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Food Trends for 2012

“Super sandwiches: Upscale hot dogs, exotic subs, premium grilled cheese. The key will be ingredients like alternative breads (pancakes, waffles, pretzels or popovers used to build a sandwich) and flavorful condiments (chutney, kimchi, savory jams, specialty ketchup and mustard).”

“Eggs everywhere. This is a revitalized protein used as a topper for burgers/sandwiches, on pizza, pasta and salads; in sweet and savory omelets, frittatas and custards. Cheap, nutritious and comforting, eggs are going through a major revival on menus across the board.”

— Nancy Kruse, president of The Kruse Company, author of the Kruse Report

“Stealth health. In a survey last fall, more than 73 percent of our students wanted more healthy choices. Stealth health means making food healthier ‘behind the scenes,’ including reducing sodium, serving more vegetables and whole grains and promoting healthy eating.”

“Noodles, noodles and more noodles. From udon to pho, our customers cannot get enough of them.”

— Ken Toong, executive director of auxiliary enterprises, University of Massachusetts Amherst

“Whole grains will appear more often on patient menus. Especially quinoa and wheatberries. Whole grains are a great way to be heart-healthy — in burritos and in rice bowls instead of rice.”

“The elimination of fried food is going to be big this year. But instead of making people feel deprived, we're reinventing their favorites and making them so good (customizable potato wedges with cojita cheese), they forget about fried food.”

— Ryan Conklin, chef manager, Rex Healthcare, Raleigh, NC and author of the New School Hospital Food blog

“Menu options for K-12 that mirror popular restaurant trends but with healthy ingredients such as brown rice instead of white rice; whole grain breads/rolls vs. white bread/rolls.”

“Legumes, vegetarian food, salad bars and Mexican food will all be big this year.”

— Chef Timothy Cipriano, executive director of food services, New Haven (CT) Public Schools and co-chair: Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation New Haven


An herb garden is not only an ingredient cost-cutter; it can also be an educational tool in a variety of settings. AVI Fresh works with California University of Pennsylvania to operate gardens on campus (pictured).


Breakfast hits will include ethnic favorites like huevos rancheros, coconut milk pancakes and Asian-lavored syrups, according to the NRA's Chef Survey.


Korean Pepper Paste with Sesame, Asian Pear & Garlic. The McCormick Flavor Forecast calls this flavor bomb “BBQ with a global twist.”


Bright and opitimistic, Pantone's color of the year combines the energy and adrenaline rush of red with the friend-liness and warmth of yellow.

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