So our friends at Goodfood.com.au have pulled together the key food trends for 2021 and we are proud to be featured as driving change in the convenience category in the SMH and The Age print edition. Do those trends also apply to your country?
Need a few things to look forward to this year? Us too. The good news is there's plenty on the horizon. Not always where you'd think to immediately look, either.
From living, breathing buildings in the middle of the city and new ways to drink a home-made martini to a compelling reason to buy fish tails, 2021 could well deliver a little more than we'd hoped.
Neighbourhood dining is where the city's atWhile Sydney and Melbourne's central business districts remain quieter than restaurateurs would like, neighbourhoods are thriving
Phones out at the tableWhen Kim Teo started putting QR codes on menus in 2018, many people told her the data-storing squares were dead; apps were the way of the future, especially for ordering food in-venue.
$50 is all you need to have a good time
Michael Bascetta, co-founder of Melbourne hospitality collaboration space Worksmith, Falco bakery, Capitano pizzeria, and Bar Liberty reckons the sweet spot for dining out is at the $50 mark.
You can garden in just about anythingWe started growing more food at home than ever before last year. And this will be the year we get even more creative with the urge to produce our own food.
You can create a garden in a suitcase or a boot. You can buy a Vegepod, a portable garden bed on legs that can double as a hothouse. The only rule when it comes to what you can put a plant in is whether it gets the right amount of soil, water and sunshine. And even sunshine is negotiable these days, thanks to technology.
The Hassel is back, babyIs there a better sauce-catching vehicle than a spud sliced and fanned to look like a Slinky? Nope, we don't think there is. First created in Sweden in 1953, the Hasselback potato is making a comeback across the country, from restaurants such as Sydney's Ester, where it's supercharged by spud skin dashi, to Launceston's Stillwater, where it sits pretty in 'nduja butter.
2021 is the year of disruptive collaborationWhile lots of chefs dropped out of hospitality altogether during 2020, plenty have stuck with it and are forging their own paths, popping up in other people's restaurants, hosting two-night takeovers in bars and collaborating with gin, gelato and beer companies.
Life in the fast laneGoogle Trends data shows online searches for "intermittent fasting" have doubled over the past four years in Australia and continue to rise.
Take a back seat, hard seltzer. It's the year of the martini and sodaYou heard it here first. Take 30ml of your favourite gin, 15ml of your favourite dry vermouth, a dash of bitters if you swing that way, stir over ice until your mixing glass goes frosty, strain into a tall glass filled with fresh ice and top with soda. Think of it as a spritz wearing its finest business suit.
The rise and rise of plant-based everythingSick of seeing mince made from mushrooms in the meat section? Tired of chicken-free chook? Done with vegan mayo? Too bad. Plant-based products are only set to become more popular. The vegan ice-cream industry was estimated to be worth $US520 million ($A683 million) globally in 2019 and is expected to hit $US805 million by 2027, says Allied Market Research.
Convenience is kingSpeaking of Marley Spoon, the global company's Australian arm reported second- and third-quarter growth of 170 per cent in 2020, buoyed by lockdowns and the ongoing rise of e-commerce.
"The adoption of online, direct-to-consumer channels is up significantly," says Weber.
There are now more than 30 ready-made or cook-your-own meal delivery services in Australia, each assuring consumers they won't have to work hard for a healthy dinner.
New player PreppedFresh will launch to market in the next few weeks, also promising convenience, but with flash frozen, pre-chopped ingredients.
"Australians are hungry for the convenience meal kits tend to offer, but they can still take a long time to cook with all the preparation involved," says PreppedFresh founder Isabelle Dunn.
"Everyone likes to cook, but few people enjoy the chores of scrubbing, peeling and chopping, especially at the end of a long day."
Rather than Birds Eye-style bags of frozen cauliflower and other sides, PreppedFresh will offer a weekly starter kit with recipe cards and common cooking ingredients such as garlic, parsley, onion, pumpkin and carrot.
"I hope it can lead to a reduction in household food waste," says Dunn. "It's so frustrating when you do a weekly shop on Sunday, and your vegetables are beginning to perish in the crisper by Tuesday."
Collins is an advocate for any service that makes vegetables more accessible. "Research through COVID-19 showed Australians cooked more at home and increased their vegetable intake," she says. "That's a positive thing we really want to hang on to."
It's time to embrace the wing
Keen for a fillet of salmon for dinner tonight? Consider using a salmon wing – plenty of flavour, and a quarter of the price.
Getting a little more savvy about the species and cut of fish we buy is the key to keeping the cost of seafood in our shopping baskets down.
Restaurant delivery is still a thingIf 2020 taught us anything, it's that hospitality proved time and again how incredibly flexible and quick to change tack it could be. And while many high-end restaurants dropped their delivery services as soon as they were able to open the doors to welcome back customers, some have incorporated it into their business models and are reporting the demand is as strong as ever.
Local lovin'Coming out of the pandemic, Australians have a higher preference for locally made products that they know and trust, says Mintel analyst Jolene Ng.