Food for the Mind, Body and Soul
Twenty-first century living means the consumption of food has moved from being a necessity, to today where we eat largely for the experience – the entire experience. It’s one thing to consider the vast growth and significance of food trends and diets, but what members of the hospitality and foodservice industry must adapt their offering to are the emerging trends in the general health and wellness space. These trends can be categorized into three parts – mind, body and soul – and although it may not seem it on the surface, each affects much more than the natural / health space. To satisfy all three areas can mean the achievement of overall satisfaction with a restaurant or food product experience.
In a world of chaos, customers vie for the simple. As atmosphere plays a major part in the overall experience of any service business, an increasing number of cafés, restaurants and bars are opting for a minimalistic approach to their designs. Minimalism creates a holistic space for customers to feel relaxed and comfortable. As a mini escape from the craziness outside of your doors, the inside atmosphere should include clean lines, monochromatic colours and few prints.
Extending beyond architecture, minimalism can also translate into simplified menus that merge fresh, bold and familiar flavours synonymous to your business’ theme.
Individualistic approach to nutrition
It’s no longer acceptable to provide your customers with a one-size fits all service. With growing dietary requirements including allergies, intolerances and specific diets (such as veganism), a wise approach within the service space is to provide your customers with both options and opportunities for individualized meals. Many places are capitalizing on the ‘make your own’ approach with ways to individualize sandwiches, salads and food ‘bowls’ such as breakfast bowls and poké bowls.
Leading a fast paced lifestyle often means multitasking is a must – which is why super foods have become increasingly popular. Providing a lengthy list of health and nutritional benefits all rolled into one ingredient is increasingly popular to consumers. To use this trend to your advantage without overhauling your entire business, introduce seasonal menu items to incorporate the current ‘super food’ craze. What are the super foods to keep an eye out for? Think kombucha, acai, matcha and activated charcoal.
Synonymous to the Australian culture, the consumption of alcohol has seen an unexpected drop with the increase in nationwide campaigns of sobriety, alcohol free events and health conscious lifestyles. As trends such as Dry July and OcSober gain momentum, foodservice industries along with venues that serve alcohol on-premise need to adjust their services and menus accordingly.
According to industry market research, pub, bar and nightclub operators across the nation will likely need to respond to changing consumer trends by including creative mocktails and alcohol free beverage options. Importers & distributors of premium non-alcoholic drinks and cordials ‘Thirst for Life’ provide options for the ‘sober’ customer, as does Edenvale wines which offer alcohol free Chardonnay, Rose and Shiraz that are still true to varietal.
In this day and age of instant gratification, customers have fleeting attention spans. One way for businesses to keep customers engaged is to create unique experiences that extend beyond consuming an enjoyable meal. For customers to make a memorable connection to your business, a multi-sensory experience is essential and trending among café and restaurant goers across the nation.
The taste in food stimulates synesthesia, where one sensory reaction evokes other sensory experiences. Enhancements in taste can come from exotic ingredients in your menus or unusual flavour combinations. Tightly tied to taste are sight and smell, which can be satisfied by visually appealing food or the atmosphere/architecture of your business space to suit your theme. Touch relates to the tangible aspects of their experience including food, furniture and temperature. In addition, elements of sounds deriving from background music have been shown to directly affect the flavour of food. If you can get all of this working in harmony, with your theme or direction, you’re nailing it.
With over 464,000 uses of the hashtag (and growing), food for the soul is a trending concept that the hospitality and foodservice industry has developed in order to remain relevant in the social space. Not just about pure health, this can relate to foods for the soul’s nourishment – comfort food. Allowing your customers to satisfy their guilty pleasure has become a popular aspect of many menus, often due to the benefits they have for their social platform, with these kinds of foods being increasingly shared across social media.