5 food trends you need to know about – Part 1 of 2

Dec 12, 2014

Fashion isn’t the only industry governed by trends. The food industry is highly trend driven, from how equipment looks to proteins that consumers eat, to diet crazes that change the products people will and won’t consume in food service establishments.

Looking back over the last 30 years of the food service industry, there are many food trends that have come and gone. Some came and went quickly, like the sundried tomato craze of the 80s, some have stuck around a bit longer, such as our ongoing love affair with cupcakes, while others have been a reflection of us growing as people than being limited to just the industry, such as the increased awareness of ethical treatment for farmed animals.

Whether good or bad, trends form a massive part of the industry. In today’s world of food, there are a few trends that have gathered steam and are impacting not only on what people eat, but how they eat and even where they eat.

Our pick of the food trends currently impacting the industry are:

Allergen free foods

From gluten to nuts to wheat to eggs, food allergies are on the rise. So much so in fact that hospital admissions for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) have doubled over the last decade in Australia. That figure is even higher in children aged 0 to 4 years, having increased five fold over the same period. Reasons for this rise in food allergy occurrence is not clear, however there are many hypothesis including less exposure to infections in early childhood and methods of food processing such as roasted versus bolded nuts.

So what does this actually mean for the food industry? When you consider that the rise in incidences translates to approximately 1 in 20 children and 2 in 100 adults affected by food allergies, it means that almost every aspect of food service is touched. From how food is manufactured and processed through to how it’s marketed, each aspect of getting food from paddock to plate, or shelf, is impacted. Peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, seeds and eggs are the most common food allergens in older children and adults, and as a result, many new products are being manufactured with variants excluding these ingredients.

Natural Products

Australians are a relatively health-conscious bunch, and movements such as I Quit Sugar, an increasing uptake of the Paleo diet and the ongoing demand for organic alternatives can be seen and felt across the industry. As consumers continue to opt for healthier lifestyles, this is reflected in their food choices. This has resulted in producers, manufacturers and retailers looking for ways to meet this demand. It’s not just a trend on our home turf, however. Certified Australian organic products are also experiencing a spike in demand internationally, with China providing increasing export opportunities for Australian farmers. An agreement signed in June this year will pave a smoother road for Australian exporters into the market, with organic milk, dried fruits, nuts, citrus fruits, wheat flour and coffee also in demand.

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