The Insider: the year’s food trends predicted

I’m something of a cheese and pie addict, writes Helen Chantrey.

So it was a stroke of fortune when my fiancé’s job led us to settle near Melton Mowbray. I’ve been amazed by how many fantastic food businesses are on our doorstep. We find ourselves planning weekends wholly around delis, restaurants and farm shops.

In this blog, I’m going to predict which food trends are likely to stick around and emerge in 2011.

1) Home cooking and entertaining

We’re going to continue to love hunkering down in the heart of our homes – the kitchen – through home cooking, Sunday lunches and informal dinner parties. Unlike the ‘90s, when this was also in fashion, today it’s less about hiding away because technology has opened up more ways to socialise and connect than ever. There are lots of opportunities for local food businesses to ride on this. Expect home-cooking classes, cooking clubs, readymeals and kitchenware parties to grow.

2) The Real Local

We’re likely to see ‘local’ in every area of food, from farmers’ markets to global brands. People want more than to simply hear a claim about a product being fresh or natural. They also want to know it’s unique, with an authentic story behind it.

3) Back to British

When economic times are tough our true British colours tend to come out. I predict they will shine in 2011. With a certain wedding to celebrate, expect street and garden parties, bunting and British classics on the menu. Experts have also forecast it will be the year of that great British favourite – the pie (sweet and savoury) and its popularity is likely to bypass even the cupcake phenomenon. This is great news for pie heartland Leicestershire.

4) Vegetable mania

Veg are going to become heroes in 2011. The revival of allotment culture, kitchen gardens, Paul McCartney’s Meatfree Monday initiative and frugal food means more people will be growing their own and eating veg. Look out for more vegetables on the menu, and interesting veggie initiatives – my local pub is already rumoured to be bartering villagers’ local produce in return for a pint.

5) Generosity

My personal favourite. It’s going to be a year of giving, donating and caring, according to www.trendwatching.com. And the best bit is, as consumers, we’re likely to see more RAOK (Random Acts Of Kindness) from food businesses. So look out for unexpected freebies and if you own a business, why not give a free meal to the occasional customer spontaneously? It’s a good way to get people talking.
Helen Chantrey

To visit Helen’s website, please click here.

More information on the writer…
Food marketing expert Helen Chantrey recently moved to Leicestershire from London, where she worked on a range of Blue Chip brands at Unilever Foods. Now running How Now Marketing, she’s passionate about local food.

If there are topics you would like to see written about in Helen’s magazine column – called The Insider – or blog, or you would like to hear more about how Helen could help your business, do send her an email. She’d love to hear from you. Helen@HowNowMarketing.com

Matt Wright
The author:

Matt lives in Leicestershire with his wife, two kids and dog. He is passionate about British pubs, slow food and home brewing. He founded Great Food Club (originally as Great Food Magazine) in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.