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Food trends: What's on our plates in 2013

January 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
If you survey shoppers at the supermarket, many will tell you they're looking for healthy, convenient food. But when it comes down to choosing what we eat, taste remains first and foremost. So what food trends can we expect to see in 2013?

SupermarketGuru.com editor Phil Lampert, who monitors our shopping and eating habits, predicts a lot of changes this year at your local grocery store.

"Number 1: frozen. The frozen-food case is going to have a whole new energy to it," he said. "Also [we'll see] a lot more snacking."

Lempert said the freezer aisle takes center stage with men, with more of them shopping than ever before. Both men and Millennials (those born in the 1980s and later) want quick but smart flavorful choices.

"They've got a passion for food," Lempert said of the Millennial Generation. "They've grown up with food trucks, flavor is king and they never want to eat the same thing again in their lifetime."

And now food trucks have driven our palates beyond traditional Chinese or Italian food into more exotic food like Indian and Vietnamese.

How about when it comes to dining out?

"We're actually eating out less often, but what we're seeing is people going out to more happy hours," he said. "And frankly it's not about the booze, it's about the food."

Lempert cites smaller portions and different flavors as reasons why, along with the economy.

Due to last year's weather conditions, we're going to see food prices go up, Lempert said. The year 2012 brought the worst drought in 50 years, affecting crop prices. Especially soaring are meat prices, so the meatless movement will be prominent.

Even the government is getting into the action. In October, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to make Monday "meatless," but that doesn't mean it's all about veggie burgers. Dietitian Ashley Koff said you still need to choose the best quality product, including whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.

Koff also said juice bar sales will continue to be off the charts, along with organic- and gluten-free foods. Plus we will continue to favor some of the sweeter choices in antioxidants, especially chocolate.

If you're "app happy," get ready for some food fun. Lempert suggests the app at ReadySetEat.com. You pull up a recipe and it will tell you the nutritional information, as well as which ingredients in that recipe are on sale in your supermarket.