I chatted on Dec. 14 with Kay Compton Logsdon, editor in chief for The Food Channel, Springfield, Mo. Food Channel (www.foodchannel.com) recently published the top food trends of 2011, and I visited with Logsdon about the process and highlights from the report.

Food Channel Top Food Trends of 2011:

  1. The Canning Comeback — “Putting Up” is gaining popularity for both economy and health.
  2. Men in Aprons — Layoffs have led to more men cooking.
  3. Local Somewhere — We care about hand-tended no matter where it’s grown.
  4. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — We’re tired of being told what we can eat.
  5. Appetite for Food Apps — Social media is our guide and our coupon source.
  6. Small is the New Big Business — Corporations are thinking like small businesses.
  7. Fresh Every Day — Rooftop gardens are just part of this trend.
  8. Chefs in Schools — Better flavor is possible in an institutional setting.
  9. Discomfort Foods — Change makes us comfortable with more change.
  10. Eating for Sex and Other Things — We are working longer, and want all the gusto.

1:01 p.m. Karst: How long has The Food Channel been publishing food trends?

Chatting with Kay Compton Logsdon of The Food Channel

Logsdon

1:01 p.m. Logsdon: We have done that kind of list for the past four years, but for 23 years we have had Food Channel and been predicting the future of food in various forms.

1:01 p.m. Karst: I see Food Channel has sweet potatoes as one of the top 10 foods to watch for next year. Sweet potatoes have been hot.

1:02 pm. Logsdon: Sweet potatoes as a food was growing a lot last year. We had sweet potatoes in our side dish trends that we did in 2010. In fact, we had potatoes as a whole returning to notoriety. We went ahead and put sweet potatoes as an actual food item to call out this year because we think in 2010 it was about sweet potato fries but for 2011 it will be about other forms of sweet potatoes. We discovered we like them, we’ve discovered there is new ways to cook them and so you are going to find other kinds of sweet potato (dishes) out there.

1:03 p.m. Karst: You also had the South American cupuaçu fruit among the top 10 foods to watch. Why did that fruit make the list?

1:03 p.m. Logsdon: If you look at the trend “discomfort food” or eating food out of your comfort zone, that ties in to this fruit. The acai fruit has been so huge. Everybody knows that one now, though they may not know how to pronounce it, but they know that one. We understand that has got antioxidants and that you can mix with pomegranate juice and get all these antioxidants. We really look into this a lot. We had tasted this fruit and the flavor is kind a cross between a pear and banana and it’s a nice American flavor for the fruit. It isn’t overly sweet. This fruit is an antioxidant that could be used in fruit juices. We do know that Brazil is working hard to identify fruits that would grow in the rain forests, both for the restoration and sustainability of the rain forest and for their economy. They are getting fruits they have discovered the American market likes because of the antioxidant and the health value and so they are getting those fruit processed and out of the country in a number of different processed forms. That ties in with our No. 10 trend.

1:06 p.m. Karst: Your No. 10 trend talks about going for the gusto …

1:07 Logsdon: Baby boomers are living longer and working longer and so we are looking for foods that keep us active and strong longer. We are looking for these health foods.

1:10 p.m. Karst: You have “local somewhere” as a trend. Is that another way of saying consumers want local food?

1:11 p.m. Logsdon: This is a little different. This isn’t just about local or locavore. We had that a couple of years ago when nobody was really using the term. This is a refinement on it. This is, I want to support the local grower, I want to support someone who has hand-tended something and grown it and cares about it in a small batch. It may not have to be local close to me, just local somewhere. It is more about small batches and if somebody carefully tended this for me, I don’t care where they live, it is local.