2013's food trends

Local foods, cauliflower, popcorn, Asian fusion all popular this year

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The new year has barely begun, yet experts already have shared lists of the movies to watch, books to read and the clothes to wear in 2013.

Even the food we eat is on the table.

Research analysts, marketing groups and food experts have released their culinary predictions for 2013. As expected, the “eat local” movement will continue to play a major role at home and in restaurants.

“What I’ve found, thus far, is that people want to know where their food comes from and have a connection to it,” says Nathan Lein, co-owner of Big Boy Meats at NewBo City Market.

This culinary consciousness has locally-grown meats and vegetables topping several trend lists for the year, as chefs and home cooks alike want fresh choices.

This is good news for Eastern Iowa, which boasts more than 40 farmers markets, plus several food co-ops.

Some of the vegetables to top the list include kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.

Nate Furler, the marketing and outreach manager for Oneota Community Food Co-op in Decorah, says he wasn’t aware brussels sprouts had such a coveted spot in the food world, but wasn’t completely surprised by the news.

“When they’re in, especially when it’s local, they just fly out the store,” Furler says.

Asian foods are expected to be popular this year, particularly kombucha and ramen noodles, but not the 15-cent packets of noodles. Those sodium-laden staples of college students everywhere have been replaced by huge, flavorful bowls of noodles. Their cousins — udon, sobu and rice — also are expected to transition from the ethnic food aisle to the mainstream.

The aisles also will continue to fill up with goods targeting special diets, including gluten-free and vegan.

“Gluten-free, especially, is taking off,” Furler says.

Diners will see these ethnic flavors paired with American comfort food, while the all-American favorite — the hamburger — will be overhauled.

Instead of one choice — a basic bun — restaurants will offer patrons a selection of bread types such as gluten-free rice.

Speaking of flavors, sour is the new salty in 2013. Pickled vegetables have had foodies experimenting with this flavor over the last few years, but tart will explode in 2013.

Boozy foods — from dinner to dessert — will continue to appear, while popcorn will transition from movie theater staple to an every day snack.

“It’s versatile,” says Melissa Blanchett, manager of Corn-Fusion in Cedar Rapids. “People eat it at baseball games, parties — even weddings.”


Our Mood in Food: 2013

Top recipe searches:

  • Chicken
  • Crockpot
  • Halloween
  • Vegetarian
  • Salmon
  • Beef stew
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Cake
  • Shrimp

Source: Yahoo

What's Hot for Chefs:

  • Locally grown produce
  • Locally sourced meats and seafood
  • Healthful kids' meals
  • Environmental sustainability as a culinary theme
  • Children's nutrition as a culinary theme

  • New cuts of meat (Denver steak, pork flat-iron)
  • Hyper-local sourcing (ie. Restaurant gardens)
  • Gluten-free cuisine
  • Sustainable seafood
  • Whole-grain items in kids' meals

Source: National Restaurant Association

Most Appetizing (Yet Stomach-Turning) Searches:

  • Candy Corn Oreos
  • Pork doughnuts
  • Bacon ice cream
  • Flamin' Hot Cheetos
  • Deep-fried strawberries
  • Beer milkshake
  • Fried Kool-Aid
  • Guinness cupcakes
  • Maple bacon beer
  • Grape jelly meatballs

Source: Yahoo

What's Hot for Bartenders:

  • On-site barrel-aged drinks
  • Food-liquor/cocktail pairings
  • Culinary cocktails (savory, fresh ingredients)
  • Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
  • Locally produced spirits
  • Locally sourced fruit/berries/produce
  • Beer sommeliers/cicerones
  • Regional signature cocktails
  • Beer-based cocktails
  • Locally produced beer

Source: National Restaurant Association

Buzzwords for 2013:

  • More chicken (often upscaled), less beef
  • Menu shuffling aimed at flexitarians
  • Fermented everything
  • Doughnuts get bizarre upscaling (foie gras jelly doughnuts, hamburgers between two griddle doughnuts, kimchee doughnuts)
  • Zip-code honeys
  • Craft bourbon, small-batch rye, local gins
  • Asian flavorings: (togarashi, yuzukoshi, gochujang)

Source: Baum + Whiteman, an international food and restaurant consulting firm



  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 1 ¾ pounds), separated into 1-inch florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved or quartered into ¾-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Juice and finely grated zest from 1 large lemon

Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and heat to 400 degrees.

Mound the cauliflower on a larger rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil and ½ teaspoon of salt. Use your hands to mix and coat the vegetables evenly with the oil, and then redistribute in a single layer. Repeat with the brussels sprouts on a separate baking sheet, using the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and another ½ teaspoon of salt.

Place the pans in the oven and roast the vegetables, stirring and rotating the pans every 10 minutes or so, and continue to cook until tender and golden on the edges, 10 to 15 minutes longer. (Depending on the size and shape of your vegetables, the two may require different cooking times.) Transfer the roasted vegetables to a large bowl.

Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the shallot and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent and aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the capers and thyme, and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Drizzle over the vegetables and toss to combine. Taste and season with more salt and lemon juice as needed.

Serve right away or keep at room temperature for up to 1 hour.

Source: Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food: A Grocer's Guide to Shopping, Cooking & Creating Community Through Food by Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough (Ten Speed Press; Oct. 2011)


  • 1 pound Kirby cucumbers
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons chile-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Wash the cucumbers well, scrub them if they’re spiny, and cut into ½-inch-thick slices. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the salt; toss well. Gently rub the salt into the cucumbers with your hands for a minute.

Lay a plate over the vegetable mixture while it is in the colander and weight the plate with whatever is handy; a few soup cans, your teakettle filled with water or a brick, for example. Let rest for about 30 minutes; 1 hour is fine. Rinse the cucumbers, pat dry, and put in a bowl.

Toss them with the chile-garlic paste, sugar, sesame oil, and soy sauce and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container, packing the cucumbers so the liquid covers them, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Source: How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman (Wiley; 2nd edition; Oct. 2008)


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