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Looking Ahead to Food and Nutrition Trends for 2012

December 29, 2011

WOW!  This year flew by!  As 2011 comes to an end, I want to wrap up some of the food and nutrition trends that really took off this year.  Looking back, it seems as though food simplicity was in style, where the consumer cared more about the quality of their food and where it was produced.  With this trending, locally grown foods also had its ups.  People started to take interest in purchasing food that came from farmers markets and small businesses rather than large corporations.

Increasing social networking and technology trends also made it easier for people to buy local.  Farmers befriended the internet and used the social media to reach out to their consumers and advertise their production.  Farmers and ranchers even described sites like Facebook and Twitter to be a significant part of their job.  The American Farm Bureau’s 2010 Young Farmers and Ranchers Survey demonstrated that about 99% of farmers and ranchers between the ages of 18 and 35 uses the Internet.  The survey also showed that a third of those surveyed have a Facebook page and 10% of them use Twitter.  Social media trends have only just begun and are likely to be carried into next year.

How do you feel about yourself leaving the year 2011?  If you are feeling healthier than ever, take your own food and nutrition trends with you to 2012.  If not, watch out for some of these predicted trends in the upcoming year!


Eating out has always been a trendy topic in the food and nutrition realm.  However, it was only recent that people started to demand that nutrition facts be presented on their menus. This is a good thing! Considering another predicted 2012 trend is comfort food, it will benefit the American consumer to have the amount of fat, sugar and calories of their favorite foods right in front of them.  When the U.S. hit its highest peak in the recession, so did foods like cheeseburgers, mac ‘n cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, French fries and ice cream.  Culinary experts are going to new extremes to make these comfort foods even more comforting.  They are creating new tastes that Americans will drool over.  But wait, just because comfort foods are predicted to be hot in the New Year does not mean you have to choose them!  Thankfully, the expansion of restaurant menus is another prediction.  People want options and restaurants want people.  Two sided menus with a variety of healthy options for consumers to choose from are also expected in 2012. Take advantage of this!

Ethnic foods have also reached new heights.  Thai, Korean and Indian cuisines made the cut for restaurant predictions in 2012.  These authentic foods are expected to become more refined in the American food culture.

Every year brings in both healthy and unhealthy trends.  As it is difficult and almost impossible to change the entire food industry, challenge yourself in this upcoming New Year and start your own trend!  Think about all of the hard work you put in during 2011 and make goals for yourself. Keep the 2011 “buying local” tendency in the back of your mind and when you eat out, make smart decisions.  Eat out for special occasions only. At restaurants use the nutrition facts panel if it is available to you, watch your portion sizes and choose healthier side dishes such as steamed vegetables or a garden salad with light dressing.

Remember, it’s a new year for a new you!  Have a happy and healthy New Year and let me know what changes you decide to make in 2012!



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