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Side Dish | August 2010
Keeping you on top of the latest culinary trends and headlines in the food & beverage industry.

Handpicked by Kara Nielsen, CCD Innovation Trendologist


The Food Craft Movement: Finally a term that groups together a number of trends we've been watching lately: Artisan Foods, Slow Food, street foods and the bursting DIY food arena. Food Craft. This is the term Anya Fernald, director of Live Culture, used in her July 29, 2010 Food Craft Manifesto.

Last year, Fernald and a group of ardent food folk put on a wonderful celebration of food producers (mainly street food vendors and food trucks) at the multi-day Eat Real Festival in Oakland, Calif. In advance of this year's, starting August 27, she penned a manifesto defining Food Craft ("the transformation of raw ingredients with techniques that change and build flavor, make foods last longer, and increase the impact of land and place on flavor") in an effort to "revitalize and re-energize American food." The idea is to continue to support local farms and producers who grow and make sustainable food products using "the ancient arts of preparing, processing and conserving." They hope to put taste above productivity as a way to make delicious food that also builds community. Read full feature story »

Food Craft Related News: Michigan has passed two bills making it legal to sell certain foods made in a private home without a license from the Department of Agriculture. Baked goods, jam and jellies, candy, vinegar, dried fruit, herbs and mixes need to be properly labeled to reflect they are homemade. These measures allow cottage food producers to sell at farmers markets, roadside stands, county fairs, flea markets and festivals. This is another way artisan producers are being supported and encouraged. (Detroit Free Press, 7/12)

Consumers embrace simplicity: According to market research firm Innova, the use of simple, wholesome ingredients with minimal processing is a key area of interest for consumers today. There is a significant rise in product claims around simplicity: homemade, homestyle, like grandma made and simple. U.S. product examples include Milky Way Simply Caramel Bar, Pillsbury Simply Cookie Dough. (PR Newswire, 7/13)


Kara The Soda Awakening: We talked about 21st Century Sodas in our Beverage Culinary Trend Mapping report earlier this year and this trend continues to expand with artisanal sodas appearing in restaurants and grocery stores. New York magazine explored the seasonal, DIY soda invasion at restaurants like Northern Spy Food Co. and Má Pêche, to the refurbished soda fountain at Brooklyn Farmacy, which serves fresh cream, hibiscus, lime and ginger sodas. (New York, 8/2)

Walgreens hopes to be destination for dinner: In a bid to become a player in the fresh food sector, Walgreens is testing chilled foods at 12 stores this fall. They may sell sandwiches, fresh-cut fruit, soups and wraps. Other items on the horizon include more meals like chicken Marsala and General Tso's chicken. One more place to pick up a meal! (Chicago Breaking Business, 7/2)

Skip the Scotch, just have a sip of mellowberry: The relaxation beverage market is expected to hit $500 million in sales revenue this year with some 350 kinds of drinks available. The drinks promise a variety of benefits, from relaxation to jet lag relief to improved concentration. Ingredients used, like melatonin, valerian root and rose hips, cause some medical professionals concern. It's not likely these will become as popular as energy drinks, but their presence does indicate how no niche remains unturned in the ever-expanding beverage market. (New York Times, 7/2)

Proctor & Gamble boosts bet on exclusive brands: In an effort to regain market share and compete against private label, P&G created a special line of Pringles for Tesco in the U.K. The line of "Great British Flavours" chips include sea salt & black pepper, smokey bacon, kebab, and curry. (Business Courier, 7/9)

Ami's Squeeze Z Hummus: Hummus lovers in the New York area can now get their hummus on the go in new squeeze packs from Ami's. Hummus has definitely become a part of the American diet, considered healthful, tasty and fun. The squeeze packs are a natural fit for hummus lovers, especially Gen Y. (Business Wire, 7/14)


Kara Scandinavian cuisine heats up: Everyone always wants to know what global cuisine will be the next to make its mark on the American food landscape. While Korean is doing really well right now, thanks to the influx of Korean taco street food found from L.A. to Indianapolis to Atlanta, others are noticing a buzz around Scandinavian cuisine. This stems from the fact that a Copenhagen restaurant, Noma, was recently named the best in the world by British trade publication Restaurant. Chef-owner-creative genius Rene Redzepi is coming this fall to the U.S. to promote the restaurant's new cookbook, surely adding to the enthusiasm and discovery. He joins other ambassadors Marcus Samuelsson and Andres Viestad, author of Kitchen of Light in getting out the world about Scandinavian food. (Nation's Restaurant News, 7/30)

Poutine: In the past, I have avoided poutine while visiting Montréal. Maybe the idea of cheese curds was a turn-off in a land full of amazing raw milk cheeses. But I realized what I was missing in 2008 at the All-Star Sandwich Bar in Cambridge, Mass. Poutine also appeared around that time in San Francisco at Salt House. Its was a more refined version with beef short rib sauce and fancier cheese. In New York last month, I dug into a more quotidian version at Pommes Frites, a humble fry shop in the East Village. Now I see poutine making its way across the country this year, fueled by the gastropub and craft beer trends. Chicago chefs have created unique versions featuring pulled pork, elk ragout and even duck confit. Vive l'innovation. (Timeout Chicago, Jan.)



The tortilla takes a road trip to Korea: We profiled Korean cuisine in our Emerging Global Cuisines Culinary Trend Mapping Report and also talked about Korean tacos in our recent Street Food Report. Clearly the Korean taco of Kogi Taco's in L.A. has been an inspiration to budding entrepreneurs across the country. Look for them in Indianapolis and Atlanta, among many other cities. The speed of this trend indicates how fast trends can move these days and how powerful the street food trend is for both producers and consumers. (New York Times, 7/28)

Taco Bell launches street-food inspired tacos: The new Cantina Tacos come in fire-grilled chicken, beef carne asada and pork carnitas; they are served on corn tortillas topped with chopped onion, cilantro and a lime wedge, very traditional. (Nation's Restaurant News, 8/2)

Artisan Foods
In a time when many people feel increasingly distant from the means of production for what they eat, artisan foods carry inherent value by granting consumers an opportunity to know where their food comes from, to see the hands that made it and to understand how it is made. Powering this artisan food trend are several important drivers that revolve around local and seasonal eating, a love of handmade and authentic food, a quest for exciting new flavors, and a desire to engage with food and producers.

Trend Profiles:
Stage 1: Gastropubs
Stage 2: Condiments, Preserved Foods & Heirloom Produce; Boutique Booze; Handmade Ice Cream
Stage 3: Butchery
Stage 4: Artisan Pizza
Stage 5: Reinvented American Cheese

Chefs' Council® Interview: Adrian Hoffman


Artisanal America:
Small batch products aren't just for hipsters from Brooklyn or Portland these days. The American public is hopped up on the spirit of the handcrafted and painstakingly procured, according to this feature in Details. We seek the provenance, the narrative, the producer behind the product to add value to our lives. These products exhibit expertise, discriminating selection of materials and time-consuming craftsmanship, all things more people are responding to, perhaps in reaction to the huge and global scale of mass production. Is this all about restoring a sense of scale? (Details, August)

You scream, I the price of ice cream:
Perhaps the only downside to the Handmade Ice Cream trend, profiled in our Artisan Foods Culinary Trend Mapping Report, is the cost. As many people know, high quality, handmade products demand a higher price, especially if the milk or flavorings are organic. Yet, is it worth it? After my recent trip to New York City and a sampling of gelato at Il Laboratorio del Gelato and Grom, I would say yes. It's an affordable indulgence, as this New York Times article states, and many of these flavors are ephemeral, here today with ripe fruit, gone tomorrow with a change in the season. The rhubarb and grape sorbets I savored at Il Laboratorio were incredible, one of the best things I tasted on my trip. These guys really know what they are doing, and it feels good to support them. (New York Times, 8/4)