Here at Bespoke when we develop and create new menus, we not only draw upon our industry experience and client briefs but also look to current food trends. The following are a summary of the food trends that we think will be informing our menus, and the industry in general, over the coming year.
Plant-Based Eating: The Rise of the Vegetable
Over the past few years there has been a decided shift in our eating habits towards vegetable focused dishes and tied in with this, there’s also been a dramatic rise in the number of people identifying as either vegetarian or vegan. As meat and fish take a lesser role in our diet, plant-based eating is now becoming the new normal.
The figures supporting this are quite astounding – according to research undertaken by The Vegan Society in the UK the number of people identifying as vegan in the UK has risen to over 600,000, quadruple the 2014 figures, while 2017 YouGov data showed that 25% of millennials claim to be either vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian. In the US there has been a 600% increase in the number of vegans, according to a GlobalData report, and now account for nearly 6% of all US consumers. Alongside these statistics, international home-delivery service Just Eat has named veganism as one of 2018’s top consumer trend, and has seen a 94% increase in orders for healthy food.
This trend is being driven by a number of factors, including by those looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle and by those reacting to an increased awareness about sustainability and the effect of mass meat and fish production on the environment. From faux flesh to creative chefs, meat is now taking a back seat.
*Vegetables becoming ‘meat’ – the increase in faux meats and meat alternatives (often made with vegetable protein) see The Bleeding Burger
*The increased research into lab grown meat and fish
*Fast-casual restaurants and grab and go establishments are embracing vegetarian and vegan options, see: Veggie Pret, by Chloe
*Rise of new ingredients such as seaweed, ancient grains, heritage veg, hemp
*The use of bold flavourings, from herbs and spices, and to lift vegetables even further
*Seasonal eating and local sourcing
Health is Wealth
Closely related to the above trend is a move towards health and wellness through the food we eat. It’s no longer about adhering to often unproven faddy diets of exclusion, in an effort to improve our well-being, but rather about eating in a more balanced and well-thought out way that’s beneficial for both the body and the mind. People are now increasingly adopting all-encompassing, yet balanced diets consisting of foods that boost and soothe, treat and heal. This idea of food as medicine means there’s a new generation that are choosing foods and ingredient combinations not only for taste and flavour, but also for their nutritional benefits.
*People eating less meat and more vegetables
*A move towards flexitarian diets
*Clean eating – but now on the decline
*The age of self-care
*The rise in the use of proven functional foods – as discussed in our previous blog here
*Nutritious fast food
*Reducing sugar intake
Reducing Kitchen Waste: From Food to Plastic + Sustainable Eating
The global problem with food waste has reached tipping point, and consumers and producers are finally waking up to the enormity of the problem. We’re now seeing the development of new technology and innovative schemes to tackle the problem – be it root-to-leaf and nose-to-tail eating or changes in packaging and labelling methods. From supermarkets and restaurants to the home kitchen, initiatives to decrease food waste and surplus packaging have dominated this year’s trends and look set to continue to dominate over the coming years. Tied in with a decided push towards more sustainable production and consumption it seems we’re finally witnessing an industry sea change in the ongoing war against waste.
*Creative menu writing
*Ethically and locally produced food
*Hyper local shopping and seasonal eating
*Provenance and sustainability
*Transparency in the food chain
*Reinventing food waste as new ingredients
*Lab-grown meats and fish
*The growth of the slow food movement
*New packaging, dating and labelling techniques, including edible packaging and drinks in cans or glass instead of plastic
*High-density urban farming
Artisan and Craft
The past few years has seen the rise and rise of small, independent food and drink producers and sellers and the revival of age-old techniques, methods and recipes. Consumers have been turning away from the mass-produced towards unique and high quality craft and artisanal products, and in turn supporting local suppliers and driving innovation within the industry.
*Increasing demand for food transparency and trace-ability
*Ethical and sustainable sourcing and production methods
*The rise of local farmer’s markets
*A demand for bold and authentic flavours
*The seemingly unstoppable growth of the craft beer and spirits industry
Street-Food: Going Strong and Going Permanent
From Sydney to Tokyo and New York to London and many a city in between, the popularity of street food shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. This growth has been heavily driven at a grass-roots level by a new generation of well-travelled, time-poor consumers, who are eager to eat different globally-inspired flavours and dishes on a regular basis. Street food’s current popularity and diversity is now also having a growing influence on the eating-out market as whole, and is a breeding ground for wider industry trends as well. In fact in many cases restaurateurs and chefs are using street food stalls as an opportunity to trial concepts and experiment with menus before launching permanent bricks and mortar sites.
According to MCA, the forecast is for the UK street food market turnover to grow by nearly 10% this year to £1.2bn, and by the end of this year street food outlets are expected to reach nearly 8,500, which is a growth rate in excess of 6% – which is very healthy indeed.
*The rise of food halls and Asian-style night markets
*Restaurants with communal eating areas
*The elevation of street food
*Classically trained chefs opening street food stalls
*Global in-authenticity and new fusion foods
*Established brands opening small popups and street food stalls
Global Cuisines and Authenticity
The following are some of the world cuisines that are gaining in popularity and having the greatest influence on the food and drink sector – be it through ingredients and dishes or through techniques and cooking equipment.
*The Levant and the greater Middle East – including Israeli, Turkish, Persian, Lebanese
*Asian – Filipino, Japanese, Regional Chinese, Korean
Given the multi-cultural country we live in we’re also seeing plenty of cross-pollination from one cuisine to the next and the boundaries of authenticity are becoming blurred. While there’s still plenty of regionally authentic food to be found we’re also seeing the rebirth of fusion food and cuisine mash-ups, as chefs and cooks take global flavours and filter them through a local lens to create their own inauthentic dishes.
Fermenting and Pickling
Fermenting and pickling are age-old techniques that have long been used to preserve foodstuffs and boost flavour and texture profiles, and now we’re seeing these techniques once again becoming popular with modern-day chefs and home cooks alike.
In part this is down to the continued drive towards health and wellness – fermented foods and drinks and known to be beneficial for our overall wellbeing and in particular our gut health, and so people are consuming them more than ever. But it’s also linked to the growing trend for artisanal products, as well as the simple fact that these foods and drink usually taste delicious – using fermented ingredients is known to add layers of savoury umami flavour to dishes.
One chef helping to push this revival is Noma’s Rene Redzepi, who has just published a new book The Noma Guide to Fermentation, co-authored by David Zilber (a chef who holds the unique position of Noma’s director of fermentation!). For Redzepi the principal reason to ferment food, is not for the health aspect, but rather for the flavour. As he points out almost every food that inspires cult-like devotion due to its flavour – be it coffee, wine, chocolate, beer, sourdough, Marmite, miso or kimchi – has undergone some level of fermentation.
He believes that the reason the process of fermentation has become quite so fashionable in recent years is precisely because it’s the antidote to everything digital – as he says, ‘it’s wholesome rather than pretty. It’s drawn out rather than instant. It’s reassuringly old-fashioned too.’
Redzepi also explains that the techniques of fermentation can be applied to all manner of foods – for example sauerkraut is basically made using a lactic acid fermentation a process which can be applied to almost any fruit or vegetable – and as such is incredibly versatile and drives experimentation in the kitchen.
Some of our favourite ferments and pickles:
*Asian fish sauce
*Garum – A ancient Roman take on fish sauce
*Kombucha – a non-alcoholic alternative
*Tempeh – made using fermented soya beans
*Hoppers – made using fermented rice batter
*Injera – made from fermented teff
*Hozon – fermented seasoning similar to miso (made by Momofuku)
*Bonji – fermented cold pressed liquid similar to soy (made by Momofuku)
Back-to-Basics Cooking: Hello to Simple
For many years now the world of fine dining has been seen as the pinnacle of a chefs career and a high point for anyone in the restaurant industry – encouraged by lists from the likes of Michelin and The World’s 50 Best. However times are a’ changing and we’re now seeing a noticeable shift away from the world of fine dining and all its associated fussiness and over-complicated cooking, as chefs look to go back-to-basics and diners seek out more accessible food. It’s now all about a much more relaxed and restrained style of cooking, one in which dishes are kept simple and the ingredients, textures and flavours are allowed to shine with minimal interference.
*The rise of neighbourhood-style restaurants
in London see:
The Quality Chop House
Six Portland Road
40 Maltby St
*The growth of the fast-casual dining sector
*Single dish restaurants
*Vegetable-led dishes and plant-based eating
*Chefs leaving high-level, high-pressure positions for more relaxed restaurant environments
*Bold and bodacious flavours
*Local and seasonal sourcing of high quality ingredients
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