Well, the very latest trend of course, is to enter the 2017 FreeFrom Eating Out Awards when Kathy starts taking entries next Tuesday – 14th June! We are looking forward to another bumper year with more and more of the high street chains joining our ahead-of-the-curve freefrom pioneers. Just check in to last year’s winners list to see who might be just round the corner from you….
And we are really delighted that, not only is the awards’ presentation this year going to be in the ultra smart conference pod at Food Matters Live – but that Giorgio Locatelli is going to be helping us make the presentations. Not in person, as he will be in Dubai on 21st November – but via a BIG screen!!
As many of you will already know Giorgio’s daughter, Margherita, suffers from multiple anaphylactic allergies and Giorgio is already a keen supporter of the Anaphylaxis Campaign. So what could be more appropriate than that he, as a top chef with a massively successful restaurant and a very personal interest in allergy, should become involved with the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards. As you can imagine, we are really, really chuffed!
For those with a specific interest in food service, we have two new categories in the awards this year – the Crème de la Crème category for those eateries that are so amazingly freefrom that they have been winners in a previous year, and a new Focus on Gluten category for eateries that have done just that. While, obviously, being aware of all 14 major allergens, they have concentrated on gluten and have already been awarded Coeliac UK’s Gluten Free Accreditation.
Apart from those we have, as usual, Cafés and Teashops, Pub restaurants, Independent restaurants and Restaurant chains, Hotels and guest houses, University caterers and Companies manufacturing food for food service – plus our very successful Fish and Chipper category! Here are last year’s gold Fish & Chippers enjoying their win with Chef Dominic Teague of Indigo (on right), our 2016 Pathfinder Award winner.
On so to… Trends…..
I have just received the latest of Michael Whiteman’s Trend Reports. (Baum & Whiteman are a NY based restaurant consultancy who produce annual reports on US ‘trends’ which, as with all things American, in due course make their way over to us.)
In previous years gluten-free has featured in B&W’s top trends, but not this year. However, there are a couple others that they identify that are as relevant to freefrom eating out as they are to non-freefrom.
The move to eating at home.
We have always had food delivered to our doors but take-aways have moved far beyond the Deliveroo pizza.
Indie startups are creating commercial kitchens in offbeat, low-rent locations staffed by professional cooks to create super-up-market home delivered food, while e-startups are assembling networks of home cooks to prepare ‘home-cooked’ meals and deliver them to other people’s dining rooms.
Meal-kits, drone delivery and even AirBNB are all feeding into this trend for eating at home instead of in a restaurant. Combining this with the falling price of food in the shops (making eating at home even cheaper), the rising cost of restaurant rents (making eating out even more expensive) and the increase in the number of people working from home (forget the convenient lunch in the café/eaterie round the corner from the office) – and the outlook for restaurants could be challenging, to say the least..
Vegetables are continuing to ‘shove animal protein to the edges … or off the plate altogether’. In the US this is, of course, being taken to extremes with the creations of ‘bleeding vegetable burgers’…. But to create these manufacturers have to employ all of the manufacturing aids at their disposal, which sits uncomfortably with 2017 consumers’ aspirations only to eat clean label, unprocessed foods. To illustrate, B&W quote the ingredients list on one bleeding plant-based hamburger:
Pea protein isolate, expeller pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavors, gum arabic, sunflower oil, salt, succinic acid, acetic acid, non-GMO modified food starch, cellulose from bamboo, methylcellulose, potato starch, beet juice extract (for color), ascorbic acid (to maintain color), annatto extract (for color), citrus fruit extract (to maintain quality), vegetable glycerin.
Manufacturing aids aside, the veggie/flexi/vegan trend is of relatively little interest to freefrom-ers except that, of course, ‘vegan’ by definition means that those products are both milk and egg free.
However, while vegetables are definitely ‘in’ most people will probably be relieved that the passion for kale seems to be waning – in favour of other ‘waste-not’ greens. So if you want to be really on message, buy or serve beet greens, turnip greens, mustard greens – even carrot tops!
For the more arcane trends in New York dining, log into Baum & Whiteman’s 13 Hottest Food and Beverage trends in restaurant and hotel dining for 2017.