What Will America Really Cook in 2012? Allrecipes Dishes Out 2012 Predictions

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Forget the Fads! World’s #1 Digital Food Brand Says Americans will be Eating Healthier and Making Smarter Decisions in the Kitchen

It’s fun to look at what wacky foods or gourmet trends are predicted this time of year, but with nearly a billion annual visits from home cooks each year, Allrecipes really knows what most families will be cooking and eating in 2012

Allrecipes.com, the world’s #1 digital food brand, and The Hartman Group, a consumer insights consulting group, today released predictions for what—and how—America will be cooking in the new year. The report, Allrecipes Measuring Cup: What American Families are Eating and Cooking, 2012 Insights and Trends, available for free download from Allrecipes’ SlideShare account, finds that healthier and more informed eating habits are a common thread fueling the top 10 emerging trends for home cooks in 2012.

“It’s fun to look at what wacky foods or gourmet trends are predicted this time of year, but with nearly a billion annual visits from home cooks each year, Allrecipes really knows what most families will be cooking and eating in 2012,” said Lisa Sharples, president of Allrecipes. “We’re absolutely seeing a renewed appreciation for healthy home-cooked meals as consumers take a more sophisticated approach in their everyday cooking with an emphasis on simpler ingredients and fresher food.”

The concept of healthier eating ranges from eating less meat, and considering smaller portions, to knowing more about where your food comes from as well as what’s in the food itself. Following is a summary of anticipated 2012 trends:

Trend #1: Flexitarians: Allrecipes found more than one-third of households ate less meat in 2011, and the #1 reason they did was to “eat healthier” (80 percent). This doesn’t mean cutting out beef and poultry altogether, just adding a few more meatless meals to the menu. As this trend grows in 2012, meal inspiration will come from cultures where there is an inherent knowledge in vegetable preparation (e.g. Asia, Italy, France and India).

Trend #2: Back to Food Basics. From an interest in the Paleo Diet to consuming fewer carbohydrates, 2012 will be a year of “cleaner” eating. Consumer goals for the coming year include limiting highly processed foods, plus seeking foods and beverages that have antioxidants, probiotics, no hormones, and a list of ingredients they can recognize and pronounce. Consumers will also increasingly try to avoid MSG, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and benzoate preservatives.

Trend #3: Label Listings: Fifty-seven percent of people reported they read labels more frequently in 2011, and this vigilance will grow even more in 2012. Consumers themselves say they read information on a product label for various reasons: Health, curiosity, and weight management are primary considerations, which research confirms is very often aspirational in nature. Calories are of the greatest interest as consumers scan each package and box.

Trend #4: Mini-Me: Miniature sweets were all the rage in 2011. Forty-six percent of home cooks reported eating a mini-dessert in the past year while 29% have tried making them at home. Allrecipes expects this trend to move out of the bakery and into the kitchens of home cooks as the enjoyment of eating these sweet, yet tiny, treats continues in 2012.

    Trend #5: Home Economics: While consumers will continue shopping frugally in 2012, their values and demands will shift. They will not abandon their interest in having or creating a quality food experience for themselves, their families, and friends, and for cooking and eating will prioritize:

  • Quality = fresh, less processed, etc.
  • Experience = consumption enjoyment (indulgence) or transfer of knowledge (culinary know-how or product narratives)
  • Lack of waste = product right-sizing

Trend #6: You Inspire Me: Mom’s cooking, although inspiring to some, is having a hard time keeping up with the ability to search any time of day or night for a recipe idea online. Home cooks now tap a variety of sources for mealtime inspiration any time of day or night. Food websites such as Allrecipes.com are a resource for 68 percent of consumers, followed by food-focused TV programs, magazines, and email newsletters.

Trend #7: Devices: It doesn’t really matter whether a home cook is keying Smartphone apps in the supermarket aisle or setting up her laptop or tablet in the local café to plan Saturday’s dinner party, mobile technology is definitely the top trend for meal planning. As proof, visits to Allrecipes.com from a mobile device were up 218 percent year-over-year in November 2011, while downloads of the popular Allrecipes Dinner Spinner app surpassed 10 million.

Trend #8: What’s on Your Fridge Door: Ketchup has reigned as the U.S. condiment king for 125 years, but now salsa is nipping at its heels, and mayonnaise is enjoying a revival. A sampling of the most purchased condiments in the past six months also shows that international condiments such as hoisin sauce, wasabi sauce, and tahini will increasingly find their way into American fridges in 2012.

Trend #9: Anytime is a good time for a Snack: Turns out adults snack just as often as children, men and women snack about the same amount and, in general, snacking has become as culturally relevant to consumers as meal time. Research confirms snacking accounts for nearly half of all eating in the United States, so it’s only natural to conclude the consumer is interested in healthy snacks too. That said, when whole grain chips and toasted seeds, beans and nuts begin to gain in popularity – and kale chips are a polarizing discussion – it’s noteworthy.

Trend #10: Love the Sandwich: Higher quality ingredients from herb-infused bread to grass-fed pork and innovative ingredients (e.g. caramelized onions, watercress, and Sriracha sauce) will elevate the humble sandwich to one of the top comfort foods of the year. One of the reasons for this popularity is the roving food truck that will continue to introduce consumers to higher-quality sandwich options at decent prices.

Allrecipes also reviewed ingredients that were both waxing and waning in popularity for 2011:

On the rise:
1.    Half and half
2.    Quinoa
3.    Chickpeas
4.    Ground chicken
5.    Mayonnaise

On the decline:
1.    Scallops
2.    Avocado
3.    Phyllo
4.    Blackberries
5.    Caramel

Data provided is from analysis of search and recipe viewing behaviors of more than 25 million home cooks who visit Allrecipes every month, plus data collected from an online survey of 1,391 Allrecipes community members fielded October 21 to 27, 2011. Additional perspective is provided through The Hartman Group’s intellectual property and consumer data.

About Allrecipes
Allrecipes, the world's largest digital food brand, receives 750 million annual visits from home cooks who discover and share food experiences through recipes, reviews, photos, videos, profiles, and blogs on the web and mobile devices. For 14 years, the brand has served as a dynamic, indispensable resource for cooks of all skill levels seeking everyday and holiday meal solutions. Allrecipes’ global, multi-platform brand is comprised of 17 websites, 10 apps, and 13 eBooks serving cooks in 22 countries and 11 languages. Allrecipes is part of The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. For additional information regarding Allrecipes, please visit http://www.allrecipes.com.

About the Hartman Group
The Hartman Group, located in Bellevue, Washington, is the predominant consumer culture consultancy in America today serving consumer packaged goods companies, retailers and organizations in foods and beverages, foodservice, personal care, shopper marketing and other businesses that comprise the consumer marketplace. Since 1989, The Hartman Group has blended primary qualitative, quantitative and trends research and consulting to understand the subtle complexities of consumer and shopper behavior. It specializes in understanding how consumer attitudes, lifestyle and behaviors lead to purchase. To learn more about how Hartman Group stays sharply focused on how consumers live, shop and use brands and products visit http://www.hartman-group.com.


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