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Food and ingredient trends of tomorrow
Wednesday, 16 December, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Avinash Lal
We are in the midst of a food revolution. Covid-19 along with evolving lifestyles, cultural shifts and an increased focus on wellness, among other factors, have come together to forever change consumer behavior and consumption habits, and redefine the food and beverage industry. Here’s what to expect --

Rise of in-home restaurant experience
The pandemic has seen a rise in independent, creative home cooks who want to elevate the in-home dining experience with experimentation and novelty that rival out-of-home quality and tastes.

The ‘health quotient’ will be front and centre of all food purchase decision-making
Consumers will be paying attention at every stage - from checking ingredient properties on labelling, storage and packaging, to delivery hygiene. Strengthening immunity will become the main preoccupation amongst health concerns, and immunity foods will be sought after. Foods will serve as a functional remedy; there will be renewed interest in traditional or common kitchen ingredients for their health properties, from boosting foundational health like gut and liver function, to enhancing health like skin health or staving the common cold.

Food is everyone’s profession
Food and drink are now both a daily necessity or indulgence as well as a creative outlet, post Covid-19. Amateur cooks and/or full-time workers are looking for convenient yet good quality and wholesome meal solutions, to better manage more frequent home cooking and maintain work-life balance. This has led to the rising popularity of complete quality meal kits and popular street food eaten on-the-go, as well as food delivery options.

Rules of produce will change
Consumers are turning to hearty, staple foods that offer value and nutrition, over high value purchases.

Ingredients of the future
Micronutrient foods:  local plants, seeds and spices for specific vitamins, minerals and anti-inflammatory benefits. For example, turmeric, ginger, tamarind, star anise, chia seed.

Modern additives: Additional ingredients that either enhance taste, status or the visual appeal of food. These include chocolate/ cacao, matcha, truffle, kale, acai.

Immunity boosters: Immunity is regarded as core to good health and the ability to fight infections. Traditional local ingredients – vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts – are preferred for their immune-building and anti-infection properties. These include cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, spirulina, yuzu lemon.

Micro sensory food: Foods that go beyond taste, to focus on specific senses – visual, olfactory and mouthfeel. These include colours enhancers, new garnishing, aroma builders like saffron, lemongrass and edible flowers.

Hyper local foods: Local ingredients packed with taste and nutrition will remain a big space for innovation, given the sheer variety and potential. Consider unmodified ancient grains like millet, buckwheat, and localised spice pastes like sambal which are in demand for flavouring and enhancing a recipe.

Smart street food: Refined version of local street foods with a focus on health, food safety and hygiene. More than just pre-mix options, these now include freshly-sourced ingredients and prepared to order. Examples include chaat and vada pav in India or Kumpir (baked potato) in Turkey, all prepared and packaged to strict hygiene standards.

(The author is market research and consumer insights director for Kerry – Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa)
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