In recent years seaweed and algae have had a growing presence in food and drink. This year, we will go a step further; ‘Seacuterie’, sea vegetables and, similar to the nose-to-tail movement, an increasing trend towards fin-to-gill food, aiming to reduce waste and create a more sustainable environment.
Fish butcheries, which use butchering techniques for fish that are normally applied to meat, are gaining popularity. On the back of fish taco and poké popularity, seacuterie is perfectly placed to trend. Who wouldn’t fancy an Octopus Terrine with freeze dried peas, lemon gel and olive oil or a Monkfish Merguez, a refreshing monkfish and shrimp paté?
Fishmongers are becoming more adventurous and turning every part of the fish into a gourmet treat; high protein fish eyes, tilefish cheeks, collars and the hidden parts of trout heads and whole sardines.
Kelp is becoming the new kale as seaweed, algae and sea veg become popular for their natural sodium and protein content. Marsh Samphire is making its way into mainstream kitchens across Europe and could turn into the new green asparagus. Sea vegetables are a simple, but flavourful ingredient that is going to be appearing more frequently in gastronomy this year.
In our interconnected world where anything and everything seems possible, a part of us is clinging on to a life more unrefined and untouched. Less processing is the aim of the game here. Finding ways to honour food in its most natural state without the use of robotics and technology.
In contrast to the growing interest in laboratory food and molecular mastery, there is a counter-trend of un-refinement. Consumers seek natural und unchanged food, which is reflected in the wider context of ethical fashion and clothes made from natural fibres as well as paraben-free cosmetics. Unwashed coffee, unpasteurised milk and natural wine without sulphites are just some of the trends.
Wild and wonderful.
A refocus on wild produce opens a wider portfolio of meats, including elk, hare, deer and pigeon. Increasing diversity in the food chain, less pressure on conventional farming methods and the perceived lack of antibiotics and hormones as some intensively-reared meats is attractive to the conscious consumer. Chefs are playing around with different meat cuts and preparations, offering the customer a more sustainable, creative and inventive dish.
Traditional vegetable types like of salsify, fenland celery and traditional turnip are gaining popularity and are seeing a comeback not only in TV cooking shows, but also in supermarkets.
Back to ancient times
Consumers are less and less trusting of new health and wellbeing facts claims and are starting to focus on more traditional eating habits. Whether it’s a modern, innovative twist on a traditional classic or recipes from several generations ago, we are drawn to the idea that our ancestors knew how to do things properly. Chefs are opening history books in the hunt for new ways to excite and entertain diners. Looking to the past for inspiration, there is a growing number of historically influenced dishes, prepared with modern techniques.
Ancient wisdoms and indigenous ingredients are bringing us back in time, educating us on basic principles. Anti-inflammatory foods, herbal medicine, intermittent fasting and cleanses are becoming more and more popular in an attempt to find a new balance within the fast pace life.
A renewed focus on indigenous ingredients has injected some interest in native inspirations. Chefs are exploring the terroir of produce, techniques and ingredients used by local communities. Native Australian, Scandinavian and Canadian ingredients are all on the rise.
Smart food tech
How we eat, spend and live is changing. We are more technologically connected than ever before.
There is a buzz around the use of tech and culinary expertise to make food more convenient and adaptive to the modern lifestyle. Technology helps to improve productivity and efficiency in every sector and is meant to make life a lot easier. However, food has been one of the few areas where technology has lagged.
While some forces drive food backwards to more ancient times, the cutting edge of tech is being used mainly to increase our ability to control our lives and ultimately make us feel we are living in a more efficient and adaptive way.
Mechanical labour and automation is becoming real; the likes of burger-flipping robots and drones delivering straight to your door. We will be seeing more smartphone apps that will control our lives from grocery planning, recipe ideas adjusted to personalised diets to online grocery shopping and delivery applications.
Our contemporary, fast-paced work-life environment is having a seismic effect on gastronomy. The rise of home deliveries, from the likes of Deliveroo and UberEATS, have developed a new type of phenomenon: restaurants without customers, so-called ghost kitchens. A ghost restaurant is a food service business that serves customers exclusively through online food delivery. It is a fully-equipped kitchen except for a restaurant and takeaway counter. 2019 will see an increasing number of restaurants in the UK that will establish outsourced virtual kitchens for home delivery services only, facilitated by third party delivery apps. Without the need to interact with customers directly, ghost restaurants can offset the high cost of a delivery system with cheaper real estate and operations as well as benefitting from more effective insights into customers’ preferences.