The top 10 food trends for 2010

Simple products, local ingredients and gourmet comfort food top the list of what’s hot in food right now. Read on to find out what else Canadians are eating

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trendy food

1. Simple foods

From packaging to ingredients, manufacturers are realizing that simplicity is key. Branding is being toned down and so are labels and ingredients lists. Consumers are better educated on what they are eating and this is being reflected with more transparency in prepared food selections.

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fresh veggies

2. Local ingredients

Eating local is about more than just health - it's important for supporting farmers across Canada. From fresh produce to butchers specializing in fresh local meats, consumers are seeking out foods from local gardens and farms-and grocery chains are providing better access to locally produced products.

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macaroni

3. Gourmet comfort foods

Hotdogs, burgers, macaroni and cheese and meatloaf are not what come to mind when you think of gourmet foods. Yet these classic comfort foods are being recreated; aged cheddar macaroni with pancetta, wasabi mayonnaise and caramelized onion on all-beef hotdogs, Kobe beef burgers and teriyaki turkey meatloaf are just some of the ways favourite classic meals are becoming worthy of serving at special occasions.

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fleurs

4. Focus on health benefits

Consumers are realizing the many health and beauty benefits of certain ingredients. Herbal ingredients and edible flowers are being added to foods to promote relaxation or boost metabolism. The nutritional benefits of foods high in iron, vitamin C and magnesium are being highlighted, as are the positive effect of natural oils found in avocados, fish and olive oil for healthy skin and hair.

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salad bar

5. Health-conscious convenience foods

Lives are as busy as ever, but health-conscious consumers are demanding quick and easy meals that are also good for them. In response, grocery stores are increasingly offering healthier ready-made options such as soups, microwaveable brown rice and vegetables, frozen and fresh stir-fries, and salad bars.

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blog cookies

6. Food tips via social media

Social media outlets such as blogs, Facebook and Twitter are becoming an increasingly valuable source for meal ideas, recipes and reviews. User comments provide an honest and accessible take on food, while prominent food writers provide cooking and eating inspiration.

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ginger and rhubarb

7. Unusual flavour pairings

Do those really go together? Unique flavor combinations for this year include almond and ale, ginger and rhubarb, turmeric and fresh tomatoes as well as Creole mustard and shellfish, to name a few. New ways to use favourite ingredients are a big part of recipe creation in 2010.

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eggs benedict

8. Brunch

Serving brunch at home for guests is an idea that's gaining in popularity this year. Fizzy cocktails and classics such as salmon, eggs Benedict and pancakes are being updated in unexpected ways. For example, eggs Benedict with chilies make for a spicy twist, while pancakes made with coconut milk and topped with exotic fruits are just two new ways to serve old favourites.

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tapas

9. Tapas

Tapas is no longer a Spanish tradition-smaller portions and tasting parties are making at-home entertaining easier and more unique for Canadians. Mini burger "sliders," satay, dumplings and fresh spring rolls are just some of the dishes making the idea of tapas more accessible to the at-home cook.

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cuisine

10. Restaurant-quality kitchens

With restaurant-quality appliances and gadgets making their way into average homes, Canadian cooks are taking on the challenge of cooking creatively at home. This culinary confidence extends to the grocery-store shelves, as consumers become better prepared to tackle unique ingredients and create gourmet dishes.