What are the food trends for 2014: Mairlyn Smith knows!

Food trends fluctuate faster than hemlines and staying on top of the latest food trends tempting the consumer palate is critical to the success of new products – there’s nothing worse than bringing last year’s macron to this year’s flan-tastic feast!

CASACOM was recently treated to a presentation by none other than food goddess (my title for her) Mairlyn Smith, professional home economist, author of six best-selling cookbooks and the resident food expert for Breakfast Television in Toronto and Cityline across Canada. Her presentation provided an in depth review of the ingredients and influences that will affect the foods we find in restaurants and our grocery carts. For 2014, her predictions included:

Middle Eastern Influence on Chefs:

  • When dining out, look for Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine to influence chefs, tasting menus featuring small portions with big flavours and an increase of venues serving sustainable seafood. Also on the menu – pomegranate molasses, anchovies, nuts – the good fats, hemp hearts, flavoured butters and Asian condiments.

Yes… Cauliflower

  • As healthy eating continues to be a warming trend, its’ up-in-coming star is the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant heavy cauliflower, which will be joining super-greens including kale, mustard, collards, Swiss chard and, oh yeah, dandelions. Quinoa will still be around and joined by other ancient grains including spelt, amaranth and kamut. Supporting the ongoing presence of the gluten-free diet will be a focus on buckwheat.

Tea Cocktails and Upscale Ice Cream

  • Capping off a meal, high-end cocktails will remain strong with tea becoming a popular vehicle for the delivery of alcohol along with niche pops. Speaking of pops, cake pops and cupcakes are out, replaced with decadent biscuits and scones. Ice cream is moving up-market with new artisanal flavours and will be presented more often in sandwich form.

Gut Health Becomes a Priority

  • The biggest dietary consideration on the horizon is gut-health. With your gut being seen as your second brain, affecting mood and overall health, we will need to feed our good bacteria with pre- and pro-biotics, and more fermented foods like kimchi, pickled veggie dishes – pickled anything!

Having worked with Mairlyn for nearly 15 years, I have grown to trust and apply her predictions to annual campaigns resulting in extensive interest from consumers, media and food industry trades. This year cookbook authors are becoming more influential than chefs. They are being seen as approachable and are taking us back to the basics, which many of us are sorely missing.

In my opinion – 2014 is looking yummy, but everyone’s tastes are different aren’t they. What do you think? Is Mairlyn on the mark… or out to lunch?


Carolyn Ray About the author
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