Food Trends – Going Small(er)

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

The three little words hovering on every lip are: downsizing, local and green. It is essential to keep up with what’s happening in order to keep steering our own ship with the winds of change blowing our sails.

Almost every enterprise is struggling. Brides are buying gowns from thrift shops and inviting guests to backyard barbecues instead of grand receptions. Restaurants are offering lower priced family meals. Food services of all kinds are paring their choices. Six seems to be the magic number for items on menus.

The pendulum is swinging again. The more we try to economize, the more we justify our sacrifices by indulging in affordable luxuries. Just lately you may have noticed the new affection for salt with caramel. Of course this doesn’t mean any old salt, but salt harvested from a location as exotic as the source of the bottled waters we once drank. Caramel, always a sweet treat, has now soared into the stratosphere of our affections.

We are also “into” tea leaves and chocolate and coffee beans that have been harvested from a single plantation. An increasing number of commodities are falling under the umbrella of “fair trade“. The growing enthusiasm for farm to fork and our new affection for small (but exquisite) bed & breakfasts are all part of the same trend — away from big and yet bigger to small and yet smaller.

You will remember how this is merely an echo of what has happened before?

There was a time when a drink of fizzing brown chemicals held enough liquid to fill a child’s wading pool. A sandwich was as thick as as a copy of War and Peace and a decent size portion of mashed potatoes was one into which we could sink both buttocks.

Then we turned our attention to small: one bite bagels and one chew cheesecakes. Zucchinis became so small, we thought that soon they would just be painted on the plate as part of the pattern. Now we’re seeing small(er) doughnuts, small(er) cupcakes and vanishing endangered head waiters and fishes of all kinds. In short, sushi has become the new pizza.

So, with everything shrinking, how is it, nearly of us are expanding?