Where is the local-sustainable food movement heading? What trends can we expect to see in our locale and beyond in the coming year? We asked our blog contributors and a few of our friends to weigh in and the results are as diverse as the bounty our local lands and waters provide.
“I see more people than ever growing at least some portion of what they eat in home and community gardens and more home cooks preparing food from local sources (and consummate growth in demand for cooking classes).” Analiese Paik, founder/editor, Fairfield Green Food Guide
“The organic food category will continue to see double digit growth and higher prices will become evident as we compete for precious land and natural resources. I see strong growth in large landowners leasing a portion of their estates to young farmers (think Speckled Rooster in Westport) to increase local production and provide young farmers with the experience they need without requiring them to buy their own farms.” Analiese Paik, founder/editor, Fairfield Green Food Guide
“There is a groundswell of interest in heritage and heirloom foods (a boon to biodiversity), including cheese made from milk from rare Devon cows (heritage milk cheese), heirloom fruits and vegetables, and meat and poultry from rare cow, sheep, pig, turkey and chicken breeds.” Analiese Paik, founder/editor, Fairfield Green Food Guide
“The high-end specialty food category will continue to see strong growth and new product introductions as consumers slow down and begin to taste and appreciate the unique flavors and sense of place (terroir) reflected in single origin, single varietal chocolates, teas, coffees, olive oils and honeys.” Analiese Paik, founder/editor, Fairfield Green Food Guide
“New and exciting craft beers and micro-distilled spirits will continue to experience huge successes as consumers show preferences for traditional beverages with interesting back stories. Once-lost crops – like beer hops now being grown by farmers in New York state – will usher in a new era of restoring lost local brewing and distilling traditions.” Analiese Paik, founder/editor, Fairfield Green Food Guide
“Artisan foods, including cheeses, charcuterie, jams, jellies and specialty sauces, will continue to replace industrial choices in the homes of discerning consumers willing to pay more for higher quality, handmade products which showcase the finest local and organic ingredients.” Analiese Paik, founder/editor, Fairfield Green Food Guide
“Pop-up food. Seasonal foods made in small batches. Now you see them, now you don’t. When they’re gone, they’re gone.” Lloyd Allen, The Double L Market, Westport. http://www.doublelmarket.com/
“The trend we’re seeing at the Milkbar is non-caffeinated, ‘natural’ beverages. Herbal tea (hot & cold) and juice consistently outsell coffee. Many customers come in saying, “I’m not doing caffeine anymore,” or “I quit coffee for health reasons.” Perhaps this is because we’ve become known for our sweet herbal tea blends, but 7 out of 10 people ask for tea over any other beverage, regardless of gender and time of day.” Jeena Choi, Babycat Milkbar and MamaCat’s Q Tea, Wilton http://www.mcqtea.com/Home.html
“Diners are jumping at the opportunity to eat at the source. Dinners at area farms have been so successful because we want to know our farmers, see the crops in the field, and enjoy flavors at their peak. As these farm to table dinners, at the farms and in area restaurants, gain popularity, I believe we will see them offered more frequently. Getting diners to the source of their food will encourage them to make shopping their farmers’ markets a weekly habit, too.” Liz Rueven, founder Kosher Like Me, www.kosherlikeme.com
Naked Wine. “This past year, I have noticed more wineries producing wines that have been made with less intervention on the part of the winemaker. Many are using grapes that have been grown more sustainably, or have been grown using organic and/or biodynamic methods. Less intervention usually means the wine produced is more reflective of its terroir. One of the most exciting non-intervention trends I have seen is an increase in winemakers using indigenous, or wild, yeasts as opposed to cultured yeasts. Wild yeast is naturally present on grape skins and in the air. Although many winemakers eschew their use due to difficulty predicting the taste of the end product, indigenous yeasts produce wine that is more reflective of its terroir.” Cheers! Renee B. Allen, founder, Wine Institute of New England http://wineinstituteofnewengland.com/
Stop and Taste the Honey…all the honeys. “We are clearly seeing a defined trend in the way customers choose their honey. They are consciously tasting and choosing single-origin honeys by their individual flavor profile preferences. They are also understanding that pure honey is an agricultural product with limited availability.” Marina Marchese, founder of Red Bee Honey, Weston, CT. http://www.redbee.com/
“I’ve seen a huge increase in DIY foods- from make your own bread and butter, to kits for making cheese and pickles at home– even brewing your own kombucha! Another trend is school gardens. I’m hearing about more and more schools throughout Fairfield County that are putting in small gardens to help teach children where their food comes from. Kids help plant, tend and harvest the produce, as part of their regular school day. I love it!” Jennifer Spaide, founder/editor, Simplicious Magazine www.simpliciousmag.com
Consumers are Catching on about Sustainable Seafood “Consumer awareness of poor management of our fisheries is on the rise thanks to responsible educational campaigns from the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Whole Foods. Shoppers are beginning to understand whether or not the fish on their plates (or in the fish case) was sustainably harvested or was caught through poor management practices, and making more responsible choices.” Betsy Keller, MS RD
What trends do you see? Please share them below, on our Facebook page, or submit them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.