Hot Food Trends in 2013

A new food and dining trends report for 2013 was just released by restaurant consultant group Baum & Whiteman, originally two restaurateurs with plenty of experience backing up their reports. The report goes into plenty of detail describing popular food, buzzwords, hot restaurants and aspirations for other restaurants. There’s so much information included that it’s easy to get lost, we we’ve included some of the most interesting points mentioned, and our take on whether or not they will come to fruition in 2013.

We’ve written extensively on the ‘Chipotle-ification’ of fast food chains across the country, and this trend will continue into 2013 as the fast-casual model continues to spread. Several key features that make this model so successful are the bold flavors and ethnic cuisines offered, modern designs, quality ingredients and a great back-story for the restaurant.

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will undergo many beverages to account for shifting consumer preferences. Americans continue to move away from traditional colas and toward more natural options. Starbucks and Jamba Juice are leading the way with a wide range of new products like Tazo Tea Shop and juice bars, and juices will be seen more at everyday restaurants and hotels. Alcohol will be making a huge splash in smoothie and milkshakes, and at bars cocktails will be upgraded with natural and organic ingredients like lemongrass and fresh pomegranate. Rather than hiring new bartenders to account for this new generation of cocktails, many cocktails are initially prepared and stored in barrels to absorb more flavors, driving down costs and working in conjunction with looser laws about pre-mixing liquor.

Miniature versions of your favorite foods are allowing more consumers to eat on the go whenever they choose. Known as “dashboard dining” or the “snackification” of America, items like café bites or chicken dippers are quickly becoming a fourth meal for Americans who snack to relieve stress and save time. This trend is also aided by more sophisticated snacks, food trucks and convenience stores that allow people to eat and drink all day long with fresh food items.

Dine-in restaurants meanwhile will continue to employ bundling strategies to attract customers and guarantee they order a certain amount to eat. Many restaurants like Olive Garden or TGI Friday’s have deals for two or more diners, ensuring a minimum per table, filling seats and creating a limited menu. However other restaurants have employed the opposite strategy, charging much more for family style meals typically involving an excess of one central meat. For instance Momofuku has a $200 Korean “bo saam” family style meal with roast pork, and other restaurants have similar deals involving whole ducks, lambs or other animals served in a variety of ways. These whole animal meals tend to be very profitable, filling tables that are often reserved in advance so chefs know exactly how much to cook, and encouraging customers to over-order cocktails and wine in this kind of environment.

Robotic vending machines have started to pop up in different countries, including a sushi vending machine, a Coca-Cola machine that requires customers to match their dance moves with the machine to receive their beverages, and even a pizza machine. These will continue to expand in the United States, as well as automated kiosks to receive orders at fast food restaurant; already implemented in Japan.

Some of the brands typically seen at grocery stores will be expanding to their own restaurant locations. Chobani and Dannon will both be opening their own yogurt bars, and Barilla plans to open a chain of pasta restaurants. Some of these stores will be strictly promotional, and others may expand into something much more if consumer reception is adequate. Conversely, many restaurant brands may begin to appear in grocery stores.

Lastly, greens are making a comeback in a big way, particularly seaweed, kale and mustard greens. Seaweed will appear in crackers, cereal and fries and the already popular kale chips may soon make a splash in sandwiches and burgers. With consumers shifting toward organic and natural ingredients, buzzwords like ‘artisan’, ‘handmade’ and ‘hand battered’ will appear in all kinds of foods, especially at fast food restaurants.

Soda vending Machines will Display Calories Information

Following New York City’s soda ban, beverage companies are scrambling to protect themselves before similar measure are taken across the country. Now Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper are introducing new vending machines that will display the calorie content of their drinks, to be released in Chicago and San Antonio in 2013 and rolling out on a national level soon after.

The American Beverage Association will oversee these new machines, and aims to raise awareness for health concerns about sugary beverages by displaying messages such as “Try a Low-Calorie Beverage.” The machines will also increase the availability of low-calories drinks, and will feature calories information for each choice of beverage. The average 12-ounce can of regular soda has 140 calories and 40 gram of high-fructose corn syrup. Diet sodas are typically sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, and contain zero calories.

After New York City approved a ban to prohibit the sale of sugary drinks of 16 ounces in the city’s restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums, many soda producers are wondering whether the label on the back of a soda bottle is enough warning to consumers. However the beverage industry still does not support this measure, saying that the soda ban eliminates the customer’s personal choice.

Overall soft drink consumption in the U.S. has been steadily declining since 1998, and soft drink producers have to deal with changing consumer habits. This decline is most likely due to increased beverage options, like flavored waters, sports drinks and even new powder-based products. Coca-Cola is set to release Dasani Drops soon as a portable flavor-enhancer to combine with water and create a personalized beverage. In addition to new products, soda manufacturers will be developing more diet options to steer consumers away from their high-calorie products.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


Coca-Cola Launches New ‘Dasani Drops’

Beverage companies have been experimenting with a lot of new products recently, and many have been alternatives to the common prepared drink. Kraft launched a beverage flavoring drop called MiO in March last year, and Starbuck’s launched a variety of new powdered products. Now Coca-Cola has launched a new ‘alternative beverage’ called Dasani Drops.

These drops can be squeezed into water to instantly add flavor to a beverage, and Coca-Cola believes this may be just the beginning of this new products potential. According to John Roddey, Coca-Cola’s vice president of water, tea and coffee businesses in North America, the liquid drops may soon expand beyond just flavored water. Liquid drops could eventually come in tea form, because drinks with higher sugar content are more difficult to turn into a liquid concentrate.

These new drop products are popular because people can easily carry them from place to place and use as much or as little as they like to suit their own tastes. Powdered drink packets tend to restrict how much a person flavors their drink, and the drops can also make approximately 32 servings, making them remarkably cost efficient.

Dasani Drops will sell for about $4 a bottle, and will be released in early October. Coca-Cola hopes to make this new product as widespread as possible, meaning that the drops will be seen wherever Dasani bottled water is sold. The drops will debut in just four flavors, but more will be introduced next year.

John Roddey admitted to seeing the early success of other brands with similar products, and realized the growth potential for a similar Coca-Cola product. Kraft’s MiO sales have recently spiked, doubling its previous growth to over $100 million in just half a year. For Coca-Cola however, Dasani Drops may have a noticeable effect on its wide range of products. For example, giving people the option to flavor their own water might reduce sales of VitaminWater, another popular Coca-Cola product.

The brand ultimately hopes that Dasani Drops will boost consumption of Dasani bottled water, give the assumption in the products name. With bottle water sales growing, this may be a good time for Coca-Cola to break try this new product. Dasani Drops are artificially sweetened, and contain zero calories.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:


London Assembly Seeks to Ban McDonald’s and Coca Cola at the Onset of the Olympics

McDonald’s is poised to open its new location in London, set to be the largest location in the world with a staff of 500 and seating for 1,500 people. This move is in conjunction with its longtime sponsorship of the Olympics, and the location will be dismantled after the conclusion of the Olympic Games. However, opponents of McDonald’s and fellow Olympic sponsor Coca Cola are calling for a ban of these brands at 2012’s Olympic Games.

Less than a month before the Olympics begin, the London Assembly has voted to call for a ban on both sponsors. They feel that because the Olympics represent the world’s best athletes, two companies that contribute to obesity and provide high-calorie food should not be the event’s primary sponsors. The London Assembly is an elected group of officials that monitors the activities of the Mayor of London and may amend the mayor’s annual budget. The Assembly urges the International Olympic Committee to adopt strict criteria in choosing sponsors of the Games, excluding companies that contribute to poor health like McDonald’s and Coca Cola.

Coca Cola however is the Olympic Games’ longest-running sponsor, supporting the event since 1928. McDonald’s has also sponsored the Olympic Games since 1976, and the two companies have developed a mutually beneficial relationship with the athletic event. These sponsors are crucial to the continued success of the Olympic Games, which relies on these commercial partnerships to continue. In fact, sponsors account for over 40% of Olympic revenues, and McDonald’s and Coca Cola have been two of the largest contributors for many years.

Though UK doctors claims that the Olympic sponsorships of these two companies sends the wrong message in a country facing high obesity rates, their sponsorship is necessary for the continuation of the Olympic Games. According to McDonald’s UK’s chief executive however, some of these accusations are unfounded given the company’s recent attempts to improve the nutritional content of their menu. “We do offer a breadth of menu. You can see on the menu here we have grilled chicken wraps, we have salads, fruit smoothies as well as the more indulgent recipes that people know and love.”

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: