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Issue 010
Chestnuts for roasting
Roasted Chestnuts, courtesy Cooking on the Weekends

Holiday greetings, folks!  🎁 

Our newsletter arrives in your inbox every Tuesday, whether it’s Christmas Eve or not...

Today, as it so happens, is Christmas Eve! We hope you have a merry one.

We thought about theming today’s issue with holiday topics and colors. And don’t get us wrong: we really do love Christmas here.

At the same time, maybe you need a quick break from all the “merry merry”?

Or maybe you’d like some good, complimentary conversation starters that aren’t Christmas-centered?

Well, we’ve got lots of useful and intriguing topics to share with you today.

** And if you’re too busy with last-minute wrapping (or heaven forbid: shopping), by all means star 🌟or flag  🚩this email for later enjoyment.

** You can also see past articles and trends on our website’s article archive page.

Okay, enough chit-chat. Poke the yule log, pull up some egg nog, and settle in. Let’s get started!

Poached Egg Breakfast

BREKKY, FASTER

The International House of Pancakes announced that they are opening a new chain of restaurants, focused on speed and convenience. It’s called Flip’d.

(Apparently they’re omitting some of the vowels and consonants there, um, for the sake of speed and convenience?)

Flip’d will feature foods that can be eaten on the go. The restaurant will offer far fewer tables and seats than parent IHOP.

More restaurants are getting into the breakfast space – and that’s fine. However, food bloggers should know that the NPD Group reports that 78% of breakfasts are eaten from home (or prepared at home and eaten later.)

What this means for food bloggers:   A lot of food blogs feature delicious recipes that can be shared over a leisurely brunch with family and friends. That’s great, but IHOP’s move serves as a reminder that there’s a large segment of people who want breakfast and want it fast.

You could create a special category of on your site: fast breakfasts, workday breakfasts, or prepare-ahead breakfasts. These recipes could be delicious (natch!), portable, quick and healthy.

Breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos would fit the bill, of course.

We’d love to see what you come up with! If you do create quick and convenient Flip’d-like breakfast recipes, we’d just like to request that you don’t randomly drop any vowels or consonants from them, please!

Asian Soup

BON APPETIT’S FAVORITE RECIPES FROM 2019

Ah, the end of the year! So many entertaining year-end lists! There’s so much interesting stuff to read, it’s a wonder we get any holiday shopping done at all!

Bon Appetit magazine recently shared their eighteen favorite recipes from the previous twelve months.

(Shouldn’t it have been their favorite nineteen recipes from 2019, though??)

We scoured the list, looking for trends and patterns. The writers at Bon Appetit are very knowledgeable and adventurous when it comes to food. What excited them in 2019?

• Two chicken soups made the list!
• Two lentil dishes were represented. (Who would have guessed? Is that particular legume becoming more popular?)
• Three rice dishes made the list: sushi rice, along with a risotto and a biryani.
Asian flavors were huge – with five entries (not counting the biryani). There were three Italian recipes (such as pasta dishes.)
• Nearly 40% of the dishes were vegetarian. Zero were vegan.
• Finally: two galettes made the list! One savory (with tomatoes), the other sweet (featuring apples).

What was missing: chocolate. Not a single entry! We were a bit surprised by this.

Sweets in general were not well represented, with only two recipes, both of which featured apples.

Mexican flavors were also not present. One of BA’s favorite dishes is a steak with a salsa, but that doesn’t exactly scream Mexican fare to us.

Key takeaways – and what this means for food bloggers:   Bon Appetit’s list has a lot of variety. The staff there certainly has eclectic tastes and preferences.

If the recipe-reading public is anything like the folks at Bon Appetit, you could find a few important points from the list:

Comfort foods are always a solid offering. It doesn’t get more quintessentially comforting than chicken soup! Also, unlike say, mac and cheese or casserole, chicken soup is at once comforting and pretty healthy.

If you ever have trouble figuring out what type of recipe to share with your readers, you could certainly focus your attention on dishes that are both comforting and healthy.

Asian flavors – and Asian takes on non-Asian food, such as burgers – could be big for you in the coming year.

Exciting, “show stopping” recipes, like galettes and biryani, unquestionably have a good chance to capture people’s attention and create waves for you.

Edible Coffee Cups

SAVE SOME ROOM FOR THE COFFEE CUP!

Our main goal here if, of course, to help you grow your food blog. That’s why we show up at our desks each day!

At the same time, we also want to help you overall – and here’s an interesting, food-related tidbit that you could share if a New Year’s gathering gets dull or has a lull.

One ongoing trend in the world of food is sustainability...

Well, news broke that Air New Zealand – to reduce waste – has been experimenting with edible coffee cups!

It works like this: you drink your in-flight coffee — and then literally eat the cup. Apparently, it tastes a little like a sweet vanilla cracker.

Air New Zealand serves eight million cups of coffee each year – so this idea could greatly reduce waste. According to the airline, passenger reaction has been quite favorable.

We’re not sure if we’re on board (no pun intended) yet with the concept of eating our coffee cups, but we'd be up (no pun) for trying it!!

What do you think?

What this means for food bloggers:   Well, this edible coffee cup idea is just inherently interesting, right?

Secondly, you could brainstorm ways to provide sustainable, edible options for your recipes. What about replacing paper picnic plates with baked sweet potato “plates”? Or is there any way you could create edible chopsticks?

Finally, you and your readers can order the Air New Zealand cups to try for yourselves. Wouldn’t they make for a fun and memorable brunch? (They ship from New Zealand, so order a few weeks in advance.)

We’d be very interested (and extremely excited) if any food blogger created a recipe that uses edible coffee cups. Dessert seems appropriate. How about a pudding or a fruit salad?

If you go and get creative with this idea, please let us know! We'd love to hear about a dish so delicious that it inspires people to eat their plates!

Blue Apron Diabetes Friendly Recipes

DIABETES-FRIENDLY DISHES DELIVERED

Here at Eats Index, we see meal kit companies like Blue Apron as competition to food blogs.

And to be clear, we’d rather people cook the creative and inspiring recipes you share instead of opting for a service that delivers ingredients and recipes bundled up in a no-thought-required package.

At the same time, we want you to benefit from what Blue Apron and its ilk are doing and providing.

Blue Apron recently partnered with the American Diabetes Association. The service will now be providing diabetes-friendly options.

This is very smart. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that nearly one in three Americans has diabetes or pre-diabetes.

As Blue Apron’s press release says, their diabetes-friendly dishes will “emphasize fresh produce and lean protein while reducing added sugar.” We think this is a pretty cool step,

While we're at it, we also wanted to point out Blue Apron’s other recipe categories…

Plant-Forward
Carb Conscious
Mediterranean
Vegetarian
500 Calories Or Less
Weight Watchers Approved
Diabetes Friendly

What this means for food bloggers:   Blue Apron is a smart business. They wouldn’t be offering these categories if there weren’t demand for them.

These types of recipes are clearly what people are interested in. These represent the trends that are alive and well for home cooks.

Do you write any recipes that take advantage of these categories? If you don’t, could you benefit by dabbling in them?

Further, these categories are named clearly and succinctly. Are yours?

Does your blog occasionally publish diabetes-friendly recipes? Do you label and promote them as such?

We want to help you succeed and connect with your readers. No matter what color your apron!

Healthy Soil

REGENERATIVE ORGANIC CERTIFICATION SENSATION

Two of the biggest trends we’ve been following this year are sustainability and healthy ingredients. These are just big – and what people across the world are interested when it comes to food.

Well, in 2020, look out for a new label on foods that will speak directly to both sustainability and healthy ingredients. Foods will be labelled as “Regenerative Organic.”

We all know what “organic” means. The “regenerative” part goes one step further – and conveys that the farm behind the product operates in a way that is most healthy for the land. On this type of farm, the soil is managed so that it can “regenerate” itself.

The certification will be overseen by the Regenerative Organic Alliance, whose motto is “Farm like the World Depends on it.”

We’ll be interested to see if this label catches on with the public. Overall, it sounds promising...

One quick, related suggestion for you:     If you have some spare time and are in need of a movie recommendation, we suggest renting The Biggest Little Farm. This feel-good documentary tells the story of two city dwellers who move out to the country and try starting a sustainable farm from scratch. It’s a very enjoyable and inspiring film!

Pavlova Platters
Pavlova Platter, created by Swish Biscuits, Canberra, Australia.

PASS THE PAVLOVA PLATTER PLEASE

Cheese boards have been quite the rage for a few years now – and that’s okay with us.

These platters offer a variety of finger foods that are exciting and tasty: cheeses, meats, olives, breads, spreads, etc. These platters are excellent for parties and for sharing.

They’re also great for photos on Instagram and food blogs. Dennis the Prescott has taken some of our favorite cheese board shots.

The Daily Mail reports that pavlova boards have become quite popular in Australia this year.

You know pavlovas: they’re baked meringue with a smooth, crisp surface. They’re light inside, not too sweet, and typically topped with fruit and cream.

The concept of pavlova boards was developed by Canberra-based baker Shalini Nestor, owner of the Swish Biscuit confection shop.

The idea is so popular that Swish Biscuits is now selling an ebook with pavlova recipes and serving suggestions.

What this means for food bloggers:   What other platter-type dishes can you think of? We hadn’t seen a pavlova board coming, but now that it exists, it kind of makes sense.

What other twists on a platter can you come up with? Really the only requirement is that the items be finger foods and shareable. Mini-muffin boards, anyone? Middle Eastern-inspired falafel boards?

Alternately, how could you put your own spin on cheese or pavlova boards?

And when you come up with some good ideas, could you please invite the Eats Index staff over to taste test??

Produce in Market

VEGAN TRENDS FOR 2020

Many of our readers run vegan recipe sites. But you don’t have to be vegan (or even vegetarian) to benefit from Live Kindly’s top ten trends for 2020.

One notable prediction on their list: the expected rise of vegan cheese. We’ve all seen how Beyond Meat and Impossible Burgers captured attention and menu space this year. The forecast next step is vegan cheese. Indeed, companies like Domino’s and Pizza Hut have been experimenting with vegan cheese in Europe and Australia — and the initial reports are positive.

Also on the Live Kindly’s list: vegan chicken. This food item will follow the success of faux burgers – and is already in the works at chains like Kentucky Fried Chicken.

One more trend Live Kindly is predicting: vegan eggs.

(This all makes us wonder which came first: the vegan chicken or the vegan egg?)

What this means for food bloggers:   Opportunities here abound. There are not many recipes currently available that use vegetarian/vegan eggs, for instance. You could certainly plant your flag in this space.

Alternately, to capitalize on this food trend, you could at least offer variations on your future recipes that incorporate these soon-to-be trending ingredients.

The whole list is interesting and fodder for ideas. It’s worth your checking out for sure!

And sorry about that chicken and egg joke above. We couldn't resist. Some yolks aren't all they are cracked up to be! 🐣


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