As we say goodbye or possibly good riddance to 2021 all eyes are on 2022 and what might be.  While almost everyone is expecting Covid to continue to dominate our lives and news stream we thought we’d ask a few in the foodie field to give us their predictions on what food trends we will see in the coming year.

2021’s top trends included the growth of fermented foods (a trend Chef Giulio Sturla says will continue beyond sauerkraut and Kombucha to people harking back to preserving local in season foods to enjoy all year round.)

We saw the exponential growth of meat alternatives, to the point they are now options in fast food chains – is there a clearer sign of mainstream than that?

The likes of Instagram saw such trends as the grazing table and sharing boards, from charcutier to pancake dominate our feeds in spite of a germ a phobe world.  Let’s hope common sense, hygiene and a desire to reduce food waste prevail in 2022 and these boards are destined to be firewood.

What is sure to remain is the influence social media will continue to play in shaping food trends.  With the likes of TikTok overtaking Google as the most used internet site in 2021 and Instagram scrambling to keep up as it tries to gobble a piece of this pie expect to see more air fryer hacks, fancy cakes and food influencers from around a now truly global community.  Pinterest, accurate predictors of food trends in the past few years says 2022 is the year of the afternoon tea which makes sense when you look at a number of trends coming through.  Low/no alcohol, ‘gram worthy food as well as nostalgia.

Angela Clifford from Eat New Zealand is predicting more innovation with what we grow and harvest: think seaweed and all its possibilities, as well as New Zealand grown grains and the myriad of possible products, from masa to muesli.

Angela also predicts the continued growth of vegetable-based meat and dairy alternatives.Sarah Tuck, Dish Magazine Editor agrees with Angela saying plant-based/flexitarian diets will continue to grow with more meat alternatives

Sarah’s also predicting the continuation of nostalgic/comfort food popularity as an offset to uncertain and anxious times.  Our lack of travel will also see international foods continue to be popular as we ‘travel-through-dining’ as an alternative to the real thing.

The continued growth of no or low alcohol beverages is another key trend Sarah predicts as does Annabel McAleer from Our Land and Water who notes that this movement is not driven by people swearing off alcohol just wanting to consume less.  “… some okay beers are starting to come through so I hope to see some actually drinkable (not too sweet) low-alcohol wines emerge in 2022.”

The Feed co-founder and spirits writer Tash McGill concurs; ‘the market data suggests New Zealanders are drinking less than ever before, in stark contrast to our Australian neighbours. While there are challenges in delivering mouthfeel and texture without alcohol, it also opens a world of innovation and possibilities for people to discover low/no alcoholic alternatives that stack up in terms of flavour and experience.

Melissa Clark-Reynolds, futurist and bon vivant is predicting oat milk ice cream. “People are sick of coconut flavoured everything.”

She’s not alone. Michael Lakeman of seaweed company CH4 is picking ‘low methane milk’ by which we guess he means anything other than moo cows.  Could this mean potato milk?  Just remember you heard it here first!

Where some see oats, hemp or possibly potato, Dr Jacqueline Rowarth sees ewes. “Sheep milk cheese as the dairy herds increase and people look for variety. The fact that in comparison with cows… sheep milk is ‘easier on the digestive system’ and sheep are ‘easier on the environment’ will be used as the reason.

The non-dairy milk movement echoes the continued rise of meat alternatives which is set to grow as fast a house prices in Auckland over the past decade.  And while this trend explodes, correspondingly the trend the meat industry will be pushing is nose-to-tail eating.  “It is all about eating more sustainably” says Regina Wypych, Registered Nutritionist & Marketing Executive for NZ Beef & Lamb.  Regina points out this is a trend we are already seeing in restaurants but I would contend this is more about chefs looking for cheaper cuts to keep their ever growing food costs down.

In the same vein of nose to tail dining, NZ Beef & Lamb Nutrition Manger, Fiona Windle thinks that bone broth is going to continue to grow in popularity with companies looking to eek out as much value from every part of the animal and selling both a health and sustainability message.

When it comes to eating out it is my prediction that the last year has heightened many existing problems in the hospitality industry – a squeeze on margins with rising costs and competition, staff shortages and an increased awareness of mental health issues. This will result in many eateries shortening days and hours and simplifying menus.  Giulio Sturla, Chef/Owner of Mapu in Littleton is someone who has already gone down this track agrees saying eateries will get smaller.  “…as small as you can… why, because the risk is minimal, less staff, less stress and better life balance.”

Prices will have to rise as we will see eateries differentiate themselves from somewhere you go to eat and somewhere you are prepared to pay for an experience.  Expect more collaborations as eateries try to provide this experience and something unique.  An example of this is Kitchen Takeover in Tauranga.

Hyper local is increasingly more important as supply chain shortages continue to play havoc, this means eateries will look for producers not just in their region but in their neighbourhoods.

Shawn Moodie, Digital Executive at NZ Beef & Lamb thinks we’ll see an increased use of native ingredients like kawakawa and horopito and the likes which makes sense as New Zealand celebrates Matariki as a public holiday for the first time in 2022.  Shawn also predicts even more fusion flavours, particularly from Asia as our demographics continue to shift. This travel by our tastebuds will also feed our need to travel as we are unlikely to be getting out the passports in 2022.

So here are our top predictions for 2022

At the Market

  • Plant-based foods and meat alternatives
  • Low or no alcohol options
  • Potato milk
  • Sunflower seeds – the new superfood that ticks all the boxes
  • Croffle – croissant and waffle

At Home

  • Move over sourdough and focaccia homemade pasta is where it’s at
  • Nostalgia, from Afternoon teas to preserving the crop

Eateries

  • Hyper local and collaborations (chefs and producers)
  • Price rises and strict booking policies
  • Smaller eateries and shorter operating hours
  • Experience driven dining

 

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