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20 Food Trends in 2012 – Are My Predictions Coming True?


food trends 2012

I first wrote this post on my pre-Paleo food blog on January 5, 2012. I thought it would be fun to re-publish it here and to revisit some of my predictions. Here we go!

In Australia, and in some parts of the world, the year of 2011 was all about fancy ciders, unique flavoured macarons, 1950s food revival, pub tacos, boutique beers, coffee houses, heirloom vegetable varieties, local farmers markets, home-cooking and food apps.

We’ve seen lots of small, themed bars pop up, as well as some exciting new chefs and restaurants moving away from complex molecular gastronomy to honest cooking with seasonal, local produce.  The 4-Hour Body and the Dhukan diets seemed to be all the rage, and for wine lovers, it was the year that Pinot Grigio and some new white varieties pushed Sauvignon Blanc off center stage.

What will our gastronomy world be like in 2012? Well, for one thing, local and seasonal food will only get bigger, with the growing popularity of farmers markets, organic produce and home-grown veggies and herbs continuing to reach a larger, more passionate customer base. The ciders and tacos will also linger around but they will be joined by some exciting new fast food and old-school cocktails. And the coffee culture will grow with the addition of unorthodox brewing methods and a multitude of hole-in-the-wall coffee shops. Here are my top 20 predictions for food trends in 2012, in arbitrary order:

1. Gourmet food trucks that swept LA’s food scene are spreading to other parts of the world including Australia. – Yep, these are popping up all over the place.

food trucks
Flickr photo by

2. The Old-Fashioned cocktail is making a come back in 2012. In 2011 it was all about the Moscow Mule and Mint Juleps. – True.

Flickr photo by

3. Tequila. Good Tequila. Tequila that you can sip like whiskey. We should see more varieties in our bars with some specialising in amazing top shelf labels. – Two words, Teo’s and Panama House in Sydney.

Photo by Rodrigo Valladares

4. You will hear the word  flexitarian a lot. Many people are becoming part-time vegetarians sticking to a non-meat diet during the week and indulging in a great steak or chicken dishes on the weekends. There are meat-free Mondays, vegetarians at home, and other flexitarian methods. – Not sure I’ve heard that term often enough yet.

5. The Paleo Diet, also known as PaleolithicCaveman, or Stone Age Diet, is becoming popular on the back of the slow/low carb craze of 2011. Paleo way of eating  follows the diet principles of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. It consists mainly of lean meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. – Hehe, true.

Flickr photo by toolmantim

6. South-American cuisine, especially Peruvian, is often talked about these days. We will see more Latin American ingredients and cooking methods used in restaurants and at home.   Stock up on quinoa, maze, corn, beans, root vegetables, aji hot pepper, fresh fish and lots of lime. – I think yes, and Central American cuisine items are popping up everywhere.

Flickr photo by canelita0306

7. Specialty coffee. There will be more boutique coffee blends and roasters, as well as brewing methods straight out of chemistry or physics books  – cold-drip coffee, aeropress coffee, syphon coffee… The coffee culture will continue to rely on the powers of the Internets with more coffee dedicated sites, social groups and apps. – Definitely true.

Flickr photo by canarycarla

8. Antique, old-fashioned food and cooking will experience a renaissance this year. Forgotten dishes and ingredients like stuffed pigeon, honey parsnips, stewed rabbit, peasant with chestnut and raisins, terrines, and home-baked bread are all making a massive come back. – Yep, see a lot more of that on the menues. 

Kitchen Still Life with a Maid and Young Boy. Painters: Frans Snyders, Jan Boeckhorst

9. On the back of the vintage cooking trend, these old-school vegetables will become the star items in your shopping basket. Think root vegetables like beets, turnips,  celeriac and purple carrots as well as Brussels sprouts, sorel, and Jerusalem artichoke. Chestnuts and walnuts will also be widely used. – I’ve definitely seen lots of cool looking tubers but you have to go to specialty green grocers and farmer’s markets to find unusual ingredients. Come on Coles and Woolies, get with the program!

Flickr photo by La Grande Farmer’s Markets

10. Honey and agave sweeteners – anti-sugar campaigning will continue in 2012. – There has been a lot more noise about artificial sweeteners and their evil ways, so I suppose honey and molasses are becoming more popular as a result.

Flickr photo by Kenn Wilson

11. Sustainable seafood – this one is a no-brainer. We all know that global fish and seafood supplies are continually depleting so chefs and home-cooks will continue to make smarter choices in 2012. – Yes, but not enough is being done. We need more education and public visibility of what’s happening and what we shouldn’t be consuming.

12. Communal gardens, rooftop gardens, home-grown balcony and backyard gardens. Growing your own food is the new cool. – True, I saw a couple of cute little garden patches pop up on the side walks around Bondi and Bronte lately.

Photo by Christa Richert

13. Kimchi will be the new culinary buzzword. Finally one of my favourite foods is trending. We will see this Korean pickled cabbage incorporated into dishes, sauces, dressings, and eaten as a bar snack. Kimchi mayo forever! – Yes and no. Maybe I am just more into kimchi these days so I keep seeking it out.

Flickr picture by stevendepolo

14. Canned and pickled vegetables, fruit preserves and jams, jellies and compotes are growing in popularity again. There will be more tools, packaging options and resources to help you make your own. As a result, we will also see a trend in edible gifts. – I have seen a few write-ups and how-to’s in magazines and food blogs.

15. Macarons and cupcakes are out. Mini desserts and possibly doughnuts are in! – Macarons and cupcakes are still in…

Flickr picture by snowpea&bockchoi

16.Vietnamese Bahn Me pork rolls are the new tacos and dumplings in 2012. – True, they even made it to Masterchef this year.

Flickr picture by avlxyz

17. Fancy, gourmet soups will pop up on the menus – think Almond Gazpacho, Moroccan Carrot, Spicy Pepper and Prawn Bisque soups. – I think winter will show, stay tuned. 

Flickr picture by

18. Outdoor and patio kitchens. Why not? – I haven’t looked into this deep enough, will have to investigate. I love the idea though.

Flickr picture by Texas-Custom-Patios

19. Local farmers markets will continue to be a popular hangout. – For sure, I might go to one today.

Flickr picture by gimtbillings

20. And finally, home-cooking and entertaining will be ever-so-popular given the current financial climate. Grand dinner parties, High Tea and Champagne breakfasts will be hosted by none other than you! – We have hosted a few food gatherings lately but I’m not seeing too many invites coming our way. Perhaps it’s getting too expensive to cook for 10 people so folks choose to meet up for a pub grub instead. I hope ‘dinner parties’ survive the GFC.

What do we all think? Any other food trends you’ve been spotting lately? Am I totally wrong with some of those?

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