In this column, we evaluate the new food trends that are impacting the global consumer industry.
Plant based menus: as the consumer moves towards a more sustainable and healthier lifestyle, one trend we’re seeing is the demand for more plant based options in restaurants. Consumers are moving away from meats and embracing plant based alternatives. Owing, not only to the obvious health benefits and impact on the environment but also to the fact that eating plant based has become a topic of conversation and more over a status symbol for people in the community. According to a study interests in plant based diets and meal plans went up by 31% in the previous year along with interest in meat alternatives, alternative dairy, honey and other plant based options.
Smaller more refined menus: With the pandemic shutting down so many restaurants and eateries, both globally and locally in India, we will see a rise in specialty restaurants with smaller more refined menus. Restaurateurs now know that there is no real need for a 40-50 item menu, they know to stick with what works and not adding unnecessary frills to the menu just for the sake of filling pages. Cutting down on running costs and huge manpower will be the driving force in the year ahead for restaurants.
Experiences matter more: Intimate experiences are always appreciated and with people stepping out finally for the first time in almost 2 years they will be looking for personal experiences and service when going to bars and restaurants. One on one dinners with chefs, wine tastings with sommeliers and interacting with front of the house staff will take prominence in dining spaces. Experiences like pasta making, expertly curated and organized 5 course meals, wine tastings, themed evenings, etc. will become the norm in the year ahead.
Cloud kitchens and takeaways: Eating indoors has become the norm in the last 2 years and the takeaway trend still shows promise as experts believe we will continue to drink and dine in. Due to the pandemic still looming over us, the impending inflation and continuing supply chain issues we will still spend a lot of time dining indoors with our loved ones. Cloud kitchens and takeaway will continue simply because it is easier for them to operate, with lower costs, no service staff and the meteoric rise of the food delivery space, there are no signs of them stopping operations in the 2022.
Functional foods – body and environment: The fact that Sustainability is on everyones lips is not hidden any more, people know so much more about the food they are consuming now than they did even 3 years ago. A rise in sustainable and accountable farming has led to soaring numbers for sustainable consumption. Food that is good for the environment but also good for the body, have taken precedence in the consumers’ minds. Over 70% of consumers noted a higher stress level with episodes of anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. To combat this people have started to opt for foods that not only nourish the body perfectly but also provide mental comfort and calm. Foods like plant based chocolate and vegan pastries are taking the world by storm and will continue their rise in 2022.
Sustainable grains: Regenerative farming practices are have been the talk of the town this past year and we can expect to see it expand to other regions as well. A perennial grain called kernza, which is a new type of wheat helps replenish nutrients in the soil as well as binding it. This grain was developed by the Land Institute in Kansas, USA and will be seen in everything from cereal to beer.
Sea to stove: people are looking to the ocean as an answer to the ongoing inflation in the meat market. As more and more consumers are deciding to take a step towards veganism we are seeing Pescetarianism becoming a middle ground for people who want to live a healthier life without the commitment of veganism. Not only will we see a rise in fish and seafood consumption, other bounties of the sea will also become more plentiful on our plates. Ingredients like seaweed, kelp and other aquatic vegetation have long been a part of many food cultures around the globe but now we can expect to see these more often in our diets.