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#8 Food Trend for 2010: I Want My Umami

One of 10 Top Food Trends Identified by The Food Channel®

This is one of The Food Channel’s Top 10 Food Trends for 2010, based on research conducted in conjunction with CultureWaves® and the International Food Futurists®. For the full list, check here.

I Want My Umami
The ‘foodie’ has settled into a more universal designation of someone who loves food—not a food snob. They are just as likely to want a PB&J as they are to try the latest soft shell crab sushi. And they may put French fries on it! The point is experimentation and a willingness to try new things. They are the ones who find their adventure leaning over the cookstove rather than climbing the mountaintop—although a mix of both would be just fine.

The new foodie is driving all kinds of adventures in flavor, too. A little butterscotch on my bacon? Sure. Onion rings on top of my double-cheese hamburger? Why not. We all love the juxtaposition of lobster with macaroni and cheese; it’s the startling mix of high brow and low brow that raises eyebrows! That’s a trend in and of itself: the whole idea of formal and relaxed going together, in one event, one meal, even one dish.

You can also expect more game meat to be found in fine dining (pheasant ravioli, anyone?). Smoked food is gaining traction. And, we’re seeing the trend toward upscale bar food (sushi instead of wings) and the new ‘bar chef’ concept. It’s as though once we realized that there could be a new taste sensation (thanks to the identification of umami, the savory taste found in meat, fish, vegetables and dairy) to join sweet, sour, salty and bitter, we opened our mind to see what else might be out there! Mood foods? New colors? Surprising flavors? Who knows?

All of these mini-trends can be rolled into a new way of thinking about food and a new willingness for adventure and experimentation. Will the next interesting invention be yours?

For evidence, read:
Are You Game to Eat More Game?
Functionals Will Drive Beverage Growth
Understanding the Mysterious Fifth Taste: Umami
Men Love Meat. Even in Their Chocolates
Break Me Off a Piece of That Veggie KitKat
Hibiscus Becoming the Trendy Taste of the Day
Urban Foragers Find Food