Posted by: oysterculture | January 3, 2009

How salted caramel went mainstream

The meteoric rise in popularity of salted caramel blew me away, and apparently I was not the only one, as the New York Times devoted a recent article to this phenomenon.  Salted caramel was named flavor of the year.  I googled ‘salted caramel’ and got over 3 million hits.  It got to the point where serving some form of salted caramel was the restaurant equivalent of  a parochial uniform.  Everyone required salted caramel to be on their menu, or put their own stamp on this theme in some form of desert.  (If you ever went to parochial school, and wore a uniform, you know what I’m talking about. )  

Photo by Melody Lan at The Nibble of Fran's Salted Caramels

Photo by Melody Lan at The Nibble of Fran's Salted Caramels

In the article, Kara Nielsen, a trend analyst for the Center for Culinary Development, states that food trends in America go through 5 phases.  The food, in this case, salted caramels show up in:

  1. 1.  Fine dining, ethnic and independent restaurants
  2. 2.  Specialty publications, Sur La Table, The Food Network
  3. 3.  Chain restaurants, William Sonoma
  4. 4.  Mainstream magazines
  5. 5.  Mainstream grocery

 I’m curious now that salted caramels seem to be everywhere if they are here to stay, becoming like the ever reliable Snickers candybar, or fall from grace like Bubbilcious Bubble Gum as a result of the fickleness of consumers. 

For a study of trends look to:  

Caramel is a leading ingredient for success, along with chocolate (no surprise there). 

Care to place any bets on the next candy craze?  Bon Appetite magazine claims peanut butter desserts are the perfect ending to a meal in 2009.



  1. One of my favorite things in the whole world is the salted caramel ice cream from bi-rite creamery in the mission.

    Oyster – Please visit my blog…I have something for you!

  2. I feel the same way- those folks at Bi-Rite are genius. Don’t get me wrong, that combination is pure bliss. I also saw your write-up on Brenda’s of San Francisco in your blog and cannot wait to check it out. I’ve been craving Creole.

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