Yes, it's that time of year again - prediction season. As with past years, we'll be covering the 2013 forecasts and predictions that we find interesting and relevant.
The restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman released The 17 Hottest Food and Dining Trends for 2013.
I won't review all the trends, but here are a couple of highlights:
Fast casual (think Chipotle) continues to be a hot trend. Key quote on the appeal:
Consumers are trading down like crazy, bypassing casual dinner houses, leaping from full service restaurants directly to fast-casual formats and sacrificing service but believing the food is still “fresh.” So everyone wants to be the next Chipotle. You'll see fast-cas service systems applied to pizza, fish and chicken, Greek food, noodles, Asian food, hot dogs and taquerias. Because fast-cas concepts seem fresh and new, they’re entry points to sample new ethnic cuisines, especially for millennials.
This, by the way, summarizes why gourmet food trucks are so popular and growing so rapidly. They provide interesting, fresh food in a fast-casual way.
Artisan Bars, another example of the growing Artisan economy:
Looking for future flavors? Keep keen eyes on artisan boozeries. Ambitious bartenders (whose numbers grow exponentially) are infusing vodka and gin…and especially rum…with mango, kiwi and other housemade exotica (even dried fruit) as they stretch the notion of hand-crafted cocktails.
Aye Robot, an interesting trend on food vending machines:
Coke in Korea has an interactive dance machine—you imitate dance steps shown on a large screen and the machine rewards you with bottles of soda. In Singapore, you hug a vending machine lovingly and out comes some Coke. The Japanese buy everything from underwear to lobsters from vending machines. But we’re just scratching the surface—machines at your airport now vend paperbacks, sunglasses and electronic doohickeys. Why not more food?
I can see the Koreans dancing with vending machines, but Singaporeans hugging them?
The report also comes with a list of 15 key food related buzzwords for 2013. My favorites are:
Donuts getting bizarre upscaling (foie gras jelly donuts, hamburgers between two griddled donuts, kimchee donuts).
Do the bees know to stay in their zip code?
Charred octopus tentacles.