The Kitchen Think: Food Trends for 2014

Food Trend: Brazilian Caranguejo Stew

Food Trend: Brazilian Caranguejo Stew

If the Food Trend Gurus are correct, in 2014 you’re going to be eating a lot of gluten-free Brazilian food that is locally sourced from an environmentally sustainable garden.

The food trend forecast is not as wacky as it sounds.

We’re becoming more adventurous (and more picky) with our food choices. Think about it: 10 years ago, could you purchase sushi in the average supermarket? Nope.

Last year, locally sourced and gluten-free were the biggest food trends. This year, they are back and bigger than ever. Children’s nutrition, also big last year, fell off a bit, but it still cracks the top 10.

Why Brazilian food? Brazil is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, so that country’s seafood stews and local ingredients will probably become more popular as the year goes by.

Here are the hot food trends for 2014, according to the National Restaurant Association and American Culinary Foundation:

• Locally sourced meat and seafood
• Locally grown produce
• Environmental sustainability
• Healthy kids’ meals
• Gluten-free cuisine
• Hyper local food sourcing (like restaurant gardens)
• Children’s nutrition
• Non-wheat noodles (think quinoa, black rice)
• Sustainable seafood
• Farm/estate branded items

The fastest rising trends that didn’t quite crack the top 10 include:
• Nose-to-Tail, Root-to-Stalk cooking
• Pickling
• Ramen
• Dark Greens
• Brazilian, Southeast Asian, Peruvian and Korean cuisine

And the least trendy? Let’s just say sweet potato fries and salted caramel have had their day.

Kitchen Think: We Want Healthy Food! (Yeah, Right…)


When Mama’s generation was growing up (or as Carlos likes to say, “Back in the day…”), I don’t remember parents  making themselves as nuts as they do today about what their kids ate.

Sure, we were told to eat our vegetables and drink our milk. But there wasn’t all this screaming about fast food joints serving “healthy” kids meals.  I know you’re going to say that’s because fast food places weren’t so ubiquitous.

But there are other reasons, as well: Eating at a McDonald’s or KFC or Pizza Hut was a treat, not a daily dining option; Americans hadn’t yet become fixated on the easy meal loaded with fat, sugar and sodium… and, of course, childhood obesity wasn’t an epidemic.

Now, we’re trying to undo our collective vice of bad nutrition habits… at least that’s what the National Restaurant Association 2012 Industry Forecast shows.  A consumer survey indicates that we want restaurants and fast food places to offer up healthier options. Take a look at the list of what parents NOW say they want:

1.    Healthy kids meals
2.    Fruits ad veggies in kids meals
3.    Gluten-free items
4.    Low-fat or non-fat milk and 100% orange juice options in kids meals
5.    Locally sourced produce
6.    Lower sodium items
7.    Spicy items
8.    Lower-calorie options
9.    Mini-desserts or dessert bites
10.  Low-fat foods

Sorry for being cynical, but it seems to me that we’re only paying lip service to wanting a healthier lifestyle. The Restaurant survey also shows that French fries, jumbo soft drinks and beef items are still the top items ordered at fast food restaurants… not salads or skinless chicken breast sandwiches.

Ask people what they want in a survey, and they are going to give you a litany of healthy options—what they actually order is something else entirely.  Hmmm…My guess is that all those people saying they want healthy options are the same folks who say they only listen to NPR and only watch PBS.

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: