Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Food Trends for 2011

Published 1st January 2011

Trend predictions in other countries or even other parts of Australia don’t necessary relate to the local scene but can be a good indication of what might eventuate.

For a number of years, world food trends have emphasised ‘local produce’ and Australians are now showing a greater interest in supporting their local producers of fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat and seafood. These consumers understand seasonality and don’t want year round availability such as the apples that are held in storage for up to nine months and gased to ripen. They are happy to welcome fresh and more nutritious varieties as one season closes another one opens. And with seasonality the old methods of bottling and preserving is making it to some trend lists for 2011. There is a certain satisfaction in buying local produce in bulk at an affordable price, having fun preserving it and enjoying the foods beyond the season.

Smaller portions have become a serious trend in Australia. A report showed that of people who make an effort to eat smaller portions has increased by 46% in 2010 compared with 29% in 2009. With smaller portions, the trend is veering away from strict diets to that of a wider range of foods. Eating a little of this and a little of that can offer a more balanced nutrient intake and can even allow for a little indulgence of ‘forbidden’ foods. The rising popularity of tapas bars, mezza and assaggini menus makes this style of grazing a winner in our economy with smaller price tags and a wide variety of exciting flavours.

Due to MasterChef style television programs, our young people are very switched on about food and want more transparency about where (local, Australian) and how (free range, organic) their food is produced. So there is a trend in demand for more transparency and truth in labelling of ingredients and nutritional data.

Apps are a growing trend and for those with an appetite for food, there’s a whole new world of phone applications to be downloaded onto your smart phone device. You can follow a food trail on a GPS, get a recipe from your favourite chef, find the best restaurant or specialty shop, count your calories, all with the touch of your fingertips wherever you are in the world. Watch out for our region’s comprehensive GPS/APPS download in mid 2011.

For restaurants, I noticed that someone predicted ‘dirt’ instead of sauces. Yes dirt, made from crumbled, powdered and dried ingredients to flavour dishes, as done by chefs Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck and René Redzepi at Copenhagen’s Noma restaurant. We will wait and see if this takes off in our region of the world. The trend of ‘Hyper Local’ is about restaurants with their own gardens outside, inside or even on the roof. It’s also about chefs getting back to their own butchering or even having their own farms. Matt Moran has Moran’s Lamb Farm.

There are many other trends that have been listed for 2011 but there is still a strong following for healthy, nutritional, organic, gluten-free, clean and green, sustainable, carbon & mile reduction. But in the end, rustic and simplicity has got my vote.

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