An Analysis of Emerging Food Trends in 2022
As the world gradually recovers from the pandemic, the food industry has begun exploring new food trends that offer customers new culinary experiences while considering the impact of food production on the environment. An analysis of emerging food trends in 2022 reveals a number of exciting innovations in the food industry. This article provides a critical review of these emerging food trends.
Alternative milk, such as oat milk, has been trending in recent years, and the market is now looking for the next big thing. Potato milk, which is said to have a much lower carbon footprint than oat milk, is emerging as a potential contender. Potatoes are more efficient to grow than oats in terms of land and water use. Other blended milks such as pea and oat, as well as banana, hemp, cashew, and coconut are also emerging as potential alternatives to traditional dairy milk. Waitrose has recently backed potato milk and began offering a variety produced by Swedish brand Dug in February 2022.
Calvados, a centuries-old apple brandy made in the orchards of Normandy, has been undergoing a transformation in recent years, shedding its traditional and stuffy image and attracting a new generation of drinkers. The market has been shaken up by newcomers, such as Avallen, who offer modern and colourful packaging with green credentials, claiming that every bottle they produce is carbon negative. East London bar Coupette has also teamed up with cider producer Maison Sassy to create its own-brand calvados, which it uses in cocktails.
Koji is a fungus commonly used in Japanese cuisine responsible for fermenting soybeans into soy sauce and miso paste, as well as hundreds of other applications. While it has been used by top chefs for years, it is now taking centre stage as a star ingredient in restaurant menus in New York and London, as well as in new food products such as Koji bacon in the US.
Filipino food: phase two Filipino cuisine has been gaining popularity in the UK for several years, and there has been a recent surge in restaurant openings that serve Filipino food in the heart of London. For instance, Sarap Filipino Bistro in Mayfair, Kasa and Kin in Soho, and Ramo Ramen in Soho have introduced the UK public to Filipino-inspired cuisine. Furthermore, Bongbong’s Manila Kanteen, one of the early flag-wavers for Filipino food, has moved from Bethnal Green to Covent Garden. This trend indicates the growing diversity of UK food culture and the influence of globalisation on culinary practices.
Vegan chocolate Plant-based chocolate is increasingly moving from the specialist to the mainstream. Lindt, Nestlé, and Hershey’s have launched vegan bars, while Firetree and Crosstown offer premium vegan chocolate products. This trend reflects changing consumer tastes and preferences for plant-based food products, driven by concerns over health, animal welfare, and the environment.
Baijiu Baijiu, a Chinese alcoholic drink distilled from sorghum, is the world’s most-consumed spirit, and its major distilleries are seeking to expand their market beyond China. Distilleries such as Luzhou Laojiao have launched new brands such as Ming River, exclusively for the Western market, and Western distilleries, including Buffalo Trace, are experimenting with making baijiu. This trend indicates the growing interest in and globalisation of Chinese food culture.
High-end vegan The rise of vegan food products and restaurants continues, and Michelin-starred chefs are incorporating plant-based menus into their repertoire, offering fine-dining without animal products. For example, Alexis Gauthier and Matthew Kenney have introduced vegan menus in their restaurants, and ONA in France and Eleven Madison Park in New York have been awarded Michelin stars for their vegan cuisine. This trend reflects the increasing demand for plant-based food products and the desire to cater to ethical, health, and environmental concerns.
Tinned fish Tinned fish is a popular part of food culture in Spain and Portugal, and it is gaining more attention in the UK. Mitch Tonks, a renowned seafood chef, has launched a range of British tinned fish, and The Tinned Fish Market is offering cans from the continent in gift boxes or monthly subscriptions. This trend reflects the growing interest in high-quality, sustainable, and convenient food products.
Kelp Kelp, a type of seaweed, is an emerging ocean crop that is gaining popularity due to its nutritional and environmental benefits. Kelp removes carbon and toxins from the sea as it grows, making it an eco-friendly food product. It is versatile and has been used by start-up Akua to make burgers, pasta, and dried jerky. This trend reflects the increasing awareness of and interest in sustainable and healthy food products.
Udon noodles Japanese udon noodles are gaining popularity in the UK, with the launch of two major chains, Murugame Udon and Kineya, that have plans to expand across the country. The popularity of these chains indicates the growing interest in international cuisine and the desire for high-quality and authentic food products.
Food trends are often fleeting, with new ones appearing and disappearing in rapid succession. However, when established global players get involved in a particular food trend, it is a sign that it has staying power. London’s nascent burger scene received a significant boost with the arrival of Shake Shack and Five Guys in 2013, and now the focus is on Japanese udon noodles. The recent UK launch of two major udon chains, Murugame Udon and Kineya, with hundreds of global locations, attests to the potential longevity of the trend. Both chains have rapidly expanded and gained popularity in London, with plans for further expansion across the UK.
Consumers have grown accustomed to seeing nutritional information on pre-packaged food, and now they are being encouraged to make choices that are good for the planet as well as for themselves. In 2021, a trial scheme was launched to rank the climate impact of supermarket food products using a “traffic light” system. Major retailers such as M&S and Sainsbury’s are participating, and a standard system for all of Europe is in development. Climate-friendly ratings are also being introduced in restaurants, such as Chipotle, which offers a sustainability tracker for its ingredients, and Miscusi, a recently opened Italian pasta chain in London that rewards customers for choosing greener options by giving them extra loyalty points.
Yakitori, a deceptively simple Japanese skewer dish of meat or vegetables cooked over charcoal, is experiencing a surge in popularity, with several specialty spots opening in London. These establishments, such as Humble Chicken in Soho and Junsei in Marylebone, offer unconventional cuts of chicken such as hearts, gizzards, necks, and skin alongside more typical cuts. Other new restaurants that have opened recently include Apothecary in Shoreditch and Yatay in Soho.
Culinary Cultural Shift
The UK’s restaurant scene is constantly evolving, and the recent emergence of trends such as udon noodles, climate-friendly food, and yakitori reflects a cultural shift in culinary attitudes. Consumers are increasingly interested in ethical and sustainable food choices, as well as adventurous and diverse flavor profiles. These trends are also indicative of the ongoing globalization of the UK’s food culture, with international cuisines becoming more prevalent and accessible. As the restaurant industry continues to adapt and change, it will be intriguing to observe which new trends emerge in the future.
The UK’s food scene is currently experiencing a surge of interest in Japanese udon noodles, climate-friendly food, and yakitori. The arrival of global food chains and the popularity of specialist restaurants suggest that these trends may have longevity. Consumers are becoming more aware of the impact of their food choices on the environment and are increasingly interested in ethical and sustainable options. These trends are indicative of a cultural shift in the UK’s culinary landscape, with an emphasis on adventurous and diverse flavors and a growing appreciation for global cuisine. As the restaurant industry evolves, it will be fascinating to observe which trends take hold in the future.