By Karen Axelton

87613794The Food Network has just released its predictions for the top food trends for 2010, Marketing Daily reports. The key trend? All types of food businesses will be focusing on quality, basic ingredients.

As consumers continue to eat at home more often, they will begin cooking from scratch more often, and looking for healthy, fresh ingredients.

By contrast, when they go out to eat, they’ll be feeling experimental. The Food Network says restaurant concepts that will thrive this year include gastropubs, fusion dining, eateries that let diners share food or sit at communal tables, restaurants built around fresh local food, and those that offer customizable menu options.

Other trends:

  • Home cooks will add more ethnic flavors to their meals.
  • Food vetting. People want to know where food comes from and what’s in it, so issues such as whether food is Fair Trade or organic grown will continue to matter to consumers.
  • Sustainability. More consumers will adopt sustainable eating practices such as buying locally sourced foods in season.
  • Functional food.  Foods that have added nutrients or provide health and wellness benefits, along with gluten- and allergy-free foods, will continue to be popular.
  • Bartering for consumables. With community-supported agriculture, farmers’ markets and roadside produce stands currently trendy, The Food Network predicts people will use social networking to connect with others and trade skills and time for food. There will also be increasing use of homemade foods as gifts (a trend we’re already seeing this holiday season).
  • Personalizing and smaller portions. While communal eating is hot, so is the continuing trend toward small portions or personal-sized foods like personal pizzas and cupcakes. Customization options that let diners choose their own ingredients will also grow in popularity.