New Survey: Locavores Out, Local In

The results of an annual survey of food and beverage professionals has been released and, according to the LANE PR U.S. Food and Beverage Trends Report: 2012 Outlook, the top trends to watch for in the coming year include a relatively exotic choice of meat for American palates: goat; as well as efficient, nutrient-packed vegetables: greens.

Goat? Really? The report provides this insight:

Although goat accounts for approximately 70% of the world’s red meat consumption, it has remained a somewhat esoteric choice for dinner tables in the U.S. Two key factors make goat a compelling choice going forward: health and environmental benefits. First, goat is leaner than traditional options of chicken, beef or pork and provides as much (or more) protein, iron and potassium in a single serving. Second, goat makes less of an impact on the environment, allowing for more efficient meat production.

The survey, which elicited responses from nearly 70 influential journalists, restaurateurs and epicureans this summer, consisted of 10 open-ended questions developed to get a sense of changes afoot in America’s food landscape. In addition to finding out the latest trends in proteins and vegetables, the survey also asked for insights on the next big trend in spices, artisanal ingredients, wine, beer, cocktails and buzzwords. From the report:

While responses in all categories illustrated a wide range of opinions, some areas of agreement indicate potential new directions in food and beverage. In some instances, it appears that America will take a closer look at what the rest of the world is eating and will make an effort to incorporate efficient, nutrient-packed foods for better overall health, as well as sustainable foods for a healthier environment.

Not that all the news was encouragingly health-related.Β  The report also tells us that pork is still in vogue in the United States as it was the second most popular protein mentioned.

Other highlights of the survey include these trends on the rise:

  • A variety of peppers as a way to spice up dishes, from an old standby like black pepper to more complex smoked paprika or Spanish pimento;
  • Simple meals can be made special with the addition of an artisanal product, with unique cheeses, honey and vinegars among the products to watch for;
  • A revival among Bordeaux varietals, including Carmenere, Merlot and Sauvignon blanc, to name a few;
  • Experimenting in brewing will continue, particularly in creating flavored beers;
  • Fresh herbs and vegetables will be found behind the bar as ingredients for cocktails;
  • Fussy buzzwords like foodie, locavore, artisanal and sustainable are on their way out;
  • Comforting buzzwords like homegrown, homemade and local are on their way in.

So, “locavore” is out but “local” is in. “Artisanal” is out, but “artisanal products” make meals special.Β  Go figure.

Photo: Image of curry stew with goat meat from Shutterstock.com

Written by Jennifer Kaplan

Jennifer Kaplan is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for Insteading (and EatDrinkBetter.com before the two sites merged) and is the author of Greening Your Small Business. She was also named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster, and an MBA – follow her on Twitter.

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