By Ellie Coughlan | Head Development Chef |
| Plant Based Progress |
It’s hard to condense plant based progress into a short paragraph. You only have to read a few articles to be bombarded with facts and figures, about how much this has grown over the last couple of years. Now firmly mainstream, vegan food is HUGE. Last year, the UK launched more vegan products than any other nation (source: marketingweek.com) and unlike other trends, which start in restaurants and trickle down into retail, you could argue that the retailers are overtaking the restaurants and launching more and more products by the week. Expect to see more vegan books, vegan menus, vegan based restaurants, vegan documentaries. The list goes on.
| Vegetables Dominate |
Vegetables are being championed and they don’t have to shout about being vegan or vegetarian either. Restaurants such as Eneko Basque Kitchen & Bar in Covent Garden, have a menu which is 75% vegetables, along with vegan and vegetarian dedicated menus. Chefs are predicting vegetable tartare will be infiltrating restaurant menus, along with jackfruit, the new hot ingredient, which has already been seen in many chain restaurants Including Giraffe, Pizza Express and Chiquito’s. Chefs will also be adding more vegetables into pasta, pizza, breads, and sauces; and even creating full vegetable burgers, jerky and chips, made from ingredients like mushrooms, aubergine, sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, or cauliflower.
| Gut Health |
Fermented food has soared in recent years, driven by the health boom. With the popularity of probiotics, prebiotics, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and gochujang alike, these inclusions not only taste fantastic and add non replicable richness to dishes, but they are proven to be good for you too. Continuing to grow, pickling and preserving is certainly now mainstream.
| Sharing is Caring |
“We recommend sharing” is one of the most popular phrases used in restaurants today. The casual dining scene is booming, street food is still seen as trendy, and the idea of eating on communal benches is now the norm. Ordering from multiple food vendors and enjoying a variety of cuisines together is all part of the fun, with locations like Box Park in London, they do just that. Independent vendors celebrating their individuality through food. Now more than ever, we get to taste the spices from South Africa to the heat from Sichuan peppers in the same sitting, and it works.
| Sustainability |
Bigger than ever before, eating sustainably is a big trend in 2020 and beyond. This means food from sources that can be maintained and don’t damage the environment. For example less meat, fish and dairy, more local and in season foods, fair trade products, food with less packaging and reducing food waste. The great news is we’ll see more of this in both supermarkets and in restaurant. While the idea of plastic-free food shopping sounds appealing, there are complex reasons behind the use of plastic packaging in supermarkets. We all know unnecessary food packaging is something that needs to end, with plastic production contributing to climate change and contaminating our ocean. So why is it still available? Hopefully, we’ll see less of it in 2020 as supermarkets pledge to decrease use.
| Seasonal Eating |
Produce is always going to be in season somewhere, but it’s about what’s in season by you. In today’s globally connected world, we can source produce from all over the world with very little effort, and seasons can be extended with the help of glasshouses. The challenge is to read your labels in the supermarket and buy British. It’s also about shifting the mentality that ingredients should not appear multiple times on the menu, as this can come across ‘unimaginative’. But instead, that if an ingredient is in its prime and there is an abundance of it, then it should appear all over a restaurant menu.
| Any Food Any Time |
It’s very hard to predict the new biggest cuisine trend for a nation which enjoys so many, you could argue that any type of cuisine could be considered ‘trendy’ and not always determined by geographical location. Restaurants take a more fluid approach to cooking and combine ingredients and techniques from all over the world. We have access to so many ingredients, so to whip up a particular dish quickly with very specific ingredients is easy.
With the help of recipe boxes such as Gousto, which provides you with foodie inspiration, you can eat Thai, Mexican, Japanese and Italian meals back to back. It’s clear we like diversity and our demand for new multi cuisines is ever increasing.
| North African Food |
A trend which has been predicted to grow over the next few years, regionalised African cuisine is beginning to make waves across the UK. West Africa’s most famous meal, jollof rice (a mild to spicy tomato -based rice) is a mouth-watering dish that is usually served with stewed local fish or meat. And with numerous restaurants, pop ups and street food stalls making their mark in the UK, the cuisine is likely to be here to stay.
Its most recognisable ingredients like harissa, tahini, feta cheese, pomegranate, sesame seeds, labneh, cumin, baharat seasoning, lamb and savoury yoghurt sauce are populating all sorts of menus and recipes on cooking blogs, joining the more familiar hummus, falafel, and shakshuka, which was on the trend list two years ago.
| Food Halls |
Consumers are looking for somewhere fun, vibey and local that offers choice. These street food scenes have a reputation for being fast moving, so you most certainly won’t get bored, especially as traders come and go which means you get to try new things. It feels like a new food hall opened every week towards the end of 2019, so there’s no surprise we are likely to see an increase in this, as restaurateurs realise it’s a great way to popularise new dishes and test the waters. This is not just happening in London, these communal eating spots are also in Liverpool, Manchester and Durham.
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