Food and restaurant concepts enabled through crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe will be more numerous than ever next year, predicts The Food Channel, in its Top 10 Food Trends for 2013.
The forecasters also note a below-the-radar start-up trend, dubbed “hush dining,” in which talented cooks who lack the capital or time to start a full-blown restaurant are setting up (illegal) on-order restaurants in their own homes, and using social media and word-of-mouth to drive business.
Other key trends we’ll see next year, according to the channel:
*More smoked foods and beverages. The trend has gone well beyond bacon and even barbeque, now including smoked cocktails, smoked olive oil and even smoked water. Nordic/Scandinavian cuisine, which features a number of smoked foods, will also be on the rise.
*Home bakers will hone their skills. Thanks to new, easier-to-use parchments, pans, recipes and tutorials, baking up fancy pastries at home is becoming a more
*Prix-fixe is hot. The European-style fixed menu is becoming common in fine-dining venues, and even filtering down to the casual-dining segment.
*The rise of supermarket concierges. The next logical step, now that supermarkets have executive chefs, cooking classes, and specialists to direct customers to the best cheeses, meats and baked goods.
*Brunch as the new fourth meal. Brunch is becoming the hot new meal occasion, with all kinds of venues offering special menus and accompanying entertainment, like karaoke.
*Seasonals for all seasons. Traditional seasons are being stretched out, with people making things like pumpkin muffins in the summer.
*Using tea in cooking. Tea consumption continues to rise, and teas are now being used in menu items. Look for tea rubs (similar to coffee and cocoa rubs) next year.
*Comfort foods with ethnic accents. For younger adults, comfort foods go beyond mac and cheese, to include foods like Japanese ramen, Korean kimchi, Chinese pot stickers, sun cakes and Vietnamese pho. Also coming to menus: jumbo-sized “man sushi.”
*The push to be skinny. A developing subset of consumers are pushing eating healthier beyond maintaining a healthy weight: Their desire is to be “skinny-fit.” Some restaurants are responding with tiny portions that cater to this vanity-driven crowd. The question, of course, is whether this will go too far.