Following on from last month’s blog, we bring you our next two food trends set to influence menus for 2022!
1. HEALTHY HABITS
In 2021, Aussies became more health-conscious than ever before. Although this dipped towards the end of the year in favour of festive indulgence and celebration, 2022 will bring a renewed focus on wellbeing.
Spending more time at home over the last few years has given Aussies time to take a fresh look at health and wellness. Luke Hine, TV host and author of Healthy Made Easy, says lockdowns have seen Aussies “preparing more meals at home, and upping their culinary skills. Combined with more time in the day, this increased confidence in the kitchen has meant we’re more involved in the process from start to finish” (Kitchen Nine).
Not only are we now better cooks, but we’ve discovered the therapeutic benefits of cooking. Time in the kitchen is seen not only as an opportunity to relax but as a way to maximise meals to support our health.
‘Functional food’ is a key term in 2022. We’re looking for products and dishes that support gut health, reduce stress and improve sleep. We’re upgrading the ingredients we use in order to make them functional, from mineral-rich salts to powdered supplements and even the types of tea we drink. Brodee Myers, Editorial Director at Taste, says “we’ll also start to really understand that healthy is not a one size fits all thing and as a nation, we’ll look at the personal health needs of the individual – with a particular focus on gut health” (Taste).
LOW & NO ALCOHOL
Demand for premium low and no alcohol drinks is also on the rise and Australia is ahead of the global curve in adopting this trend. Drinkers are looking to cut down for health reasons but want something more innovative than a regular soft drink to accompany their meal or social occasion. One in ten Aussies chose a low or no alcohol beer, wine cocktail or spirit while out last year (CGA) and retailers have seen sales of alcohol-free beer more than double in the last 12 months. This trend provides a great opportunity to upsell speciality mocktails and soft drinks throughout the year.
KEEP IT LIGHT
Dining out or ordering in is often seen as a treat, a time to indulge in your favourite food and drink. But this means it is often avoided entirely when we’re trying to stay healthy. Google searches for ‘healthy food delivery near me’ increased by 160% in Australia last year, showing demand is high. But research suggests consumers are still frustrated by the lack of healthy options on menus. Now is the perfect time to make the most of this opportunity.
Health should be seen as equally important as other dietary requirements. Someone counting their calories could be the decision-maker when choosing whether to eat out or cook at home. Transparency and a range of lighter options on your menus will attract customers looking for balance, whilst still feeling like they’ve had a treat.
Takeout menus are also key. With healthy delivery search terms on the increase, people would be more likely to order from delivery apps if they had a wider variety of healthy options. If you’re on Deliveroo or Menulog, take a look at your competition. Could you give yourself the edge by upping your health game and including calorie counts?
2. ASIAN FLAVOURS & SPICY KICKS!
Our appetite for authentic global flavours has long been in the mainstream. However since Covid hit, and dining out was no longer an option, we’ve been learning how to bring these flavours into our meals at home. We have a newfound appreciation for our senses and want to elevate dishes with bigger, bolder flavours. Think sour, salt, spice and umami.
This is not surprising given the trend towards healthier lifestyles. In particular, Asian cuisines are seen as lighter and healthier but also as a great way to bring in pops of favour with the use of kimchi, slaw, oils and salts. But for 2022, trending cuisines will go beyond the South Asian food many Aussies already know and love and the spotlight will be on cuisines such as Filipino and Korean (Seasoned Traveller).
Flavour is key with this trend. It encompasses traditional spices from garam masala and cardamom to flavours like gochujang, BBQ rubs and hot sauces. One condiment that has reached cult status in the US, and growing in Australia too, is spicy crispy chill oil. This is a spoonable oil with flakes of crispy chillis, fried garlic, fermented soybeans and sugar. It’s the ultimate condiment for achieving that umami flavour, it’s spicy and sweet with flavours of caramelised garlic. Watch out for it on pizzas, salads and dumplings, and stirred through mac ‘n’ cheese, Bolognese and soups. Click here for 7 ways to use chilli crisp according to top chefs!
THE INFLUENCE OF TIK TOK
Tik Tok and Instagram have given us new ways of discovering trends. Almost 2.5 million Australians are using Tik Tok (Roy Morgan) and the hashtag #TikTokFood has been viewed almost 52 billion times! The rapid development of these viral videos, and their breakout into global mainstream, shows
that Tik Tok’s influence shouldn’t be overlooked. Someone might upload a recipe video in Korea, and the next day it’s viral with consumers in Australia asking where to buy these ingredients. There’s a real opportunity for food businesses to tap into these trends, showcase their offering and connect with consumers on another level.