Predictions for 2011 Food and Beverage Trends

With the new year nearly upon us, it’s time for the annual Daily Blender wrap up of predicted food and beverage trends from around the web.

Starting us off is food service research and consulting firm, Technomic. Always with a finger on the pulse of the food industry, the folks at Technomic suggest that food trucks and pop-up restaurants will continue to thrive in 2011, with an increase in consumer spending, thanks to “frugality fatigue”, as well as a growth in recognition for farmers and producers. Unsurprisingly, they also predict that technology will continue to play an important role in food service, with new food-related applications, kiosk ordering (available at the wildly popular Foodparc in NYC), and electronic wine lists making their way to restaurants near you!

As always, Andrew Freeman & Company also offered their list of predictions earlier this year. The restaurant and hotel consulting firm suggested that “one-ingredient restaurants” (i.e. grilled cheese, hot dogs, etc.) will continue to see growth, with high-end junk food and Scandinavian-influenced dishes also making the list. The company’s short list of popular ingredients also included hay – thanks to chef Matt Lightner of Portland’s Castagna – whey, popcorn, and pretzels. Don’t skip the dessert course, though!

“If I had one trend — one trend — of the year that I could predict, that’s why it’s in the No. 1 position, this would be the trend for pie,” [Andrew Freeman] said. “I think that we’re going to make room for pie shops in the next year.”

The National Restaurant Association also surveyed more than 1,500 professional chefs – members of the American Culinary Federation – for their 2011 food and beverage trend predictions. Top choices included “hyper-local” food sourcing, healthy kid-friendly menus, sustainable seafood, and gluten-free items. Hot operational trends included food trucks, restaurants with gardens (like New York’s Riverpark), and increased use of social media marketing. Expect to see artisan spirits, locally-produced beers and wines, and “culinary cocktails” become increasingly popular as well.

“The top trends identified by these culinary professionals for 2011 are reflecting larger societal trends, underscoring that American diners are becoming more and more interested in what’s on their plate. Sustainability and nutrition are becoming key themes in our nation’s nearly one million restaurants,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association.

More predictions for 2011 food and beverage trends:

  •’s top ten list includes rooftop gardens, chefs in schools, and eating for sex and “other things”.
  • Eli and Max over at Freshman In The Kitchen posted a great tongue-in-cheek list of their favorite 2011 trends, from “in-restaurant slaughtering” to water from the tap.
  • delivered a handy dandy trend graphic for those of you tired of bullet points. According to their three year chart, kitchy vodka drinks will be the new tiki drinks.

And finally, through the beauty of Twitter, such beauties as “dirt-in-a-cup” desserts, housemade sodas, ice cream, and my favorite suggestion – tofu-flavored pork rinds – will all be in for 2011! A big thanks to @amadolumbajr, @conoat, @allisonejones, @whiffies, @pwillen1, and @dshenaut for their trend predictions!

Are you following DailyBlender on Twitter? You should be! Be sure to drop by our Facebook page as well, where I post pics from some of my favorite food and wine events throughout the year!

Missed last year’s trend prediction roundup? Check it out here.

Stay tuned to Daily Blender later this week for my exclusive interview with award-winning chef Scott Bryan of New York’s Apiary. I sat down with Scott during a recent visit to New York to talk seasonal menu items, the evolution of a chef, and why he’d rather run a kitchen than a restaurant.

~Jennifer Heigl

0 replies on “Predictions for 2011 Food and Beverage Trends”