Food Trends in the Aught-Naught Decade

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Its 2010 and a new decade beckons us, but what did we eat in
the Aught-Naught Decade? Here is a
random and completely subjective compilation of food trends in our recently
departed decade.  Collected from popular trend lists, I'm not editing, just reporting the facts.

 

2000

Buzzword: Local

Hot Cuisine: Latin, Indian

Prediction: People will grow their own herbs

IN: Eating in restaurants, going out to eat becomes the evening’s
entertainment

Wine: Syrah, Zinfandel, restaurants add more wine by the
glass

News: Slow Food opens its first US office in NYC

Statistic: 10% of meals in the US are eaten in McDonalds,
65% of restaurant meals are fast food.

Quote: “The trend toward gourmet borders on a hobby.” –Bob
O’Brien Pres. Foodservice Info, NPD Group

 

2001

Buzzword: Local, Gourmet

Hot Cuisine: Mexican

Prediction: Raw food movement is over

IN: Cheese carts, healing foods, bulk food dispensers (whole
grains that come in big plastic containers and when you lift the trap door they
spill everywhere but in your plastic bag), flavored vodkas, bottled water for
kids, water sommeliers at restaurants, exotic foods

Event: Rachel Ray debuts on the Food Network, egullet.org
launches and foodies unite over the keyboard

Food Recalls: ground beef, hot dogs

 

2002

Buzzword: Local, comfort food, Antioxidants and free
radicals enter mainstream vocabulary

Hot Cuisine: Latin, Italian

IN: smaller restaurants, affordable cuts of meat, Japanese
ingredients, comfort food with exotic ingredients (lumpy mashed purple Peruvian
potatoes), Freedom Fries

OUT: Balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes, foccacia, French
food

Wine: Late Harvest Anything

News: Obesity lawsuit is filed against McDonalds

Food Recalls: ground beef, cantaloupe

 

2003

Buzzword: Local, Organic

IN: South Beach Diet, meat, protein, Flavored potato chips, beer can chicken

Out: All Carbs

Food Network: Alton Brown’s Good Eats show is HOT

Statistic: Grain production drops dramatically on a global
scale and meat consumption is 5 times higher than it was in 1950

Food Recall: Friendly’s Apple Pie a la Mode Ice Cream
because it may contain small pieces of a rubber-like material that could
present a choking hazard. (Note: it is recalled because we might choke on
pieces of rubber?? Not because it contains rubber like material??)

 

2004

Buzzword: Healthy, Organic, Easy

IT Buzzword: Low….low-fat, low carb

IN: Very complicated small plate dishes, El Bulli restaurant
in Spain, Molecular Gastronomy, tasting menus, chocolate, yuzu, agave syrup,
vertical food presentation

Obsession: Obesity gets world wide attention, the global weight
loss industry reaches $240 billion with about $40 billion coming from the US
market, energy drinks are the fastest growing supermarket category, bottled
water outsells coffee and beer

Consumer trends: 50% of consumers want to eat healthy, the
other 50% want convenience

News: Martha Stewart is in prison, Julia Child dies

Food Recalls: The news is full of reports of recalled food
staying on the shelves or being returned and mixed with other foods and being
reshipped.

 

2005

Buzzwords: Fresh, Local, Healthy, Organic, Whole Grain,
Probiotics

IT Buzzword: NO…no trans-fats, no carbs, no calories, no
preservatives

IN: Small meals (used to be known as snacks), meals on the
go, individual meals, quick fix meals, breakfast, portion control, garlic,
layering complicated flavors and exotic ingredients in a single dish, Las Vegas
as a dining destination

Out: raw food diets

Perversity: “Healthy” kid foods flood the market: sugar
coated whole grain cereals, sugar-loaded yogurt in brightly colored containers

Obsession: is it a good carb or a bad carb

Openings: Alinea Restaurant in Chicago, Iron Chef America débuts,
the movie Sideways brings us all a little closer to wine tasting in California

Closing: Atkins Nutrition, founder of the Atkins diet files
for bankruptcy

 

2006

Buzzwords: Healthy, Easy, Gourmet, Local

IT Buzzword: Free…Trans Fat Free, Gluten Free

IN: Dark chocolate from a single source, Superfoods: blueberries,
avocadoes, green tea, beans, walnuts, chocolate will make us all live long and
prosper), Super Tuscan wines, Flavored bottled water, Quinoa, faro, wheat
berries, bulgur, amaranth, whole wheat pasta, healthy take out food,
convenience food

Hot Cuisine: Mexican, Latin, Tuscan

Libations: Cocktails are in and bartenders are now
mixologists

Comeback: Fat is back, 75% of people report using low fat
products v. 2001 when 82% report using low fat products

Banned: Trans-fats in NYC

 Published: Ominvore's Dilemma

Preversity: Industrial chicken processor Tyson's Food offers a free downloadable prayer book


2007

Buzzwords: Local, ethnic, exotic, crispy, crunchy, organic,
grass fed, free range

IN: small bite deserts, cupcakes, single serving meals, 100
calorie snack packs, pre-cut veggies, premium quality ingredients, Nyotaimori
naked body sushi, specialty sandwiches (PA raised ham with NJ organic brie and
French mustard on whole grain pita wrap), Super juices (Odwalla with Amazon
rainforest ingredients), pomegranate everything, Omega 3 fatty acids, exotic
sea salts, Celebrity Chefs

News: Mario Batali’s contract with the Food Network is not
renewed

Bigger News: Wal-Mart introduces an organic section

Libations Gone Wild: Very Elaborate Jell-O shots, Flavored
Ices, Molecular Gastronomy inspired cocktails, Layered drinks

 

2008

Buzzwords: Local, Farmers Markets, CSA, Cheap, Ethical

IN: Home cooking, chef run noodle bars, offal, barrel aged
beer, Fair Trade anything, caffeinated anything, Super fruits: blood orange,
acai, goji, yumberry, no knead bread

Hot Cuisine: Korean

OUT/OVER/DONE/FINISHED: Bottled water (oh, really?), raw
diets

Marketing Gone Wild: Enriched white bread will improve
memory, natural butter flavor makes a comeback, probiotics move beyond yogurt
and into Kraft’s Live Active Cheese (they’re kidding, right?), P&G
introduces Pur Flavor that will flavor your water as it comes out of the tap, a
good night’s sleep is equated with weight loss and Nakazawa Adult Milk is
marketed as coming from cows milked at dawn so the milk has a higher melatonin
content so you’ll sleep better and wake up skinnier.  (I’d love to see the snappy translation of that marketing
concept.)

Recession News: Ruth Reichl at Gourmet magazine publishes a
recipe for meatloaf with ketchup

Nanny State News: NYC requires calorie counts on chain
restaurant menus, LA bans fast food restaurants from opening in certain
neighborhoods

Statistic: It’s an even 50/50 split on money spent for food
for home consumption and food away from home

 

2009

Buzzwords: Local, Sustainable, Locavore, Comfort foods,
regional, simple, value, bare

IN: Home cured meats, charcuterie, butchers, home cooking,
rustic foods, slow cooking, braising, clay pots, beans, bacon, smoked anything,
peanut butter, blueberries in everything, gardening

Hot Cuisine: Peruvian (huh? This turned up on everyone’s hot
list. Am I missing something??), butchers, recipes are now on the web, on your
desktop widget and in your iPhone apps, cookies are the new cupcake

News: Best year ever for the Food Network, the film Julia
& Julie is released and Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking
is a hot item

 

 

The only prediction I have for 2010 is that Local will be
the buzzword and maybe raw food diets are over. Why does everyone pick on raw food diets? The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Happy New Decade!

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