Food show highlights new dining trends for 2013

July 18 2013

Delicious frozen desserts, meal starters with an international twist and creative uses of grains and seeds could all set to become popular among North American diners this season.

Canadian chefs who are looking to stay informed about the latest food trends may have been keeping an eye on developments from the recent Summer Fancy Food Show, which took place in New York at the end of June 2013.

During the event, a panel of trendspotters - including chefs, authors and writers for publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Specialty Food Media - picked out a number of dining options and products that could be set to become major culinary crazes over the next few months.

The first of these categories was Reinvented Frozen Treats, with innovative desserts such as smoothie and tea pops or bite-sized ice snacks delivering new flavours to consumers who love to enjoy something cold and refreshing during the hot weather.

Meanwhile, the Grains and Seeds in New Places trend will see chefs and food service operators becoming increasingly creative in their use of natural ingredients, producing dishes such as ravioli with sweet potato, quinoa and kale, or chocolate bars containing quinoa and sesame.

The experts also suggested Global Meal Starters are set to be a big draw this summer, as consumers purchase Korean, Thai, African and Greek cooking sauces to bring an international flavour to their home cooking.

Another popular food movement will be Retro Mania Done New, which capitalizes on diners' desire to experience favourite snacks from their younger days - such as hot chocolate, pancakes and ice cream sandwiches - re-envisioned with a modern twist.

Finally, the fifth category namechecked by the panel of trendspotters was Be Your Own Mixologist, a trend that will encourage drinks providers to come up with offbeat combinations when creating alcoholic beverages.

Event organizer the Specialty Food Association observed: "Other trends identified are single-serve snacks with calorie counts, Vietnamese flavors, chickpea and seaweed snacks, maple products and sweet and savory cookies.

"Trends with staying power identified at prior Fancy Food Shows include coconut, salted caramel and innovations in gluten-free foods."

The Specialty Food Association has more than 3,000 members in the US and abroad, including food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs, with many of these professionals in attendance at the Summer Fancy Food Show in order to see the 180,000 products on display from more than 2,400 businesses.

Reports such as this underline the importance of food service operators making sure they are aware of the latest culinary trends, in order to anticipate and meet customer demand during busy periods.

Earlier this year, McCormick published its own Flavour Forecast for 2013, highlighting sweet tea, smoked tomato, oregano, pecan wood, white peach, ginger and whiskey as the tastes of choice for this summer's grilling season.

Other popular trends highlighted by the report included DIY condiments, charred fruit drinks, breads on the grill and smoke & spice pairings, as well as five-minute marinating techniques to reduce cooking times.