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Issue 009
Salted Caramel Double Chocolate Brownies from Real Simple Real Good
Salted Caramel Double Chocolate Brownies, courtesy The Real Simple Good Life

With the new year arriving any moment, it seems like everyone is making predictions and talking trends. Here at the Eats Index office mega-center, the staff is starting to feel a little guilty. In this current climate, it’s far too easy to round up and report trends to you.

Our own feelings aside, we’ve got a job to do. We need to share valuable information with you, our subscribers. We’ve got a lot to impart today, so let’s get going!

Yelp First Ever Trend Report - Yelp logo

YELP’S FIRST EVER TREND REPORT

We said that everyone is getting in on the trend-talking front – and that includes Yelp, the number one spot for online reviews. They’ve just released their own first-ever trend report, based on what their users are searching and reviewing.

Among the trends Yelp reports for next year is butterfly flower tea – which we covered in Issue 7. They also talk about souffle pancakes, which we discussed back in our Issue 4.

Also in the report are what Yelp calls “healthy swap” comfort food. They’re talking about, for example, cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes or traditional pizza crust. This ongoing trend – of replacing fattening or unhealthy ingredients with more wholesome options – certainly won’t surprise food bloggers, but it is worth keeping in mind!

Pineapple buns, a Cantonese / dim sum pastry, are also coming in, according to Yelp. For those who aren’t familiar, these buns don’t contain any pineapple – the name comes from their rough, scaly appearance.

Other trends they forecast include stretchy ice cream. Here’s a YouTube video showing off this dessert in all its glory.

And here’s a related recipe, shared by Ritzy Mom last year.

Finally, Yelp is predicting that brick toast is poised to make a comeback in 2020.

Brick toast originated in England and then spread to Japan, where the concept was refined and elevated. In a nutshell, brick toast is thick, dense bread that is toasted, cut into cubes and then re-assembled into a large brick. This brick is in turn drenched with sweet toppings, such as honey and/or ice cream.

Here’s a recipe for brick toast we found from Kirbie’s Cravings.

What this means for food bloggers:   You can create recipes that satisfy people’s curiosity for these Yelp-reported dishes! You should!

Certainly Yelp is showing that people are still interested in novel and intriguing dessert options.

There are also plenty of opportunities to put your own spin on these trending items. As an example, we couldn’t find a recipe for gluten-free pineapple buns on Google. Is anyone brave enough to develop one?

As another idea, stretchy ice cream seems typically served in cones or bowls. How else could you show it off and make it special for your readers? Is stretchy ice cream cake a possiblity? Or could stretchy ice cream be used as the filling of a cake?

Would layered stretchy ice cream work, such as in a mud pie? That sounds pretty interesting.

We’d love to hear if you develop anything exciting from these suggestions.

Pinterest Logos

PINTEREST PREDICTS

     At-Home Bars Will Be Big in 2020

Pinterest also released their end-of-year forecasts, based on people’s activity on the platform. Foremost among their predictions are at-home bars. Pinterest reports massive spikes in searches for “outside kitchen bars.”

“Home coffee stations” are also up big on Pinterest.

These things don’t need much further explanation. Both are areas where people can create food and drink in their homes.

What this means for food bloggers. If these trends continue into 2020, it’d be great news for food bloggers. This report means that people are excited to entertain at home next year. These items may emphasize beverages, but when people host gatherings, they’ll need food, too, of course.

In addition to writing recipes and posts that work well for small parties, you could also come up with dishes that complement the beverage bar experience. We’re thinking small plates – like tapas – and finger foods will work well. Snacks on skewers – like this and this – would undoubtedly go over well.

     Some other Pinterest trends worth noting – and that you could capitalize on...


“Homemade baby foods” – up by 375%
“Macedonian food” - up by 500%
“Arabic treats” - up by 400%
"West African food” - by 300%

A final note: searches for "dog-safe cake recipe" are up over 150%. What's the story with that? We mean that quite literally: we want to hear stories about people making cakes that they can share with family, friends, and pets.

Well, we're going to investigate – and will be reporting more on this in 2020.

Washing Hands

FOOD SAFETY DANCE

We try to keep it pretty light and fun around here. This newsletter is meant to be a positive in your week!

At the same time, we are here to help food bloggers – and this is a serious topic: food safety.

(Insert the sound of a record scratch here.)

This is also an important opportunity for you, too – an opportunity to be an industry leader on this subject.

In the United States each year, 48 million people get food sickness. That’s one in six Americans! 128,000are hospitalized.

These figures are nothing short of jaw-dropping. Further, the U.S. is pretty aggressive in combating foodborne illness. It is not exactly passive on this issue.

The volume of foodborne illness occurs despite much concerted effort.

What’s more – and this is very relevant for food bloggers – 21% of foodborne illnesses are contracted in the home.

A recent study on the issue has found that even though home cooks know best practices for food safety, they skip them!

The study found that recipes can be an effective place to communicate food safety information – and that people tend to follow recipes’ safety instructions.

For example, when a recipe included the instruction to wash one’s hands after handling eggs, 63% of study participants did so.

If the recipe did not include that instruction, only 22% of people washed their hands. A big difference!

As a result, the Partnership for Food Safety Education released a new Safe Recipe Style Guide to help home cooks keep people safe.

As the guide says, “The Safe Recipe Style Guide is designed for use by any recipe writer – professional recipe developers and food journalists, as well as hobbyists – who writes and publicizes recipes for distribution to the public.”

The guide provides many examples of how to incorporate food safety instructions. For instance, from a recipe for Moroccan Chicken With Eggplant-Zucchini Ragout:

“Add leg quarters to pan, skin-side down. Wash hands with soap and water after handling uncooked chicken. Brown chicken, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes per side.”

Or this, from a recipe for Green Beans With Bacon And New Potatoes:

Wash hands with soap and water. Cut bacon into thirds on clean meat cutting board. Wash cutting board.

What this means for food bloggers:   Well, obviously you can follow the many suggestions shared in the guide. We must say, the guidelines are pretty clear and easy to understand.

Not only can you include food safety instructions in your recipes, but you can let your readers know that you are doing so. This is a clear indication that you care about your audience – because you do, right?

This one seems like a no-brainer. Not only can you produce exciting recipes to share with your readers, you can help them in the process!

Hershey's Kisses

QUICK BITES

     Hershey Kisses Cereal

Sometimes we just like to report interesting updates from the world of food and eating. In that vein, we’d like to alert you that you can now have Hershey’s kisses as your breakfast, thanks to this new cereal.

What this means for food bloggers:   We can’t help ourselves – we do see some opportunities with this one. Just as Chex Muddy Buddies have become a tried, true, and – for some – treasured dessert snack. Could you invent something exciting and tasty using this new cereal? If you could, your recipe could get some attention, we believe. We’d even be interested in trying rice krispy treats made with this new cereal on our next scheduled cheat days. (Or, um, our next unscheduled ones!)

     Food Blogger Painful Parody

We can’t decide if we like this or if it makes us a little uncomfortable. Daniel Neman, food writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wrote up a parody of a food blog recipe introduction . . . that never gets to the recipe.

We really like that food bloggers share personal stories and put their recipes into context. At the same time, sometimes the intros may be a little much.

After a serious and heated debate, the Eats Index staff agreed that “less is often more” when it comes to recipe introductions. However, we also agreed that a creative, delicious, and enticing recipe makes up for any wordiness that may precede it!

Raspberries

     Rosé Raspberries

We’re a little out of season on this one, we admit it. But we came across this news recently, and we’re marking our calendars for next year...

Driscoll’s – a large, California-based grower of berries – introduced rosé raspberries and strawberries this past year.

The berries are entirely fresh produce – no alcohol has been added whatsoever. But the berries were developed to emulate the sweet and floral notes of rosé wine.

These make us think of another interesting development we’ve tried in the past: cotton candy grapes, which are simultaneously weird and delightful.

As we said, we’re a little late now – the berries’ season has already come and gone. As we look forward to next year, though, we are making a point to try this special produce item. These berries sound exciting – and sampling a bunch is on our summer 2020 bucket list!


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