Top 5 Food Trends of 2013

As 2013 comes to a close we reflect on the provocative stories, images and people that shaped our year.  Of course, as a dietitian I am focused on food trends and particularly interested in what foods came into focus on 2013.

Vegan "Cheesy" Chips are a delicious way to turn kale into a grab-n-go snack.
Vegan “Cheesy” Chips are a delicious way to turn kale into a grab-n-go snack.

1. Ancient grains

Over the past several years American’s consumption of quinoa and other grains has risen. Whether it is a granola bar, baked item, breakfast cereal or packaged as a quick cooking convenience food, ancient grains are taking over the supermarket. Greater access to these nutrient dense grains is making them part of our everyday diet and turning something that was once only enjoyed by a select few to something enjoyed by many.

2. Petite desserts

Small, tiny desserts have taken over. This terrific trend truly allows us to “have our cake and eat it too.”  The great thing about petite desserts is that they are not a compromise on decadent ingredients or short on flavor, but they are perfectly portioned to allow us to indulge without overdoing it.

3. Kale, Brussels sprouts and beets, Oh my!

The produce department is delighting in our new found interest in antioxidant rich kale, Brussels sprouts and beets. With an abundance of exciting recipes that incorporate kale and Brussels sprouts and easier access to beets with products like 3 Guiding Star LOVE BEETS we are eating more of these vegetables than ever before.

4. Buying Local

Another trend worth celebrating, buying local is outshining any other purchase trend.  A report released in March 2013 by the Congressional Research Service  found that in 2008 local foods sales accounted for 1.6% of the US market for agricultural products. More and more people are eating seasonally and supporting local agriculture as well as local small food producers. Organic or not, people are embracing the positive environmental impact of going local, which doesn’t require our food to be transported and means less fuel and fewer trucks on the roads.

5. Going Nuts

“Eat nuts and live longer,” concluded a new study published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine.  Luckily we are eating more nuts than ever. The NPD group, which conducts food and beverage market research, reports that 77% of US households have nuts on hand to consume morning, noon or night as part of a meal or go-to snack. We always knew they were a terrific fiber rich snack that was high in “good” monounsaturated fat, but now we also know they are adding years to our life.

Join the Conversation!

What new foods were you thrilled to discover in 2013? What trends do you think we’ll start to see in 2014?