10 food trends to watch in 2013

January 5th, 2013 | Posted by greg in Daily life...

No one can predict the future, neither can I. But according to what I see happening in our kitchens and in other places in town, and after having read a few reports on food trends in other countries, I thought I’d give my 10 cents worth on what I think major food trends will be for 2013. Of course, these aren’t meant to be the “top” 10, it’s just 10 amongst others that I see significant…


Smaller portion, reducing waste and giving food – Too many tasting menu floods restaurants and eateries; diners are looking for smaller dishes which gives them option to try more and not waste food. Prices are therefore lower per portion and it gives an option for customers to have a customized menu. Moreover, smaller portion with less wastage will contribute to reduce food wastage; yet, giving safe leftover food to less fortunate people is not just a trend, but a habit that people are getting increasingly into. How can one think about throwing food away?

Elaborated snack food – Very much bonded with the previous trend of smaller portion dishes, snack food made with premium ingredients and clever design are on the rise, often linked to a bar and lounge concept. Everyone calls it tapas today, but places serving French, Italian or Peruvian “tapas” are popping up just about everywhere. The conviviality and feel of seating in a less formal environment with dishes of nice snack food to share amongst friends is very much sought after. (Hint hint: Both of the above trends are very much happening at work actually!)

Everything fermented and pickled – a true trend within the trend of wholesome food – fermenting and pickling of many foods from the traditional cabbage to pickled green mango and turning bananas or blueberry and bay leaves into vinegar. The artisan side of homemade fermented and pickled in dishes, condiments and drinks is definitely an added value to the dining experience. Beverages also revive with, amongst others, artisan beers, and the long forgotten, but delicious hydromel (mead) are all back in force.

Real bread – A matter close to my heart, but also a true upcoming trend that many industrial companies try to capitalize on with a rather low success rate; restaurateurs are more and more reluctant to offer free breads in their restaurants and are on the hunt for superb artisan sourdough breads to offer gourmet breads on their menu; and by the way, why not adding a gluten-free option too. It makes a lot of sense to avoid wastage and it creates a new side to restaurant offers. I dislike getting bad bread for free and I dislike paying for bad bread, either way the answer is easy: quality! Either free or paid, it’s definitely time for a “Less is more” in the bread world.

Artisan food & drink – Following closely the trend of fermented and pickled foods, artisan and local food and drink was a trend in 2012 and will still be strong and growing for the coming year. Local honey, micro bakery or brewery, homegrown vegetables, great breads, jams, chocolate couverture, homemade cider, cured meats, cheeses, wine – are all some of the products we often see and will see more of from small local producers. Knowing Hong Kong’s attraction to brand names, I understand the successes and the “gold rush” era all the famous Paris based patisserie and boulangerie are riding at the moment (Europe’s economy not helping), but I definitely allow myself to dream our local food stars will shine brighter in 2013!

Artisan market & supermarket – In a city like Hong Kong where rental reached higher levels than the Champs Elysée or 5th Avenue, renting a shop is almost impossible for small producer to feature their product in convenient location, reachable for everyone. Another side of the trend lies with small producers branding their own product without passing through any marketing or cooperative agencies – this makes them more involved, closer to the consumers, more accountable and it brings the price to more reasonable levels. Artisan markets and supermarkets are places that are needed to support the local producers and their own brand.

Veg or non-veg? – Perhaps having a whole separate vegetarian menu is no longer needed; it actually makes vegetarian amongst a party look like they have special needs. Why vegetarian options couldn’t be increased on the regular menu? Instead of doing meat-less days for example, maybe menus should feature less meat altogether, more poultry and more vegetarian dishes. That would surely show how good the chef is at playing with ingredients! ;)

Alternative sweetener – Refined white sugar is facing strong challenger such as agave nectar, coconut flower sugar or raw palm sugar. All are featuring aromatic scents and a lower glycemic index, better for people’s health. Pastry chefs are looking for ways to reduce the sweet side to feature the better side of the ingredients used in the dish. Stronger flavor, less sugar and healthier alternatives is surely a trend for pastry chefs to watch for.

Asian & South American – With concepts bringing Peruvian cuisine, Korean flavors, chipotle and the like, or Indonesian spices in menus, Asian and South American scents are seen as the exotic flavor of the moment. For sure, this trend will leave marks in menus for a very long time, much longer than just a trend.

Real kids menu – Truthfully, kids menu are too often left at the end of the chef’s to-do list and are thoughts without much appreciation. Why couldn’t kids get great food like adult do? Great ingredients, less fried food and wholesome recipes have been on many 2012 trend list, but never really took off. Will 2013 see a change?



There are many more trend “pockets” in the food and beverage industry; the above is just a glimpse to get us started for what I believe will be a great year ahead for the world of food!

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11 Responses

  • I like the fact that were trying not to be negative about the old trends or passed dishes, which can be boring if overdone; muffins, macaron, sliders..( I just made sliders…they were good!) Food is changing according to taste, whim, but we aren’t recreating the wheel, what’s been done before always comes back..like an old friend!

    • Yes! like an old friend, I LOVE that!
      It’s like watching a great old movie 15 years after the first time… there is a special relationship, a special feeling that words can’t describe… the same goes for that special dish, that special dish tells a story better than any words! ;)

  • @lina_to_u says:

    Agreed! Agreed..as they say, less is more…there is always a cost which goes with food production and choosing better quality products and not having tonnes of rubbish seems much more logical! Better kids menu will be a welcome..how can we expect children to grow up as adults with good eating habits and good taste buds if they are offered *junk*. I vote for mini portions of adult menus with proper cutlery for our future gastronomes ;)

    • I agree so much with you Lina! Especially for the future gatronome! The frequency and the amount of junk food is just too much in today’s kids diet. There is so much more that can be done to make it proper! While so many people spend crazy amount of money for their kid’s education, I think the art of the table, the way we eat, we drink, we behave is a big part of education that is too often left aside…

  • HK Epicurus says:

    Really love this post and hope it all rings to be true in the End !

    As my dad always says to me, this world works on information gaps. There are plenty of business opportunities bar the stupendous rental rates in HK or reception to novel ideas by customers. I hope that in 2013 we can all face a new challenge and all influence the world, and bring in more food which abides by the upcoming international trend!

    • Well said from you and your Dad, truly!

      None of the big issues will be resolved overnight, but if we all do our little bit everyday, we may see a change happening. If we show change is possible to the youngster, then maybe there is a chance to change the status quo for their future…

  • lisamaria says:

    Thank you for this post! Good food and good cooking will be the future: I hope with writing it down and making a wish, like you do, is already half the way to make it real.

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  • k e n dy says:

    So true! Thanks for the post. Really appreciate of what you are doing and thanks for the inspiration.

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