What’s influencing the latest food trends of 2017 – words Alexa Wang

What are going to be the latest food trends that really take off in 2017? Only time will tell because fads are almost impossible to predict. Who could have guessed that the cronut, rainbow bagels or wonky vegetables would all hit it big in recent years? What we can tell is what social concerns and practices will inform our dining in 2017.

Here we present the three fashions that have enough longevity in the our culinary consciousness to impact what we eat this year.

latest food trends

Sustainability

Sustainability is likely to be one of the big trends for food in 2017. Among the super trendy, sustainable food was already a major focus in 2016. Restaurant.org says there have been “strong trends toward sustainability in the food space for several years now,” and that these trends are only expected to grow stronger.

The National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot Forecast has predicted that sustainability will dominate the food concept trends in the coming year, pointing specifically to hyper-local sourcing, natural ingredients, locally sourced produce, reduced food waste, simplicity and environmental sustainability as sustainable concept trends. In fact, seven of its ten concept trend predictions are based on sustainability.

In smaller ways, we can see indications of how sustainability has become mainstream, from the introduction of “seasonal” bags of fruit and wonky vegetables in supermarkets, to the emphasis on food waste reduction in catering kitchens large and small.

Rental kitchen company, Dephna, who were recently recognised for their work with small food businesses, have written about four simple ways to reduce food waste within their sector. These guidelines are set out for the most ground level food businesses, where sustainability is a prime concern for resources as well as customers. Some of their tips include offering varied portion sizes to suit customer’s actual portion needs and donating surplus stock to those in need.

latest food trends

Future foods

Every new year brings us one step closer to the future, so it makes sense to incorporate ever more futuristic foods into your restaurant’s menu every time January comes around. Dubbed the 21st century space race, Mars missions are a hot topic worldwide. Paired with a drive for sustainability, long lasting foods with key nutrition are slated to become more widely discussed in 2017.

Forbes foodie Phil Lempert says 2017 “promises to be one of the most exciting in the history of food.” So what does this mean for the daily menu in your humble eatery?

You could start catering for Silicon Valley-types (computer developers, young tech entrepreneurs, etc.) and bring in some so-called “complete food” along the lines of Soylent. These plant-based concoctions claim to offer complete nutrition in one simple mix (normally a drink).

Though unpopular with food critics at the moment, Soylent and related future foods have made appearances in restaurants, and there is a definite opportunity for a pioneering small diner to carve out a nutritionally-complete niche as a game-changing establishment by incorporating these futuristic substances into their menus.

Future foods also includes the production of sustainable ingredients, notably meat artificially created without the need for animals; which has serious knock-on effects for the environment. One Medium writer shared his experience of tasting meat for the first time in 20 years, meat that was grown in the lab.

future foods

Delivery

According to the Financial Times, home delivery will be a major food trend in 2017. This is one of the latest food trends that has been spurred by the continued success of startups like Deliveroo and initiatives like Uber Eats, both of which allow consumers to order meals from luxury restaurants to their homes and offices.

Deliveroo is now operational in 52 cities worldwide connecting many independent restaurants to customers who cannot (or will not) make it to their premises. Founder Will Shu describes the ideal Deliveroo clients as “bistros that would not normally deliver.” If that sounds like your restaurant, it may be worth signing up.

What delivery enables, when made more broadly accessible, is diversity. Fast food delivery no longer has to stick to what is typically available online: Chinese, Indian, pizza. Instead, healthier options and more sustainable takeaways can be found by diners. Its enabling pop-up choices from home.

Services like Deliveroo and UberEats in particular also have the sustainability factor working for them, with riders (cyclists) instead of drivers, using man power over harmful fossil fuels.

What’s influencing the latest food trends of 2017 – words Alexa Wang

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