Twenty years ago, NASA declared that quinoa was the perfect meal for astronauts on long-term missions because of the grain’s high amino acid and mineral content. To the rest of us, this superfood remained somewhat of a mystery until recent years, only to crop up in highly competitive games of Scrabble (it’s a 15-pointer, in case you were wondering). Production of the grain has grown by around 50 per cent since 1999, fuelled by its popularity in the United States, Australia and Europe.
But quinoa isn’t the only food trend we’re currently experiencing. Recent years have seen a brunch boom, the rise of the food-subscription box and, of course, a new-found breakfast staple, the humble avocado. Here, we investigate what’s in store for 2019.
While we can’t foresee every food trend for 2019, it’s clear that consumer demand for nutritious, ethical and sustainable food will remain at the forefront.
Nutrition: food as medicine
Food’s role in nourishing the body is often lost amongst ridiculous diet trends and health fads. Food and health are undeniably connected, and the industry has spent decades capitalising on this – from detox teas and sludgy smoothies to the rise of the so-called superfoods (here’s a secret for you: they’re all pretty super).
Thankfully, we’re getting clued up. Plant-based eating was the biggest trend of 2018. In fact, Just Eat, which has delivery hubs in 15 countries, reported that 33 per cent of its partner restaurants have needed to introduce vegan options to meet new demand. There are plenty of reasons for the growth of plant-based eating, but health is one of the most obvious. People are becoming more aware of the health benefits of eating fruit and veg and the negative impact of eating animal products.
Not all of us will be switching to fully fledged veganism in 2019. However, the ethos of consuming more fruit and vegetables for the sake of our health will be prevalent in meals designed for vegans, flexitarians and omnivores alike.
Ethics: root to shoot and nose to tail
Ethics could be cited as one of the reasons for the rise in plant based eating in 2018. Consumers are taking a more ethical approach to every part of their eating, including the reduction of food waste.
Root-to-shoot cooking describes making use of commonly wasted food products. For fruit and vegetables, for instance, the goal is to eat the entire plant, including unconventional parts such as cauliflower leaves and potato peels. In 2019, this methodology will begin to impact meat eaters and the meat and poultry industries too. Let’s face it – if we consume the legs, ribs and wings of an animal, why not the cheek, tongue and tail?
Now, before you begin reciting memories of your great-grandparents’ liver-and-tongue stew, we are certainly not suggesting that nose-to-tail eating is a new phenomenon. However, in 2019 we’ll see this trend move into the mainstream.
We’ve already witnessed a shift in how consumers view food. Back in 2017, the British public called for supermarkets to stop binning their misshapen products – namely, wonky vegetables – for the sake of aesthetically pleasing foods. Looking to the future, the public will no longer turn their noses up at unconventional food products, including unusual cuts of meat. Pig-trotter burrito, anyone?
Sustainability: zero waste
Building on growing efforts to reduce food waste, sustainability will also become an important factor for food packaging. We’ve all seen the statistics. On average, a supermarket generates 800,000 tonnes of waste from food products every year – that’s enough to fill 10 yard skips extending from London to Sydney. However, the zero-waste trend doesn’t necessarily equate to packaging-free products.
The philosophy encourages the redesign of products so that materials can be reduced, with the goal of no waste being sent to landfills and incinerators. To ride this trend, food manufacturers must opt for smarter packaging.
Not every consumer will be heading to specialist zero-waste supermarkets, armed with glass jars to fill. However, when faced with the option of sustainable or wasteful packaging, it’s obvious which brand they will prefer.
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