CNIC: 2012 food trends

Jan. 15—At the Child Nutrition Industry Conference in Orlando Phil Lempert, founder/editor of, shared eight food trends for the coming year.

The trends are:

Food prices: Prices will continue to rise, and shoppers are buying less meat and seafood and more vegetables and grains

Never ship or eat alone: There will be more food blogs and mobile marketing. Communication and community are important in the dining experience

Increase in farm to fork: The farmer is the new food celebrity, and people want to know where their food comes from

• Ethnic food revolution

New role of the male shopper: Forty-one percent of at-home prepared meals are prepared by men

• Sugar is out

Sound of food: Freshness and readiness are being designated by sound

Lempert also talked about food trends as they pertain to kids. He said children have more taste buds in their cheeks and palates than adults and that texture is more important to children than taste. According to research by Cornell University and London Metropolitan Universities, kids prefer to have their entrées in the lower portion of their plates as opposed to adults’ preference of the center of the plate; kids prefer to have six to seven food colors ontheir plates as opposed to three for adults; and kids prefer figurative designs of their food.

In addition, Lempert said foodservice directors need to make food more enjoyable and make the cafeteria in to a community. He also said food trucks are influencing students’ preferences by introducing more exotic and ethnic items.

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