Food trends 2009: comfort food to be prominent

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd January 2009

Spotting trends in food is essential to understanding what food consumers are doing now and more importantly may be doing in the future.

thefoodpeople‘, a British-based food consultancy, split their food trend predictions into “mega trends” – which are already apparent within the market – and also “emerging trends” that are just starting to take hold.

“The big trends for 2009 include comfort food, nostalgia, scratch cooking and home baking as consumers want to save money as well as feel good about themselves and the food they consumer just like mum or grandma did,” they advise. “Also big in 2009 will be head to tail eating where more people will be eating those forgotten cuts of meat in a bid to make food go further.”

“Despite the credit crunch we expect to see sustainability remain high on the agenda whilst some of the nice to haves such as organic drop back,” they added. “We expect domestic cuisines to big, people cooking and dining on food that is traditional and indigenous to their country of residence. In addition we also expect to see shifts in drinking habits with more in home drinking as well as a rise in the popularity of beer, cider and cocktails. As consumers get used to using the internet more for food purchases we anticipate more business and food brands miniaturising and customising their food products to the specific needs of their consumers.”

“Last but not least, we expect to see health in food trends such as natural health choices, ultra low calorie, anti foods, more detox diets and tailored health food choices to be big in 2009.”

thefoodpeople Mega Food trends for 2009:
1. Comfort food – Incorporating retro, nostalgia, feel good foods of the past, treats;
2. Scratch cooking and home baking – More cooking from raw ingredients, cheaper cuts, also more cakes, tray bakes, sponges not just because it saves money but also it makes you feel great;
3. British – British will continue to be big – British regions, traditions, ingredients, breeds and species – Britain has seen a push toward local food and that trend appears to be gathering pace here in Australia as well;
4. Less protein;
5. Head to tail – Eating more of our fish, meat and vegetables and throwing less away, using new and forgotten recipes to utilise more of the animal, a principle that can be applied to anything;
6. Sustainable meat and fish – More about new varieties and those that we should be eating more of;
7. Changing drinking habits – Drinking at home rather than out in pubs and restaurants, also big in drink are: beer, cider and cocktails;
8. Thirst for food skills and knowledge – More entry level cookery schools teaching the basics to consumers;
9. Restaurant and farm alliances – More savvy restaurateurs teaming up with farms to bring the consumers food that they know and trust;
10. Miniaturisation – More things getting smaller – greater choice, less cost, more variety, greater “cute” factor;
11. Greater customisation – More brands and businesses offering consumers the opportunity to customise or tailor their goods, products or services;
12. Health – Instant nutrition, ultra low calorie, health through natural choices.

“It’s not just the mega trends that are of interest, the emerging trends are just as exciting and often more inspirational for those looking to use food trends as a basis for innovation,” thefoodpeople noted. “We expect beauty foods to emerge in 2009, foods that enhance your inner and outer beauty. We also expect to see more “free” food such as people growing their own, foraging as well as community food projects and initiatives.”

thefoodpeople Emerging Food trends for 2009:
1. Beauty foods – Foods that enhance inner or outer beauty;
2. Raw food – Foods that are raw and retain all of their natural goodness, raw food diets;
3. Free food – Incorporating foraging, freeganism, growing your own, fishing;
4. Bistronomics – Avant garde cuisine at bistro prices by using what’s in season, not throwing anything away and using modern cooking techniques;
5. Next generation desserts – With less sugar, more flavour from the ingredients and a blur with savoury;
6. More food by mail – More foods delivered, personalised as customers need/want;
7. Sous vide – Use of sous vide to deliver convenience, consistency and quality as well as colour, flavour, and texture to chefs and industry;
8. Community food projects – Power to the people – groups of people sharing land, skills and knowledge to share food within communities;
9. Modernised and interpreted cuisines – Look out for Greek, African, Mexican, Indian and Scandinavian influences in 2009;
10. Anti (this and that) foods – Foods that fight certain conditions and aliments;
11. Fun – Introduction of more fun, personality and informality into brands and the dining room;
12. Multi-sensory emotional food experiences – Use of alternative techniques to cook, serve and present food, delivering an all encompassing food experience that is multi-sensory.