28th January 2022
A GROWING UNDERSTANDING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF FOOD PRODUCTION IS BEING REFLECTED IN DINER PREFERENCES.
In this article, thanks to Unilever Food Solutions, we have taken highlights from their 2022 ANZ Food Trends Report. Download the full report here
In 2022, it won’t be enough for food to be tasty, nutritious and well presented. Driven by eco-conscious Gen Z and millennial diners, the matters of provenance and production are becoming as important as any other factor in the food choices being made by consumers.
‘Clean eating’ emerged several years ago as a dietary approach that shunned processed foods. Since then, the movement has evolved to include a broader set of beliefs and is now more usefully labelled conscious consumption.
The rise in popularity of conscious consumption poses a fresh challenge for chefs—creating menus that tick all these boxes without compromising on taste, quality or profitability.
Transparency & Provenance
As people become more mindful of the food they put in their bodies, the importance for menus to show what’s in a meal—and what’s not—grows. Experts agree that transparency is now a major selling point, especially when it comes to local and ethically sourced ingredients. Research by food company ADM shows more than a quarter of people globally look for the country of origin on labels, a trend their report says is growing.
According to a late-2021 research report by HelloFresh, a third of us are shopping more locally for food than we did 10 years ago, and a quarter of us are committed to buying more sustainably as we recognise the benefits — environmental, economic and security — of homegrown produce.
Industrial agriculture and automated supply chains share a small range of produce with markets, limiting our access to heritage, or heirloom, vegetables. In fact, around 75% of our food supply comes from just 12 plant species.
Gone are the days when heirloom vegetables were exclusively found in top end restaurants, with iconic varieties including the Queensland Blue pumpkin, Western Red carrot and Crystal Apple cucumber now more easily accessed and appearing on mainstream menus.
Takeaway and Delivery
Food delivery was booming prior to the arrival of COVID, but the forced shift to out-of-venue dining sent the channel into overdrive. In 2022, it is predicted the habits formed by consumers will persist and home dining will remain a very popular activity.
Supporting the ongoing demand for takeaway and delivery is data from Accenture, which found that 69% of people intend to socialise at home or virtually for the foreseeable future.
Dishes and Time of Day are Disconnecting
As people’s work and home life schedules continue to reflect a broader shift in the way we live, traditional notions of what food should be eaten—and when—have also loosened.
Reimagining dishes that were previously connected to a particular time of day gives chefs a platform for creativity and diners a delightful new experience.
For some people, a hectic lifestyle makes eating on the go a more viable option. For others, popular new diets that dictate smaller meals to be consumed more often are the driver.
Eating out for Breakfast
As more and more people choose to eat out for their first meal of the day, breakfast and brunch are considered growth opportunities not just for cafés, but also for other lunch and dinner-focused venues such as pubs and restaurants.
It’s possible nothing currently surpasses the sandwich as a platform for culinary creativity. Its ability to meet a variety of modern diner needs will ensure it continues to be reinvented on menus across Australia and New Zealand.
Sandwiches are the near-perfect response to modern life, and we suspect they are set to go even bigger in 2022 with reinvented offerings and dedicated sandwich menus.
Comfort can take many forms. In food, it can mean a warm and hearty meal, a family favourite or a deeply nostalgic dish that evokes childhood memories.
Chefs can capitalise on a yearning for the dishes of yesteryear by giving a modern or creative twist to nanna’s favourite recipes—think tuna mornay, zucchini slice and tea cakes.