As we look stare deep into our magical coffee cups, we have pondered what trends we can expect to see grow through 2012:
1) More Pig: New parts of the pig are popping up on restaurant menus under the names porchetta, fat-back, and pork belly. The other white meat is cheaper than beef to produce and comes with the side benefit of lots of tasty fat. Expect to see these items and other pork cuts on a menu near you.
2) Prices Increase: We're sorry to say that food will not get cheaper. Little is being done to produce enough quality food to feed earth's growing population. In fact, food producers are exacerbating by developing specialty foods that appeal to affluent markets, not on mass-producing staples. Combine this profit-driven focus with rising costs of resources and we have the perfect simmer for prices to rise. This will also continue to fuel the trend of cooking at home.
3) Resurgence of the Vegetable: Savvy consumers will realize that veggies are cheaper than meat. Vegetables will take up more room on the plate, and children will beg for veggies (well, we can hope!). On this note, gardens, especially urban gardens, will become wildly popular for chefs and homecooks alike. Keep an eye out for heirloom varieties of all kinds of vegetables to be available as consumers push back against GMO. Additionally, people will seek knowledge about therapeutic and medicinal attributes of vegetables! Go Kale!
4) Food on Sticks: Cake pops in a rainbow of colors have filled up display cases for about a year. People love them because they are cute, sensibly portioned, and portable. We will see more food on sticks, especially baked goods. Pies and cookies are already on the rise, and we can expect that savory foods on sticks will become more popular, especially from local food carts.
5) Rise of the "Locavore": This trend is rooted in rising food costs, growing concern over health and wellness, and the desire to support local economies. Cooks will work hard to source local foods. We will hear the word "Locavore" used as a complimentary term to describe the people and the movement.
We shall see if our predictions are accurate, but we'll have to wait a year. Until then, you'll find us baking pumpkin-cookie pops (made with local butter and pumpkin), tending our rooftop gardens, and exploring new ways of preparing pork with hierloom peppers.