What’s hot in cuisine this year? Here’s 29 reckons

by | Feb 3, 2022 | News, Opinion

Covid-19 has changed consumer dining habits for good, according to Unilever’s annual ‘Trends on a Plate’ report. “Dining habits have changed and may become permanent, with research firm GlobalData expecting takeaway and delivery to power the hospitality industry until at least 2025.”

The report also quotes data from Accenture which found that 69% of people intend to socialise at home or virtually for the foreseeable future. “Research also shows diners are looking for healthier versions of classic takeout dishes. From potato and asparagus pizzas to salmon-filled tacos, fresh ideas are popping up on takeaway menus everywhere.”

So we’re dining in. Not big news, but what are we eating? That’s where it gets more interesting. Unilever’s annual survey identifies five megatrends (and 29 sub-trends) in this snazzy report aimed at hellping chefs, restauranteurs and food entrepreneurs make smarter, consumer-friendly decisions.

The megatrends are:

  • The rise of the mindful menu (yes, Millennials are driving the agenda)
  • Diners eat to a different beat (Covid has changed our behaviour)
  • New flavours are now in flavour (hot, spicy, smokey and complex are in!)
  • Healthy eating becomes hip (we’re talking functional foods, alt-proteins, smaller portions)
  • Back of house is front of mind (cost and availability are driving creativity in menu planning).

Here’s a fairly random selection of trends from the report:



I think the report is on the money. It’s a mix of data, opinion and speculation, with some less-than-subtle product placement throughout, and has done a good job of looking at the facts then talking to Unilever’s own customers.

“We have reviewed a variety of credible sources, consulted chefs, analysed menus and evaluated each trend against the following standards: AUTHENTIC Included trends have received multiple mentions across our research sources. UP-AND-COMING Inevitably, all trends are at different life stages. What was important in finalising this list was that each trend was generating forward momentum, whether that be getting started or getting bigger. LOCALLY RELEVANT While some trends are global in their reach and impact, many are not. To meet this standard, included trends had to have an identifiable presence in Australia and New Zealand, and have a relevant local application.”

It’s free to download and makes good reading.


Download the report here

About the Author

Vincent Heeringa

Vincent Heeringa is a communications strategist, writer, marketer and PR expert specialising in tech, investment, and sustainability. He was co-founder of Idealog, Stoppress and Good magazines and helped establish the Science Media Centre. He is the host of a podcast ‘This Climate Business’, co-founder of The Feed.co.nz, and a trustee of the Adventure Specialties Trust. And there's nothing he loves more than a good story. vincentheeringa.com

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