Keeping it Real
In a back-to-basics economy perhaps it is natural to return to basic ingredients. This isn’t about retro, or comfort food, or even cost. It’s about determining the essentials and stocking your pantry accordingly. It is about pure, simple, clean and sustainable. It isâ€”dare we sayâ€”a shift from convenience foods to scratch cooking, now that we have more time than money and more food knowledge and concerns.
It is a natural shift, when you think about it. The trend is toward concentrating on quality, basic ingredients and building a menu from there. That’s where the value is going to be in 2010. It’s partially based on how chefs eat at homeâ€”something we all know more about thanks to the increase in sharing from celebrity chefs, cooking shows and foodie blogs (a trend we predicted in 2009). It’s economy driven to a point, but think about itâ€”we aren’t all digging out the SpamÂ®. Instead, we’re exploring the extendability of known ingredients to prepare ourselves for the long haul of economic recovery.
Basic ingredients are trending high because people are still eating more at home, and they need a foundation for nightly meals. Expect to see more education that focuses on what you need in your refrigerator and pantry. Expect online shopping to focus less on luxury items and more on basics. People will be willing to spend more of their money on basics and will find that, in the long run, they end up spending less because they have less waste, higher quality and more value.
This will include some variety and the general acceptance of â€˜new basic,â€™ with some items we consider essential that our grandmothers may not have usedâ€”for example, olive and other oils in different flavors and styles. So while we are keeping it real, we’ll also be redefining what the staples are in many kitchens. We’ve already made a substantial shift in how we shop, prepare food, and eat, and we don’t expect this to change even if the economy improves. We are done with excess, and ready to knuckle down for an extended period to the essentials of life and of food.