Food is increasingly confirmed to be at the center of social relations. Nothing new so far, but what are the trends in the world of restaurants and food more generally? TheFork’s annual report also identifies some of the macro-themes of interest in understanding this year’s trends.
What’s ahead for us this year
Reconnecting with tradition
Virtuous culinary ecosystems
Experience and entertainment
The cuisine of tradition: need for connection and authenticity
The need to find a kind of genuine connection and authenticity with food and cooking is increasingly strong and felt. Turning, therefore, to a well-known cuisine is always reassuring. A cuisine that tells a story, chefs who make themselves advocates of culinary traditions and in carrying them forward
Cooking for the body mind respecting the planet
In the kitchen we find a need to reconnect with body and nature. So feeding oneself with what is good for mental and physical health and the planet. Cooking as a therapeutic tool leads restaurants to re-imagine the offerings, starting with the ingredients and arriving at a style of experience that fully engages while keeping wellness and taste at the center.
Generation X is also maturing and aging, so new products are paving the way, going to populate alternative and differentiated lifestyles. The new focus will be on aiming to extend healthy lives. As the average life span lengthens, many of these new seniors will also be caregivers and decision makers for purchases that affect their parents.
In search of a virtuous culinary ecosystem
It is an underlying trend that continues to evolve as resources diminish, crises and global conflicts intensify. The food industry is on the move and has no intention of stopping, so much so that it sometimes even strong and radical decisions to bring about change.
Buzzwords Zero waste,recycling, locally sourced ingredients, sustainable agriculture, a fair policy. Chefs and restaurants are redoubling their efforts to ensure access to a healthy, good and virtuous diet for all.
Cuisine as experience and entertainment
Pop culture is at the heart of consumers‘ exaggerated desire for entertainment, constantly seeking excitement and new sensations. People are looking beyond food, beyond nourishment, for something that is memorable and shareable. Food evolves with influences, celebrities and social trends. Explosive flavors, unlimited possibilities, unexpected collaborations…. Food is increasingly a show on stage.
Unconventional product experiences
Generation Z consumers in particular are constantly seeking out-of-the-ordinary product experiences, unconventional products. Therefore, young people support brands that are dedicated to innovation and coming up with new limited edition proposals. So limited edition proposals are the perfect means to create excitement in the consumer by providing new experiences and new opportunities to interact with brands. Limited editions, as well as in any market, also in the food market create a sense of urgency and a feeling of exclusivity, but at the same time they lead to a sense of belonging and involvement of those who are able to access them.
How are trends reflected in the restaurant industry?
People are seeking to return to culinary experiences of yesteryear in a nostalgic but sought-after way. One moves in search of intimate, authentic dining experiences and a style of cooking that is sincere, humble, true.
Meeting at the table for conviviality
Eating is the time to gather with family or friends or even for work to share a good, sincere meal around traditional and real cuisine and in authentic (chic or popular) places. As is already developing even in Milan, the trend-setting capital of dining in Italy, there is a return to the pursuit of osteria-style cooking and shared dishes where the product is at the center.
In Europe, the inns of yesteryear are coming back into vogue. Share plates are taking over restaurant tables, and there is a return to large tables, sometimes even to share as is the custom in Spain, which encourage conversation.
Celebrating tradition in the kitchen
A celebration of traditional and popular cooking, highlighting those who make it and the techniques and knowledge of places. So, cooking techniques of the past, such as cooking over an open fire or in the oven, all strictly by sight, return to use. The menus include dishes to share always tapas style.
Ingredients on the rise
In dishes, butters flavoured with herbs, flowers and chillies pop up on the menu of many restaurants. To think of the fresh pacchero, raspa düra lodigiana, mantecato and herb-flavoured butter of Locale in Milan. Canned fish, such as sardines, herring and mackerel, feature in aperitifs and dishes. Among the spirits, the traditional Asian ones, such as Sake and Soju. Venison and wild boar meats include venison tataki from La Locanda di Villa Gaia in Venas di Cadore.
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