Expect to see rising food prices, more male shoppers and less sugar at the grocery store in 2012, says industry expert Phil Lempert, aka the Supermarket Guru.
"I think it's going to be a great year," says Lempert, who has been making food trend predictions for the past several years. While he expects food prices to keep ticking upward as 2012 marches on, he says consumers will respond by using more coupons and turning to their mobile devices to find the best price.
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"Food apps have gone from being cute to being more meaningful," Lempert said. Besides tracking down low prices, some apps will help consumers translate labels and drive them toward foods that fit selected nutrition profiles.
Here are some of the other trends Lempert predicts for this new year:
Increased emphasis on "farm-to-fork": "More products are promoting where they are coming from," Lempert said. Hunt's, for example (a product of ConAgra Foods, which Lempert works closely with) now touts its California-grown tomatoes and grocery stores are being more diligent with origin labels on produce.
New role of male shopper: "It's about 'dad' and family," Lempert said. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 41 percent of men now are involved with shopping and food preparation, almost double the amount in 2003.
Extreme home cooking: "Home cooking is getting much more attention from all generations," Lempert says as cooks stretch their creative limits to stretch their food dollars. What else does Lempert see for 2012? Find out at SupermarketGuru.com.
Soup's on: If today's Page 1 photo of chicken noodle soup got you craving a bowl to warm you up, you'll want to take a look at "David's Bistro Soup Secrets."
In this self-published, spiral-bound booklet, chef David Maish shares a dozen soups that can be made in 13 minutes. That's right! Walk in the door after a day at the office and pull together a steamy pot of sweet potato or Asian chicken vegetable soup.
Maish, chef at David's Bistro in Antioch (formerly in Des Plaines), and his daughter Madison have fun showing you how to stock your pantry and make quick work of chopping fresh or frozen vegetables. (Get a hand chopper that costs $10 or so; that's one of his timesaving tips and one that can get the kids involved in meal prep).
The pages are peppered with helpful tips and good advice and fun food facts. This handy recipe book costs $20 and includes coupons to his Antioch eatery that will more than offset the cost of the book.
Order a copy at davidsbistro.com or (847) 603-1196.
Help for the veggie-challenged: If you've got a picky eater who avoids anything that grew in the ground or on a bush, a Crystal Lake mom may have what you need to turn that kid around.
Nina Vanderwiel, a mother of three, came up with a fun, interactive class offered at a handful of local park districts. "Fruits & Veggies To The Rescue!" taps into kids' imaginations and love of superheroes to inspire them to love fruits and vegetables. The program looks at fruits and veggies through the eyes of a child, making healthy eating fun and encouraging them to develop healthy eating habits for life.
"Like all moms, making sure my kids eat healthy is a priority, but getting them to eat fruits and veggies used to be a daily struggle," Vanderwiel said. "Once I started talking in terms they understood, telling them how fruits and veggies are superheroes that fight off germs and colds, they learned to appreciate and love their veggies."
The class is aimed at kids ages 4 to 6 (I wonder if she'd make an exception for my 8-year-old?) and introduces them to new fruits and vegetables each week. Tuesday morning classes start soon at the Barrington Park District, (847) 381- 0687. It's also offered through park districts in Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Crystal Lake and Woodstock.
Learn more at facebook.com/lovefruitsandveggies.
Here's the scoop: In case you missed last week's announcement, Beverly Mills has retired from writing Desperation Dinners. For nearly two decades Beverly shared recipes and tips for getting dinner on the table in a jiffy.
Desperation Dinners will be replaced by a new column, Kitchen Scoop, penned by Mills's longtime writing and recipe partner Alicia Ross. Look for the first Kitchen Scoop column today on Page 5.
Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at firstname.lastname@example.org or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at Facebook.com/debpankey.dailyherald or follow her on Twitter @PankeysPlate.