Good Food Blog
What will we be eating in 2012?Posted at 12:02PM, 03 January 2012 by Rejina Sabur-Cross - Food writer
From cute cakes to trendy restaurants, 2011 was all about the pop, so what foodie highlights does 2012 have in store? Rejina Sabur-Cross predicts the top 10 food trends for the year ahead.
1) Functional food - As the grey pound gets ever-mightier, ingredients that promise to sluice your arteries, boost your memory and keep you bright-eyed and bushy tailed will be all over the shop. We'll be seeing so-called healthy additions like Omega 3s and plant phenols popping up in our grub, so keep an eye out for these multitasking boosters. There will also be greater transparency in our food and menu labelling when it comes to the controversial issue of GM foods, as well as more and more nut/gluten free products.
2) Retro gadgets - 2012 will be the year to dust off that slow cooker, soda stream and your nana's jam pan because the old classics will be gracing the trendiest of work surfaces. Food writer Catherine Phipps (who's much awaited pressure cooker cookbook comes out this summer) loves the way...''pressure cookers are 70% quicker than conventional methods. People are generally looking for faster, more economical ways to feed their families, without sacrificing flavour. The pressure cooker really delivers that.''
3) Grow your own - This year's boom in growing your own is set to go massive. There are currently over 100,000 people on our allotment waiting lists, and as our cynicism with supermarkets increases along with our demand for food provenance, the trend continues to go from strength to strength. With projects like The Alpha House vertical farm in Wythenshawe and the frankly brilliant Landshare scheme, the farm to fork ethos means that our unloved urban roof tops will gradually transform into the hearts and lungs of our cities.
4) Breakfast - it's the new lunch dontchaknow. Forget those pricey, time-consuming power lunches, because it's all about the perfect pre-work eggs Benedict. With restaurants now offering everything from bacon naan rolls to baked eggs with chorizo and blueberry friands to sort you out for the most important meal of the day, we're talking double helpings of comfort and thrift.
5) Jewish food - Jewish food is up for a bit of a renaissance. It seems the rest of the nation is catching on to what the delis of Golders Green in London have known for yonks. The matzo bowls at Mishkins deli and Sunday lunches at Kosher Roast are dishing up the sort of uniquely hearty fare that would make any Jewish mother proud.
6) Gourmet fast food - Food trucks, informal pop ups, food festivals, collectives like Eat Street, and The Long Table night market have all set the tone and pace for the way we want to eat. This year expect to see much more of the same, with our ever increasing appetites for seeking out the latest casual yet top-notch sharing plates. Whether it's a one off reindeer burger from Lucky Chip or a nimbus of steamed Chinese buns stuffed with miso mushrooms and walnuts, this is one trend that we can't get enough of. We'll also see many of these dishes filtering through to our supermarket ready meal shelves.
7) Sustainable seafood - The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations reports that 80% of fisheries are fully exploited, overfished, depleted or recovering from depletion. Meanwhile, fish farming practises are said to be causing a domino effect of negative impacts ranging from water pollution to altered ecosystems. In the face of these heartbreaking stats, cod and chips can make for a particularly treacherous supper choice. Options like haddock, gurnard and pollack will all become more popular. We should expect to see less loved alternatives like sprats, pouting and herrings increasingly on the menu too.
8) Filtered water bottles - Does anyone still drink bottled water? The coolest way to get hydrated these days is to invest in a water bottle that filters tap water for you. Cheap and recyclable, they come with built in replaceable filters, each of which are the equivalent of 300 single-serve plastic water bottles. So, over the course of a year, you're negating over a thousand bottles from the environment. Worth considering next time you reach for one of those bottles on the go...
9) Gutsy flavours - It could be down to our ageing taste buds, or maybe we're just more open to bolder tastes, but our collective palate is definitely trekking towards the brassier and the borderless. We're already stuffing our cheeseburgers with kimchi and radical chefs like the Young Turks have cottoned on to seasonings like pine to flavour their buttermilk fried chicken. Watch out for more irreverence in the face of tradition and a cheeky poke in the eye of authenticity when flavouring food.
10) National pride - Provenance is going to be big business in 2012, and the supermarket giants are all planning to aggressively expand their sales of locally grown produce. Jamie's new restaurant ''Union Jacks'' has opened to rave reviews and English wines are very much on the up. With the Olympics practically upon us, it looks like our British food scene and its celebration of the different ethnicities on our shores is finally one we can all be proud of.