According to The Hartman Group's annual "Looking Ahead: Food Culture" study, the focus this year is on farmers markets and real, locally grown food made with healthy fats and whole grains and less on "fat-free" gimmick diets and high processed meals. Below are the top takeaways I found in their study. To read more about what food trends they predict for 2012, download their entire report here!
The food trend that excites me the most is the focus on more real food and less on artificial, synthesized and heavily processed products. What's trending is more real butter and less margarine, more full fat oils, avocados and peanut butters and less "low-fat" varieties, more grass-fed and cage-free meat and less vitamin enhanced proteins and more fresh produce and less supplements. Through the success of popular health blogs and shows like Dr. Oz, people are learning that some fats (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated) are good for you and eating real food makes you feel a heck of a lot better than processed ingredients you can't even pronounce. Plus, through the growth of real food, people are able to find more food locally, which means a growth in small businesses and local farms.
With the economy still in rough shape, the push to eat more local foods is not only good for struggling farmers and small businesses, but good for families who are troubled financially. Locally grown, fresh food is often more affordable since it doesn't have to be imported and heavily taxed. In addition, buy food that is in season to cut down on cost and get a product that is fresher as well. To find a farmers market near you, visit Local Harvest.org. To learn more about in-season produce and to find great recipes, visit the Eat Well Guide.
In the early 2000s and late '90s, it was all about the elimination diets. The Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet and the fat-free diet were a craze, with people swearing off carbohydrates and fat in order to shed unwanted weight. I was one of those crazed people and with each diet I felt worse. Completely eliminating a food group is not attainable, and most importantly, not healthy. So instead, the food trend in 2012 is more on eating less of everything. That means high fats, carbohydrates and even sweets are welcomed back with open arms, just with a measuring cup this time. Not only is this a healthier way to live, it's an easier way to live. You won't go through life feeling deprived.
Do you think these food trends will stick, especially with high processed foods still costing less than healthy, real produce and organic meat? What trends do you want to see in 2012?
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