited to potlucks instead of restaurants for celebrations.