Food & drink

Is organic over?

51% of US households now use organic products and the value of the organic market is expected to grow from US$13 billion to US$20 billion by 2010. In other words, the organic food bandwagon rolls on. Sales of organic food in the UK increased by 30% in 2005 with sales of organic meat rising by an extraordinary 134% between 2001-2004. However, some people are starting to question just what the word organic actually means. The answer, in many cases, is absolutely nothing. Products are open to fraudulent mislabelling and even chemicals are sometimes allowed on a limited basis. Animals are even suffering because organic rules prevent the ongoing use of antibiotics. Regulation of course exists but it is based on trust and enforcement is weak. Not a problem you might say when the industry was run by altruistic hippies but these days organic is, increasingly, just another off- shoot of global agribusiness.
Ref: Prospect (UK) September 2006 - Matters of taste: who regulates the organic industry?' A. Renton See also Convenience Store Decisions (US).
Search words: organic, food
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Trend tags: natural, authenticity

What's hot in food for 2007?

A snack-sized list of food trends for 2007.
1. Wellness foods - less salt, more fibre, more grains and more organic.
2. New World foods - Peru is set to become the new wave in ethnic food.
3. Ethical eating - fairtrade, airmiles and sustainability all converge.
4. Ethnic flavours - Hispanic, Vietnamese and Japanese all go mainstream.
5. Water -expect to see more water bars, water menus and even water sommeliers.
6. Speciality foods - more premiumisation/segmentation of the mundane (e.g. salt)
7. Portion control - more small plate dishes like tapas and mezes (and izakayas)
8. Dieting -dieting (and personalised diets) grows in regions such as China and India
9. Provenance - ethical and wellbeing concerns push a transparency agenda.
10. Traditional eating - a rose-tinted view of food history continues to take hold.
Ref: Euromonitor (UK) 'Top ten food trends for 2007'
Search words: food trends
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More food trends to watch

Food is subject to the vagaries of fashion much like everything else these days but sometimes fashions take a few years to take hold. Case in point are acai berries and cupuacu fruit. These two exotic fruits were widely tipped as being the next big thing over a year ago due to their health benefits but nothing very much happened. So it's interesting to see both of them on a list of predictions for 2007 and beyond although this time they are joined by the goji berry from China. Also on the list are upmarket children's menus, pies (convenience mixed with nostalgia), and the decline of traditional fish dishes due to environmental concerns about over-fishing. Other foodstuffs on the up include Dim Sum, Rhubarb, Yuzu (a fruit from Japan), rapeseed oil, sous-vide cooking, sweet potato vinegar, savoury sorbets, hot horseradish, slow cooking, porridge and chillies. Meanwhile, the online publication Food Business Review adds the following forecasts and predictions: calorie burning drinks, mobility (take it with you and consume on the go packaging), local ingredients, healthy kids foods, antioxidants, immunity boosting foods and drinks, 'just for one' sizes and packaging, 'smart' products and packaging, and 'better for you' beer.
Ref: Daily Telegraph (UK) 30 December 2007, 'Berries, brasseries and a boat full of booze', B. Richardson. Food Business Review Online (UK) 'ten trends to watch in packaged goods in 2007. 30 November 2006.
Search words: food trends, fashion
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A final food trends list

If you need any further evidence that food is now driven by fashion consider the emergence of food trend lists. A couple of years ago such lists only appeared in specialist food journals but now they regularly make an appearance in the lifestyle sections of general consumer media. So what's next according to a flock of food fashionistas?
1. Increasing concerns about food safety
2. Personalised diets
3. Reduction or elimination of Trans-fats
4. Organics
5. Slow roasted meats and vegetables
6. Tea
7. Cooked Japanese food
8. Spain
9. 'Green' wine and biodynamic vineyards
10. Hand crafted beer, cheese, chocolate, vodka, rum and gin
11. Smoothies as meal replacements
12. Rock stars becoming farmers and farmers becoming famous
13. Feel good fish (e.g. mahi-mahi)
14. Haute hot dogs and hamburgers
15. Anti-ageing foods for baby boomers
16. Dark chocolate
17. Izakayas
18. locally grown food
19. Reverse dining (eating dinner for breakfast etc)
20. Salt backlash and upmarket salt
Ref: Various including Miami Herald (US) 'A few things we'll all be chewing on this year , C. Rosenbloom
Search words: food trends, fashion, lists
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And finally...

Two bite-sized snippets that I've found floating in cyberspace: firstly, steam ovens continue to be a big hit in Japan so one wonders whether the trend will migrate to other countries? Secondly, Japanese scientists say that within a decade we should see genetically engineered fish restoring the world populations of other fish. For example, mackerel that give birth to other species such as tuna when they mate.
Ref: Nikkei Weekly (Japan) 27 March 2007, 'Growing tuna in mackerel could save ravaged species', T. Kobayashi Nikkei Weekly (Japan) 29 May 2006, 'Healthy eaters pick steam ovens' H. Shindo.
Search words: steam, food, fish, genetic engineering