TrendWire, December 2010

TrendWire, December 2010

Food & Drink

TrendWire, December 2010


The Food Channel Trendwire
December 2010 • Volume 24, Number 8 •

Special Edition: The Top Ten Lists

The end of the year always wraps with all kinds of top ten lists: movies, books, sports highlights plays, fashion trends and on and on. Well, we’re not going to buck that trend. We’re here to let you in on The Food Channel’s choices for our top food trend predictions, plus the top foods to watch in 2011, and the top side dish trends of the year.

Highlights from The Food Channel’s Top Ten Food Trends Forecast for 2011

canning comeback

Food preservation has a rejuvenation. They used to call it “putting up,” as in putting up tomatoes or corn for the winter ahead. Maybe your grandmother still refers to it that way. What it means of course is canning, pickling, and preserving—and more and more folks will be getting into it for a number of reasons. One major one is the concern for food safety. The recent scares over contaminated tomatoes, peanut butter, and eggs have driven people to take more control over what they put on the table.

cooking revesal

A gender role reversal is bubbling up in the kitchen. The slumping economy has hit men harder than women, with job losses in traditionally male fields such as finance and construction. Women, on the other hand, are employed in fields that are expected to flourish in the years ahead. As Mintel points out, it’s left many couples with a new balance of power: female breadwinner, male bread buyer (and baker). It’s the rise of the “Sheconomy,” as TIME magazine calls it, and it’s expected to last for a while.

Men have been also influenced by macho chefs on TV’s cooking shows, where it’s all about culinary competition and triumph. Plus, what guy doesn’t love a cool new gadget or tool? There are lots of those in the kitchen these days.

eating sex

Looking for foods that keep us young, strong and active. As they have since they first began to walk, boomers will again influence nearly everything in 2011, including foods. As market research firm Mintel reports, many boomers will continue to work beyond the retirement age—and they’ll demand foods that provide the energy and vitality to get them through the day. And, as sales for Viagra prove, boomers want to stay in shape for nighttime activities, too. Look for more food products to make bedroom performance claims in the years ahead. Nutmeg, for one, has gained a lot of press recently for its reputation as a female aphrodisiac.

Read the full Top Ten list.

Foods to Watch in 2011

foods to watch

Small Pies. Pie, of course, has been around forever, but 2011 could be the Year of the Pie. Some are already calling it the “next cupcake.” We say, yes, pies will be hot in the coming year, but look for smaller pies to make it big—in both sweet and savory varieties.

Sausage. Look for a leaner, better quality sausage, sourced locally at farmers markets, to take on the role as the “new bacon.” Home butchery and the charcuterie trend that has led to renewed interest in cured meats are additional factors here as well.

Moonshine. Moonshine has gone legit. Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distillery opened this summer, and the clear corn whiskey hootch can now be found in many liquor stores and even purchased online. It still packs a wallop.

Cupuaçu fruit. This is quite possibly the next superfruit, following in the footsteps of the acai fruit. Both are from the Brazilian rainforest. Cupuaçu has a number of antioxidants and minerals, and is considered a natural source of energy. We tasted it in a Brazilian candy that had us craving more. Speaking of candy, you might also watch for Brigadeiro. This sweet Brazilian candy is made by mixing sweetened condensed milk, butter, and cocoa powder. It’s usually rolled into a ball and coated in granulated sugar, but it can also take on other flavors. It’s the national truffle of Brazil. Look for it to come to our shores in 2011.

Read the full top ten.

Top Ten Side Dish Trends

side dish

It’s not always about what’s on the center of the plate. Here’s what’s happening on the side.

Taking Root. People may no longer have root cellars for the safekeeping of root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabagas, and parsnips, but these subterranean vegetables have gained newfound respect in recent years. No longer relegated to cold-weather-only status, root veggies are now available year-round and appreciated for their hearty flavor, versatility—and, oh yeah, the price is right for these tough economic times. The bright colored varieties, especially, are sought out for their nutritional bounty.

You Say Potato. In fact, say it over and over again, because potatoes are creeping back onto our plates. But, they are healthier, more interesting, and—if you’ve noticed—more likely to be sweet potatoes than anything else. This is one of those vegetables that is big enough to call out on its own as a top flavor trend.

Color Is Hot. These days it’s all about purple cauliflower, purple potatoes, and corn. Plus, carrots in assorted colors in addition to orange. Consumers are learning that brightly colored fruits and vegetables are often the healthiest—loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients. Chefs and restaurateurs love the visual interest these deeply-hued sides add to the plate, as well as their nutritional benefits.

Read the complete Side Dish Top Ten List.

Todd Graves’ Chicken Finger Focus

Leaders with Guts: Todd Graves

Named after Todd Graves’ beloved yellow Labrador, Raising Cane’s has grown from a single location to 94 restaurants in 15 states. Along the way Graves has managed to rack up an amazing resume of firsts. Graves has been featured in Entrepreneur’s Young Millionaires cover story, was named an Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year,” and has appeared on Fox’s “Secret Millionaire.”

The founder and CEO of Raising Cane’s, Graves sat down in front of the cameras for our FoodChannelPRO™ in-depth video interview series, “Leaders with Guts,” and he shares many of his insights with Ellen Koteff, editor-in-chief for Food ChannelPRO. Conversation highlights:

  • Beginnings. When he first envisioned his concept, Graves figured he’d have one restaurant serving mostly LSU college students. Nearly 100 stores later, he talks about how he grew his business and the diversity of customers, known affectionately as “Craniacs.”
  • “One Love” concept. Raising Cane’s has perhaps the most single-focused menu concept in the restaurant business. They do chicken fingers and only chicken fingers. Graves talks about why they are so doggedly committed to this focus and why he often chooses to ignore the advice of “experts.”
  • Keeping the customer satisfied. For the second year in a row, Raising Cane’s has been ranked in the top five nationally in the Sandleman Survey of customer satisfaction. Graves explains how they’re able to achieve those kind of results.

Starting this week: Our Leaders With Guts interview series with Sally Smith, President and CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings.

FoodChannelPRO is the new beta site where food professionals can go for inspiration, menuing information, education and more. Partners in the new venture include Johnson & Wales University, CultureWaves®, MenuMax, Mintel International, Penton Media, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association (IFMA), Manifest Digital, and Noble.

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The Food Channel® TrendWire™ newsletter is published by Food Channel ( Editorial comments, project consulting inquiries and subscription inquiries may be directed to Kay Logsdon at Additional trend-focused editorial comment and blogging is available at The TrendWire™ newsletter is distributed electronically once monthly, or 12 times per year. Its contents, in whole or in part, may not be copied or reproduced in any form without permission. All quotations must credit The Food Channel TrendWire as the source. Comments are the opinion of the editor and do not necessarily represent the views of Food Channel, LLC, its parent company, Noble Communications Company, and/or its subsidiaries or associates.

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