Thursday, January 9, 2014

What Will You Be Trying in 2014?
Food Trends

Each year brings new and exciting foods to the table. It is always interesting to see what takes off and what doesn't. We have seen crazes such as the slider burger, kale (of all things) and the cupcake just take off in recent years.  Plus, we have witnessed sauces such as Sriacha come to the forefront and grains like quinoa become mainstream. So, what will be this year's hottest trend?

According the experts, we will find doughnuts, cauliflower, coconut, salted caramels and roasted chicken scattered amongst restaurant menus in 2014. Cauliflower is expected to be the hot vegetable of the year, much like kale was in 2013. Some predict that swiss chard (a vegetable that we've worked with frequently here) will replace kale this year. But, look for cauliflower because of its versatility. Perhaps the most different way you can expect to see cauliflower this year will be when it's cut as a steak. Many chef's are trimming the vegetable and throwing it on the grill and using barbecue sauce or other flavorings to spice it up. They are making an extravagant meal out of a traditional side dish. 

Other trends should consist of the gourmet hamburger (which we do every Thursday accompanied by any draft beer for just $10) and flavored salts, similar to what you might find on our housemade potato chips. And we can all remember the cupcake craze of just a few years ago. How many cupcake stores opened (and how many closed) in just the last few years. Cupcakes were all I was ever hearing about. And now that the trend has begun to level off, a new sweet is on track to take over...........the doughnut. I still prefer a few of our local and longstanding bakeries for my morning delicacy, but you watch - there'll be a few new ones by the year's end.

Also, another trend to keep an eye on this year will be that of rising meat prices. We have been hearing for years that beef prices will increase, and for the most part, they have... just not by the swiftness that our industry was fearing. However, 2014 promises to be different as this year's supply appears to be short of demand. 2013 ended with cattle futures at record highs which will cap the longest string of annual gains in 50 years! The reported number of cattle in feedlots was the 2nd lowest on record and it's possible that beef production may fall 6% in 2014, to a level that hasn't been seen in over 20 years. According to government projections, consumers may pay as much as 3.5% more for beef in the coming year.

That cauliflower keeps sounding better and better.

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