Top 25 Food Trends: 2010

The Daily Meal's editorial staff examines 2010's top 25 trends.
"The Ultimate Gin & Tonic" at Bazaar in Los Angeles.
Arthur Bovino

"The Ultimate Gin & Tonic" at Bazaar in Los Angeles.


End of year trend headlines are about numbers, thunderclaps, caps, and catchy alliteration. But trend pieces are also about understanding what everyone thinks they see and what they'll be doing articles on in the year ahead. Several of 2010’s hottest food and drink trends demonstrated some of the same culinary lemmingship seen with bahn mi and truffle oil in recent years. But many of these general leanings indicate that 2010 was a banner year not for following, but for taking a measure of control.

How exactly? To determine what the year in food was about, The Daily Meal’s editorial staff identified 100 food trends that characterized 2010. Then eleven people voted to narrow them to just the top 25. What’d we find?

See a snapshot of 2010 trends and 2011 predictions.

Sure there’s the overblogged stuff to make you groan — food trucks, fried chicken, Asian-Mexican fusion. And these things may still have legs. But unless 2011 features Tyler Florence with popped collars, sunglasses and a new set of bad ties hosting a show with Trader Vic driving a Bon Chon truck cross-country, we can safely assume these things won't be as hyped in 2011.

Credit the still-flagging economy, necessity mothering all invention, but this year saw a surge of trends indicating people were rolling up their sleeves in a variety of ways. Even as 'the man' began to capitalize on the creativity of culinary hopefuls, people sought ways to do great things with food.

People foraged, laid soil on roofs, raised bees, celebrated vegetables, and continued to find ways and allies to help get around gluten allergies. We can chicken-and-egg debate whether interest in offal begat interest in the butcher, but butcher chic, pigs’ ears, snouts and trotters indicate interest in reducing waste, increased resourcefulness, and more tasty nasty bits to come.

Still want to debate the merits of raw milk? Okay. Either way, it shows that people are bucking the norm, by procuring raw milk at farmers’ markets or just by shopping at them. And that wasn’t all. They started taking up arms against the green-circled siren by abandoning the out-of-touch CEO-instigated slow service at Starbucks for better-tasting coffee brewed by the little guy.

The year also saw a wealth of new ways for restaurateurs and customers to both take control.  Consider the no reservation policies of many restaurants and the individualized reservation systems that you’ve come to know (David Chang) and admire (Grant Achatz). Sure FoodParc’s food and décor are a mess, but the ordering system? Interesting, just like the money-saving restaurant specials that you’ve started to see on the uptick.

And while iPad’s in bad restaurants aren’t going to make the food any better — and it’s bewildering to think who an Alain Ducasse app is going to help — these things indicate efforts to better serve both sides, or at least put more power and perhaps control of supply and demand into everyone’s hands.

Will the do-it-yourself, take action trend continue in 2011? Is high-end getting ready for a comeback? One thing's for sure, there's someone out there dreaming up a new single-dish restaurant concept, and for better or for worse, we're all-in for more pizza, pork and burgers.


To see all 25 trends, click here for 2010 The Year in Food Slideshow.

Check out The Daily Meal’s trend predictions for 2011.



Honorable Mention: 2010

House-made bitters
Farm to table concept sprouting up everywhere 
Raw milk
Neopolitan pizza overload
Pies (the new cupcakes)
Large format meals and cocktails
Beer tastings/pairings
Shake Shack expansion
Italian food is the new Italian food
The science of food