As 2021 draws to a close in a Christmas pud coma, we look to the future and ask what might be on the menu next year.
At the time of writing, it would appear that 2022’s biggest food trend may well be slumping on the sofa eating yet another tepid delivery meal. Covid is proving to be a very adaptable foe and the stay-at-home advice coming from the UK’s different governments is not what the restaurant industry wants to hear during this not so ho ho ho festive season.
However, here at Entertainment Now Towers, we are not going to spoil Christmas by going all Grinch on your ass. Instead, we are going to look on the bright side, cross our fingers and pray that by early 2022, we will all be eager and able to start experiencing some exciting new food trends.
Hopefully these exciting new food trends won’t involve fighting over scraps in some sort of post-apocalyptic, Mad Max hellscape. ‘Dumpster dinner tips’ or ‘Zhuzh up the rat in your ratatouille’ ain’t our style. Although we could see some mileage in an article along the lines of ‘Is scavenging the new foraging?’
Instead, we have gazed into the crystal balls of the hospitality and food sectors to see what fresh fashions and flavours might be on our plates over the next twelve months. In particular, we have been weighing the crystal balls of the Waitrose Food and Drink Report 2021-2022; Better Home Guide’s Seven Food Trends to Watch; The Food People’s Top 10 New and Rising Trends 2021 – 2022 and the always entertaining, annual forecast from global food and restaurant consultancy Baum+Whiteman.
A common thread is that many of us will be eating fewer animals. Whether it be for moral, environmental or health reasons, meat is becoming a more rarely spotted beast on many menus. Obviously, this trend is not exactly hot off the press. But it is growing and lots of new terms are being coined to describe the development. According to Waitrose, the 5:2 diet is becoming a thing. Not the diet where adherents eat reduced calories for five days out of seven but one where they only eat animal products for two out of seven. Another variation on this flexitarianism is reducetarianism, a word so unwieldy that it could give you indigestion just saying it.
The American wing of Whole Foods Market reckons that reducetarianism is just one facet of a wider trend for foods that not only ‘deliver additional benefits’ but also support consumers’ ‘sense of well being’. Ultraurban farms that use aquaponics to grow plants; grains that give back and help soil health; probiotic functional fizz and buzz-free booze are all on the cards over the next twelve months.
Baum+Whiteman make much of the idea that robots will soon be prepping much of our food. In fact, they list several commercial kitchens in the US, Israel and Japan where this is already happening. And what happens in America inevitably finds its way across the Atlantic. The post-pandemic shortage of chefs is as acute in Dallas as it is in Dalston, Dundee or Derby. Automated chefs may be the answer.
There will be knock-on effects. We are looking forward to watching the first Hell’s Kitchen show that features Gordon ‘Robo’ Ramsay terminating a series of hapless head chef droids. ‘Your cheese soufflé is whack, I’ll be back,’ would be the obvious strapline.
Unless your MagiMix mysteriously becomes sentient, it will be a few years yet before domestic kitchens have an automated staff. Happily, there are other ways to keep abreast of the latest culinary trends. The aforementioned industry experts predict that tinned fish, spicy foods, bottled cocktails and something called ‘extreme hummus’ will all be big in 2022. We can enthusiastically get with all of that programme but draw the line at another much touted food of the future: potato milk.
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