The year still feels brand new for catering professionals and consumers alike, but the key food trends for 2020 have already become clear. From consumer demand for more sustainable options to consumers using food as a form of escapism, here are 5 of the biggest food trends for this year, taken from the Stir it Up Trends Guide 2020/21.
Children of the Revolution
You need only to look at the global profile of activist Greta Thunberg to recognise that young people are quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, as they stand behind the causes that align with their own values. This role reversal of children influencing adult policy makers has turned into a global movement of young people fighting for their future, and the lifestyle they will have to lead to the impact of decisions made by previous generations.
In the foodservice industry this activism and passionate championing of environmental issues translates into a need for transparency and ethical business practices in order to attract these savvy customers. This means that catering establishments need to accurately communicate their own values and stance on environmental issues, and that their menus have taken into account the rise in veganism amongst Gen Z consumers.
Sustainability should also be a key part of your menu with ethically sourced meat and fish being the new standard. Here at Country Range, we offer a number of sustainably-sourced seafood options, including our Frozen Farmed Atlantic Salmon.
With meat-free dishes now commonplace on menus, and plenty of consumer favourites, such as vegan pasties and vegan sausage rolls now readily available, there’s no excuse for not providing diners with these choices.
A Change of Pace
Speed and impatience have become a common part of daily life – consumers want more than ever before and they want it faster than ever before. However, this fast pace can also have a downside, and technology is contributing to a physical and mental burn out that has consumers seeking a change of pace. Wellbeing is also on the menu as part of this trend, with caterers and chefs shifting their focus on the health benefits of their dishes, not just their flavour and visual appeal.
For those looking to slow down, this change of pace translates to a resurgence in the popularity of traditional cooking techniques and processes which require longer periods of time to fully mature flavours. Traditional items like our Cornish Pasty evoke this feeling of nostalgia perfectly with its hand-crimped finish.
Meanwhile, for those constantly on the go, the foodservice industry has turned its attention to food-to-go product and items that consumers can enjoy on the move. As people rush to and from the office on their lunch breaks, they’ll be reaching for items that are quick and satisfying. To cater to this, sandwiches and salads will continue to increase in popularity, and we have created our range of Fillings, Salads, and Dips to help catering professionals meet that demand.
A common theme across all cultures remains the desire to socialise and create connections with likeminded individuals. The one global interested that is shared the world over, regardless of culture, is food and the act of coming together over a meal. With several countries going through a time of substantial change and unrest rising among people, food offers an opportunity to maintain a community and create a safe space for individuals to come together. Sharing platters, in particular, are ideal for bringing groups together as everyone enjoys the same dishes. Soured Cream Marinated Chicken Wings and Pulled Pork Tacos are just two examples of the kind of recipes that you can easily adapt to sharing dishes.
An Alternative Reality
This theme positions the foodservice industry as a form of escapism for consumers, offering a respite from their hectic lives and the political “hellscape” that is dominating the news in several territories. Dining experiences will be focused on taking diners out of their everyday lives either by way of nostalgia, through luxurious dining experiences, or immersive pop-up offering a unique experience.
Technology will also play a key in creating an immersive experience. Virtual reality can be used to create context for international dishes and tell a cohesive story about the history of the dish, its origins, and the ingredients used.
“Nostalgia is escapism” is a secondary trend in this category and it’s expected that nostalgic recipes like Egg Custard Tart and Chocolate Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding will be popular dessert choices on menus again.
Sustain, Regain, and Connect
The general theme of reducing waste and pollution seeps into the foodservice industry too. Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha are particularly concerned with leading a more sustainable lifestyle, which is reflected in their dining choices. So strong is this feeling of social responsibility among the younger generations that 72% of Gen Z will pay more for products that they deem sustainable and 62% view brands that make pledges to be more sustainable as more trustworthy.
So, how can catering establishments convey their own commitment to sustainability in order to better connect with these demographics? First of all, the use of single-use plastic should be limited whenever possible. Secondly, caterers should be vocal about their own values and commitments to trading in a sustainable manner.
As for the menu itself, waste products and excess ingredients should be transformed into new dishes wherever possible, in order to minimise food waste. Any leftover bakery items, such as pastry or brioche, can form the basis for new dishes like caramelised pastry ice cream or a honey cake made from blitzed brioche. Buying frozen ingredients is another way to minimise food waste. This is because frozen products allow caterers to use exactly how much they need, when they need it, while the rest of the product is kept frozen, preventing it from spoiling or going off. Recognising the benefits of frozen products and ingredients, Country Range Frozen range covering a wide range of different products, including desserts, pastries, and frozen fruit and vegetables.
Where this repurposing of ingredients isn’t a viable option, strive to source ingredients that can be used in a variety of dishes as this too will help to cut down on food waste, and reduce the carbon footprint of a business as it will lead to fewer number orders and delivers. If you are stuck on ideas for how you can use common ingredients in different ways, take a look at our “Five Ways to Use” guides for some inventive ways to use Country Range products.
Read More About These Food Trends
If you want to read about these trends in greater detail, then be sure to check out the full Stir it Up Trends Guide 2020/21. You can either read it online here or request a copy of it from your local Country Range Group Wholesaler.