David’s predictions for Food Trends for 2012

I traditionally start the year by bestowing on you my thoughts about what’s hot and what’s not for the year ahead. 2012 is a difficult one to predict as there are so many things to factor in; above average food inflation, Jubilee celebrations and of course the dreaded Olympics, but I’ll give it a go!

1. Home cooking, baking and the Great British afternoon tea

We saw it rise in 2011 with the return of the street party as a result of the royal wedding. A passion for baking (by the younger generation), evidenced the rise in popularity of programs such as ‘The Great British Bake off’. Twice as many young people watched the final of ‘The Great British Bake off’ than watched Big Brother. Together with the Queens Diamond Jubilee make me think it’s going to be a year of cake baking and afternoon teas. Personally I can’t wait.

2. Healthier vending

They have been the bane of my working life and over the years ive even seen people threatening to call a strike because the fruit buns have been changed! But change is on its way. Vending should never have been synonymous with lowest common denominator foods and slowly that’s beginning to change. I predict in this year we will see a real surge in better quality and healthier ingredients. Pies and pasties are out and in their place are crudités and dips. Imagine the day you go to your vending machine and find a selection of fine cheeses, a few grapes some homemade oatmeal biscuits and a small bottle of wine! The laws are getting tighter and tighter about what and how we eat especially at work and its no bad thing that the vending services reflect this

3. Bygone foods

We’ve done ‘provenance’ and ‘organic’ but since the recession bit harder they’ve been told to take a holiday. In their place we see a rise in ‘ye olde’ crops. Tomatoes and beef have been around for a while, but new veggies such as potatoes, carrots and beetroot have been getting a ‘bygone’ makeover. These are generally of an older variety and are distinct from commercial products that have been mass produced for convenience. Did you know it wasn’t until the last century that carrots were orange. Before that they were a very proud bartlett mitchell purple. The term is becoming synonymous with quality and with it higher prices.

4. Grow your Own

How many of my friends now grow their own, or are applying to have an allotment or even keep chickens. Honestly it’s like being in the war! Seriously though I think this year were going to see people planting at least one or two varieties of foods that they can harvest and enjoy. We’re encouraging all our clients to let us have herb gardens at work. If you want to start with something simple try rocket leaves. Try a patio planter with a crop of new potatoes (imagine how wonderful that’s going to taste) and for the autumn plant a pumpkin. If you have children they will love the rapidity with which they grow. You can literally watch them. The pumpkins are wonderful and very fashionable too these days. Scoop out the seeds, leave the flesh and fill the centre with beef stew onions herbs and a bottle of beer, bake in the oven for 2 hours. Scoop the flesh of the cooked pumpkin onto the stew and serve it whole on your dining room table. I defy anyone not to be impressed!

5. Food inflation

Without doubt, this will continue. Extreme weather including drought and floods in Asia, mean that crops will be smaller and more valuable. In America the drought in the southern states and Texas in particular has raised the price of beef, a protein dear to the hearts of Americans, that’ll put more pressure on the price of imported beef into the UK. The continued growth of the Chinese economy will mean they become more affluent and with that comes a taste for fine foods. Trust me on this one, pork prices will go up, up, up.

So that’s my first five, let’s call it the starter. There will be more in my next blog, but in the meantime I thought I would tell you about the ideas people were shouting about last year and which, in my opinion never really worked.

Foodie trends that didn’t happen in 2011just to make you smile!

  • Sausage was supposed to be the new bacon: I like a sausage. but bacon is unbeatable.
  • Macaroons, the new cupcakes: That didn’t happen, even though Time Magazine featured them in first January 2012 issue.
  • Food Apps: This trend has potential and needs developing.
  • Homebrew: No elaboration necessary although my brother in law brought me a bottle of Pinot Grigio this weekend and it wasn’t half bad!
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    My earliest food memories are of my mum’s baking; coconut pyramid cakes were my favourite.

    More from Wendy Bartlett