Food Trends for 2011: Part One

My Personal Reflections Regarding Food Trends for 2011

As a new decade approaches, I wander about what kinds of change I will see this year in my local food community, and beyond. What trends do I foresee in 2011?

I am not a trend setter, but I am a doer. And, I do work to generate interest, influence and enthusiasm in what I believe in”¦ however, sadly, the world does not revolve around me. It revolves around economics.

The first ten years of this new millennium are viewed as “The Decade From Hell” in Time Magazine’s November 25th, 2009 issue. Of course politics, and economics affect the food industry.

A fantastic short read by the online Good Magazine suggests that the first decade has again changed our relationship with food and offers up a revealing time line.

During these ten years, the opportunity to own a personal website (and blog) coupled with the onslaught of social media have impacted the access of food information, specifically: formulation of ideas, conceptualization, collaboration and innovation. A fifth dimension has evolved through our silent, fresh, clean air as whispering clamours and chatter groups are now engaged in a non-stop fervour within the newly evolving blogoshere and our redefined social cyberspace.

Do not underestimate the power of you.

I believe the first ten years of this new millennium has delivered a new awareness of the importance of good, clean and fair food to the public eye. The importance of buying fresh and local ingredients has been introduced. More people are asking good questions about what they are eating. More people understand the importance of homemade on their kitchen table. More people are joining together to make a difference to their local food economy. In Edmonton, there is the GEA, Edmonton Slow Food, and more.

More. But, not enough.

In the last ten years giant food corporations like Monsanto, (Monsanto Canada), Tyson, and Smithfield have more control over the industry than ever before. Yet, few are aware.

Few. Definitely not enough.

So, what trends do I foresee for the second ten year set in this new millennium?

From Consumers:

  1. More consumers will continue to get “œback to basics” in cooking and in buying and eating “œreal food”. That excites me.
  2. Consumers will be looking for more nutritious meal kits and packages to buy that are prepared to take home without much family effort. Peeled, chopped, ready to cook vegetables will become more accessible in the grocery stores. My wish would be that the cooking would be a family activity. (Someone needs to package a kit that contains only real food* with a recipe!)
  3. Consumers will begin to preserve more and understand the importance of preserving. There has been a huge increase in preserving rearing its head in the blogosphere and in new cookbook publications the past 3 years. I believe in the next few years there will be a rebirth in canning and preserving of food. This inspires me.
  4. Consumers will focus more on cooking seasonally according to what is available and fresh in their area. This makes good sense to me.
  5. Consumers that are cooking at home will be looking at shaking things up: adding interest and excitement to traditional favourites like introducing an exotic spice to an everyday dish. The mixing up of traditional savoury with sweet tastes will also rear its head in the home kitchen, and in restaurants.

*real food: food that is not pre-packaged or processed

From Industry:

  1. Major industrial companies will continue to jump on the “œfresh and local” bandwagon to gain an advantage in the public eye to push a wellness advantage. That scares me.
  2. Convenience foods will continue to grow and expand in the grocery stores with a focus on “œfresh”, but peeled and cooked, skinless and boneless, etc. That concerns me.
  3. Fast Food chains will continue to grow and expand with a focus on “œhealthier” foods. The semantics worry me.
  4. Convenience foods will be advertised as packaged with “œhealthier” ingredients and only one or two additions will “œmake it a meal”, or a “œloaf”. That is a repeat of what happened in the 70’s with nutrients being “œplugged into” non-nutritious not-real food products. This is a serious worry for me.
  5. Government agencies and representatives will continue to be influenced through the giants in the food industry by economics instead of health facts and common sense. That motivates me.

The Thoughts of Others:

I have surveyed some of my favourite local and not so local food people for their point of view regarding food trends for 2011. I asked four questions:

1. What do you see as the major food trends locally  (wherever you are from) for 2011?
2. What do you see as major trends throughout Canada and or the US?
3. What would your most sincere hope, wish, or desire be to see as a food trend in 2011?
4. Any other comments…

I will be posting the thoughts of others the next few days before the new year.

What to look forward to?

Thoughts from a variety of Edmontonians, Albertans and others: Food Writers,  Local Food Bloggers, Chefs, and  Farmers

I also look forward to you adding your personal insights into trends you foresee in your local area, region, or globally for 2011! Please, chime in!!


  1. June says

    I agree with your assessment of what is coming. I’m very concerned about the same things you are. I am also concerned that the public gets so divided about different diets, and whether you are a veggie or meat eater, that they don’t watch what is happening to the quality of their food.

    My husband and I have gardened and canned for well over 28 years. We live in the city with a good sized back yard. Both of us come from families who canned. We have recently considered offering courses to others who want to pick up the habit. We have developed many great family recipes and have inherited many. My husband’s grandmother used to line up her canning, jams, and jellies and comment that she was a rich woman. She would point to what she called, “her jewels” on the shelf. It is this attitude I want to inspire in this generation and those to come!

    Thanks for your wonderful thoughts. Happy New Year from the Okanagan, B.C.

    • Valerie says

      June: What a wonderful vignette about your grandmother! I am so thankful you have added your insight as you will definitely be hearing from me regarding your favourite recipes come canning season!

  2. says

    I think and hope that awareness about the benefits of homemade, fresh food will only grow in 2011 and that more people will jump on the local and seasonal cooking bandwagon. The benefits of homemade food are endless. I think you are definitely right that as bloggers we have a serious influence on the spread of information. I think as a whole food bloggers tend to be very health conscious and aware of what they are putting into their bodies. We are the biggest proponents of healthy season eating and we shouldn’t take that responsibility lightly! Great post.

  3. says

    THis was a fascinating post. For me, what I’d like to see in the future is that we become more conscious of the food we waste. Not only is this important during times of economic crisis, but it’s just sad to see good food going into the garbage when there are so many needy people out there.
    HOpe you had a marvellous Christmas daaaaaahling
    *kisses* HH

    • Valerie says

      Oh what a wonderful reminder! After I bought my Thermomix, I could not believe how I was using what I used to throw out. I detest – and refuse – to throw out food… but, sometimes… it just happens. I have personally cut my kitchen waste down to almost zero. But, now, there is the restaurant waste… and so much more. What a great wish!
      One more for me… that I did not include, but that is just me… is that parents teach their children to cook and cook with them every night!
      Happy New Year, Sweet HH. I can’t wait to hear how you bring it in!

  4. says

    I think consumers will grow more of their food and focus on simplicity but concentrated flavours in meals. I most certainly will be doing what I just wrote – start a proper garden :-). Have a blessed season

  5. says

    Valerie, this is a great post & very to the point & well thought out. I would love to see & motivate folks to get into the kitchen to prepare meals made with whole food ingredients. I want to encourage them to prep veggies ahead of time so they are ready when they need them. Leftovers are King. People need to cook from scratch & then have meals ready in big batches for homemade “fast food.” Real food is the only thing that will set our bodies & minds free :) XO

    • Valerie says

      I love the end of your comment! “Real food is the only thing that will set our bodies & minds free :) XO” so true!

  6. says

    Val, you are SPOT ON with your own observations, well done. You are obviously plugged in girlfriend & we all need on the ground observations like this especially as your so informed.
    My personal observation is a little more cynical than yours (I wish it were otherwise) – but I think there will be a growing dependency on consumers buying what they think is good & healthy – I think the root cause is a majority have grown up confused about what food is & its place in our “health, wealth & happiness” (Oh I could go on…., take that soapbox away from me Val.. quick :)…., this is a pet passion of mine).
    Recently I read an extraordinary good restaurant review from one of our top chefs & a food reviewer who together reported on how difficult it was to source locally a complete “seasonal” local 3 hat restaurant calibre style menu (although in the instance reported they did, and charged a fortune for it). But the truth is especially in cities buying local (& being able to rely on local) on a commercial level isn’t as easy as it sounds. We, the customer have become used to Mangos from the Maldives & Oysters from New Zealand etc etc. So, there’s a problem to start with.
    On the ground level though… I believe we (through the blogosphere) & we who organise our families meals can make a huge difference. I think the change will come from a grass roots level.
    I think I should step off my soap box here now. Thank you Val for introducing this subject…, excellent :)

    • Valerie says

      Move over, girl, or let’s get a double sized soap box. I learned more than I ever expected to by teaching Foods (how to cook) to middle school students. Most of their parents don’t even have groceries in the house, let alone cook. Just boxes of things to eat. We really do have ourselves in a sad state of affairs. I hope you are not so right… but, it will probably get worse before it gets better as the consumer does believe what they read, and many do not care as long as it is cheap and tastes good. (Are you hearing a crescendo meeting your thoughts somewhere about now?)

  7. says

    Valerie, I just haven’t had time to thoroughly read through your food trend posts until this evening after the dust settled from the Christmas holiday. I find it a fascinating subject and can’t wait to read through the rest of the series.

    It’s my personal belief that fast food and carbonated beverages (included diet drinks which increase appetite) are two factors of our weight epidemic in America. I do not use or support either. Many people don’t understand how important it is to simply drink water.

    • Valerie says

      What a timely insight. This is one of my personal struggles and a resolution for me in 2011. Some baby steps, and some big ones.

  8. says

    Very interesting reading, and I think you are a good trend-spotter. I moved backed to Ottawa after many years away, and I see a vibrant food community here. The local markets are still going strong, and more have been added, but now we are concerned that the produce is actually local and is labelled accurately. Many restaurants here are very proud of using local ingredients, and I grew up in a family of canners and proudly continue the tradition. I don’t buy processed food and have little understanding of those who do. I enjoy cooking, and I don’t think it takes much more time, but I need to get off my soapbox and understand those who simply don’t know how to make everything from scratch. I gave many gifts of food this holiday season, and those were the most appreciated items. I need to have more gatherings where we cook together and eat and learn. happy new year to you and yours.

    • Valerie says

      I totally agree with your last point. That is one of the reasons I started the Cooking School and am inviting those who excel in certain areas to share that expertise with others. But, I too need to have more gatherings where we cook and learn together. I love that idea and am now going to actually “schedule it in”!
      Happy 2011!

  9. says

    I really love this post and your predictions just make me feel happy… I am in the US and specifically Southern California, so there are many things I am seeing that are moving us in these directions :)
    P.S. See you on facebook now and I am following, posted your page to my wall so other can check it out :)

  10. says

    When I saw that you had posted this Food Trend series I got excited to read your take on it all (and what others had to say)

    I would have to agree that it is a little scary when industry jumps on the bandwagon – they get tricky with the wording and confuse consumers – like ‘organic’ or ‘free-range” Sigh….

    I was happy to have finally recovered from grad school by being able to read some non-fiction over the winter break, so I read Omnivore’s Dilemma and Eating Animals and cried through both. They both left me feeling pretty sad and hopeless, but when I did a little research around Edmonton I was happy to come across The Organic Box and find out I can get eggs delivered every Wednesday from a co-worker’s farm :)

    Again, on the book front – I am really excited to read Locavore which I spied at your house this summer-when it comes out in softcover -or I may “e-book it” if I get a Kindle next month. Now that is exciting!

    My hubby and I are going to see some Food Trends in our home this year b/c of those two books and I am really excited!!

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