Seeing how far we have come in the last year always makes me excited to see what will be happening in the future of the food industry. Though certain diets come and go, especially when considering the transient nature of the superfood, other trends that are focused on dining are set to stay a little longer. Often the food industry is a great reflection of what is happening in the country’s psyche, as seen with the Food Snactivism last year, so what will 2018 hold?
Vegan gets dirty
Vegan food has seen an astronomical rise in the last couple of years with the number of people opting for a plant-based diet increasing by 360% in the last decade. But while the vegan diet may conjure images of clean eating, fresh veg and all manner of lentils, even vegans need a cheat day.
Cue dirty vegan dining. Some call it junk food, others label it comfort food, but either way, even the vegan diet now extends to a burger and chips. Temple of Seitan in Hackney offers hot wings, Temple Burgers and all manner of indulgences, but they are 100% vegan so you can compromise your dignity with these messy offerings, but not your diet.
Norman’s Coach & Horses holds the title of London’s first vegetarian and vegan pub and with mains like Tofush and Chips or Norman’s Chilli, it is no surprise it has been such a hit. Adapting the UK’s largest lifestyle trend to fit favourite foods is going to revolutionise the way people see the vegan diet in 2018.
The king of the Food Court
One concept restaurant/supermarket has led the way to the re-imagined food court. Eataly began in Turin and has since expanded to every major city in Italy and more than a handful in the USA. Though not in the UK yet, its combination of high-end supermarket and top-end dining makes food not only accessible but also transparent, as all ingredients can be found on the surrounding shelves. Though Eataly has been going for over 10 years, it is only now that others are looking to translate the business plan into other cuisines.
Eating with our conscience
The eating out industry is looking to minimise its impact environmentally this year. Of course vegan and vegetarian establishments already have a head start by their refusal to participate in the meat industry; however, there are lots of ways that restaurants are able to reduce their footprints, both carbon and ethical.
Farm to fork – A trend seen in 2017 is going to move forward in a big way. Locally sourced produce has fewer miles to travel. It also means that restaurants are able to check the providence of all their ingredients and will, therefore, be able to inform the customer how an animal was raised, when a fish was caught or if any pesticides were used on that particular tomato.
Waste-free - This means reducing everything from plastic packaging to using every part of an ingredient. As chefs get creative with offal and veggie peelings, suppliers should look into packaging made from sustainable materials.
It is estimated that out of the 250,000 professional chefs in the UK, only 18.5% of them are women (about 46,000). Despite shows like The Great British Bake Off, which inspire an equal number of male and female contestants, this is not translating to the back kitchens of restaurants. Many blame the extended and unsociable working hours of the hospitality industry and top chefs like Claude Bosi and Phil Howard are looking to improve this.
However, a more worrying statistic is that women in the food industry are at more risk of sexual harassment. According to the Huffington Post, as many as 67% of women in the hospitality industry reported some form of sexual harassment. After the Harvey Weinstein exposé of Hollywood, cleaning up the food industry is next.