Food Trends 2018

As we begin a new year, what trends can be seen in Gold Coast food? What can we expect the new year to bring?

‘Free’ eating

With summer in full swing, new fast food options offer healthy, light fresh food with lots of consumer choice. ‘Build your own’ could well be the slogan of casual food in 2018.

Options for gluten-free and dairy-free eating continue to grow, driving market forces to make ingredient substitutions and recipe makeovers (eg vegan fries and donuts).

For many, ‘Meatless Monday’ is spreading through the week, with more people including plant-based meals on other week days, (even if it is to balance a big weekend)!

Free doesn’t apply to fats, however, as our awareness of healthy fat and Omega 3s increases.

New flavours

There’s a kaleidoscope of regional flavours that we’ve yet to explore, stretching around the Equator, from Asia (which we’ve barely touched on) to the Caribbean and South America. Bowl food, particularly, is open for new interpretations. As we more fully explore our own land as well, we’re looking forward to a new spice age of botanicals and aromatics.

Feed me fast

As time-poor Aussies are working longer hours with more distractions, expect more meal service, meals to go, partly-prepared meal packs, grocery pickup and delivery. ‘Feed me fast’ and ‘Flexibility to fit into my lifestyle’ are our catch cries.

Food Tribes

We’re a land populated by ‘tribes’ who interact with others in their daily life, identifying with our own clan electronically: vegans, organics, carnivores, omnivores… each group shares the market.  It’s a hard job for the industry to keep up with us!

Hardly surprising then that smashed avocado is our most popular dish. It’s acceptable to all groups. Give us ‘avo with anything’ and we’re happy. It’s easy, tasty, healthy and (usually) affordable.

Drinks are on the menu

Spirits are making a resounding comeback, particularly whiskey and gin, elbowing their way into the cocktail menu. For some diners the cocktail list is equally as important as the food menu, particularly during weekend and evening dining.

Balance

We still want some wicked treats to ‘balance’ our healthy food and, come winter, comfort food will be back. Beef stroganoff was our most ‘Googled’ food of 2017. After all, trends may come and go, but human nature stays the same.

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NOTE: This article was published in The Sun on 17 January 2018.