In normal times, food trends often started in restaurants, with top chefs. Maybe they got written up in food magazines or blogs. After some time, you could find the trending ingredients on grocery store shelves.
These days, the pandemic is determining how and what we eat, from quick shortcuts to slow cookers. There’s lots more home cooking, and many more family meals.
Even when people do eat restaurant food, they’re often looking for familiar dishes, experts say.
In general, “the trend is looking backwards rather than forwards,” says Esmee Williams, who looks at where home cooking is heading for Allrecipes.com, based in Seattle. Recipes from the 1960s and ’70s like chicken Kiev, chicken a la king, cheese fondue and salmon patties have become more popular, she says.
“There’s a lot of disappointment happening in our days, so nobody wants tears at the table. Let’s treat ourselves to something we all will like,” says Williams.
It’s part of a nostalgia wave sweeping many industries, including decor, fashion and beauty.
BACK TO BASICS
A year ago, Williams says, many foodies were aspirational in their diets. Less so now.
As Darren Seifer, a food and beverage industry analyst for the NPD Group in Chicago, puts it, consumers aren’t looking to explore new and fancy. Most “are just trying to get by.”
Under all sorts of pressure, people are juggling a desire for comfort food with the need to find a healthy diet and avoid “stress eating,” he says.
“If you are a food and beverage manufacturer, you need to be thinking about convenience and comfort right now,” Seifer says.
That leads to some contradictory trends. Home cooks are doing more with vegetables, particularly seasonal produce, while also hunkering down with indulgent sweets and treats. Seifer cites…