Food aficionados everywhere are trying to figure out the next cupcake phenomenon. But our food isn’t simple anymore. The social, economic and moral aspects that underpin it are shaping the landscape of food trends more than ever.

What do experts forecast for this year? Get a glimpse with these key takeaways from consulting and market research firm Hartman Group’s Looking Ahead: Food Culture 2012 report.

1. Chefs, rather than policymakers, are the food educators of our time.
2. Purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics in cooking define the “new local.”
3. Customized diets reflecting our genetic makeup dictate the future of health and wellness
(a trend also known as nutrigenomics).
4. Declining antifat sentiment contributes to a radical shift in thinking that says fat is actually good for us!
5. Soy goes from “being healthy” to being a food that’s “specifically avoided.”
6. For nonceliacs, avoiding gluten may mean a possible deficit of fiber and vitamins in the daily diet.
7. Snacks with balanced nutrients from real food sources appeal to consumers seeking quality
protein and fiber.
8. The return of personal interaction (versus self-checkout) at retail challenges “machines as
future problem solvers.”
9. At-shelf labels generate consumer interest in the hotly debated GMO (genetically modified
organism) issue.
10. The challenge with QR (Quick Response) codes is that they hold more interest
for marketers than consumers.

“Trending in” or on the way out, according to the Hartman Group, are these specific
foods, food groups or health practices:

Trending InTrending Out
real butter
grass-fed
sea salt
healthy fats
Stevia™

chicken thigh/dark meat
local, seasonal
whole eggs, cage free
farmstead cheese
the family dinner
heirloom marbled pork
fresh produce
portion control
dance/Zumba® v
craft beer
kettle potato chips
eating dark leafy greens
margarine
processed soy products
low sodium
fat free
artificial sweeteners
chicken breast/white meat
superfruits from afar
egg whites
processed factory cheese
activities trumping mealtime
the “other white meat”
excessive supplements
elimination diets (carbs, sugar, wheat)
treadmills
ultralite beer
baked potato chips
drinking wheat grass shots

Read the full report at www.hartman-group.com/downloads/looking-ahead-2012-trends.pdf. >>