The Big Food ‘Trends’ of 2013 – Tops or Flops?

Okay… They call them trends… I call most of them fads. Trends mark a change in the way we, as a society, behave. Fads come and go in a few months, or even weeks. I predict that most of the ‘trends’ noted by Yahoo! in a recent post will go the way of the Cupcake…

The only Real Trend: A popular Calgary, Alberta Food truck. Regulations on
where Trucks can operate in Canadian cities are much harsher than in U.S. cities.
Therefore, Canadian Food Trucks are fewer and farther between…

Yeh… You remember the Cupcake Craze of 2011-2012. It was touted as a major trend in desserting and snacking across the Western World. Hah! And, no sooner had thousands of would-be entrepreneurs opened up little bakeries selling Cupcakes exclusively, the shine wore off. It was just a fad. Woe betide those who can’t tell the difference and lose their shirts!

The Food Network even started up a show called Cupcake Wars, in which ‘famous’, ‘outstanding’ Cupcake bakers competed against each other in timed contests to see who could impress the Cupcake ‘expert’ judges. Gimme a break. (Apparently, though, the show has been cancelled, after going through only about a dozen cycles of reruns; a hurried exit for Food Network shows!)

So… Yahoo! has come out with its list of Top Food Trends of 2013. And that means it’s time for me to put on my Fad-Buster’s hat and get the hype under control.

10. Food Trucks: Not a Fad, actually! This is a solid trend that can trace its roots back at least to the hand carts from which NYC entrepreneur Nathan Handwerker started selling his Original Hot Dogs back in 1916. Street Food, as a whole, has been a part of life the world over for centuries. Definitely NOT a fad.

9. Gourmet Doughnuts: Successor to Cupcakes; precursor of the Cronut (see below). Fad with a capital ‘F’.

8. Vegan Diet: Again, vegetarianism, and even veganism (though on a lesser scale) have been practiced by folks in various cultures for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Not a fad or a trend. It just IS, period.

7. Insect Cuisine: To be even a fad, let alone a trend, something has to be popular. Eating insects is no more than a curiosity, and a fleeting one, at that. Except, perhaps for some Asian cultures where they’ve been eating Toasted Crickets, Barbecued Scorpions and such since time immemorial. And don’t forget that some folks class Shrimps, Crawdad, Lobsters and their close relations as insects, but the similarities are only superficial. Completely different creatures, from a scientific perspective. Anyway… For us westerners: Insects as food? Fad, fad, fad…

6. Gluten-free foods: Should be a habit, not merely a trend if you have a sensitivity to Gluten. But there’s no proven reason for most of us to avoid Gluten – though the makers of Gluten-free products and ingredients would like you to believe so. They’re trying to manufacture a trend through advertising and promotion. They’ve managed to create barely a Fad, if that.

5. Asian Hot Sauce: Sriracha, or Indonesian Hot pepper Sauce, is the latest Asian/Fusion fad. I say that because, although it’s an Indonesian staple, it has not been integrated into the Western Diet the way Tabasco Pepper Sauce (from Mexico) or Hot Chili Pepper (from the Caribbean and Central America) has. A fashionable fad, which is already fading.

4. Greek Style Yoghurt: It’s thicker and creamier and tangier than ‘regular’ yoghurt. And it’s been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s just caught the attention of foodies and food writers in recent months because it’s been mercilessly advertised and pushed at us by Yoghurt makers who needed something new to offer us to differentiate themselves from the competition. Neither fad not trend. Just more heavy advertising.

3. Home Juicing: A fad that just won’t die. A few health-conscious types and body-builders have been promoting juicing for a couple of decades as a way of concentrating nutrients from all manner of foods and making them easier to consume. Most folks who go out and buy a juicer, all excited by that 90-minute Sunday Morning TV infomercial, end up putting the devices out for their next garage sale.

2. The Ramen Burger: Ramen Instant Noodles – dietary staple of generations of college students, along with Kraft Dinner – have had a resurgence of popularity in the past few months. Nothing new, really, except for a lot of hype and hoopla in social media circles. The main thread of this fad has been, ‘how many ways can you think of to use Ramen noodles?’ Making a patty of them and using it as the top bun for a burger is one that was new to me before I read the Yahoo! trends post. One guy is NYC is doing it. Dumb fad – if a genuine fad, at all.

And… The number one food ‘trend’ of 2013 according to Yahoo! is…

1. The Cronut: Part Croissant, part Doughnut. Made its first appearance last May and has since enjoyed a huge amount of publicity. But it’s already on the down-slope of the roller-coaster Fad Curve. Hadn’t heard a peep, about the Cronut in weeks prior to reading the Yahoo! year-end overview post. Ho, hum…

And there you have it! My take on Yahoo!’s Top Food Trends of 2013: Mostly flimsy fads or old standard favourites coming around for another turn on the old lazy-susan…

Hope you had a yummy 2013… And Here’s to a delicious New Year!

~ Maggie J.