Food Trends: Then, Now & Next… December 29 2017

What better way to end the year than to look back and ahead at food trends.  Do you ever wonder how food trends get started?  I just finished reading an article in Specialty Food Magazine celebrating 65 Years of Specialty Food.  The author presented an evolution of Specialty Food Categories and it is really interesting to look at how food trends from decades ago are resurfacing again. It is similar to fashion in that certain styles reappear again years later.

Here is a brief look at the trends of decades past.

1950’s – Condiments were in charge of the table but this included only salt, pepper, ketchup, mustard and mayonnaise.  While all of those are still staples of our pantries, the trend has expanded condiments into the centerpiece of the plate. Whether it is truffle aioli or a Balsamic Fig Mostarda Savory Spread condiments are now taking over the plate with bolder flavors.

1960’s – Coffee drinking was on the decline due to the introduction of cold soft drinks.  Now coffee is making a comeback as both a cold and hot drink.  Cold Brew coffee was everywhere at the Fancy Food Show in June.  Similar to a soft drink, cold coffee is something that is portable and easy to drink. 

1970’s – Health concerns arose in the 70’s causing consumers to be more cautious in the amount of sugar they ate. Many artificial sweeteners were introduced to the market which weren’t necessarily healthier than sugar.  Now we know sugar itself isn’t the problem, it is the amount of sugar one consumes that is.  Sweets are being produced in smaller bites so consumers can enjoy the real thing without worrying about the effect on their health.

1980’s – Specialty cheese became the fastest growing retail category. One thing is for sure, Americans love cheese. Our love of cheese has influenced how cheeses are produced and sold.  There are many more smaller artisans making cheese from the milk of a handful of cows or goats.  Producers experiment with the best process to make their cheese and many are adding spice from around the world to make their cheeses one of a kind.

1990’s – While Potato Chips are a great compliment to most meals, Americans realized they weren’t the healthiest lunch option. Enter better-for-you chips. In the past, this meant fat-free or reduced-fat versions of our potato favorites.  Now the market is moving to chips made healthier with other ingredients like kale, quinoa, lentils and even chickpeas.

2000’s & Beyond – Consumers became interested in the provenance of their food much more than ever before.  This has continued with natural food products as well as an increase in organic and non-GMO products.  Sustainable sourcing and farming is something that continues to be at the forefront of many new food trends.

It is amazing how these trends continue to be relevant in today’s food consumer market. I’m looking forward to discussing these with some of my international friends to see how different trends are accepted in different cultures.

Happy Friday,