In order to forecast next year’s food trends it might be helpful to look at a snapshot of today’s situation first:
66% of all emissions occur during food production world wide. Two billion people suffer from obesity, 33% of all food is being discarded. 66% of all food is produced by small farmers who are the most likely to suffer from malnutrition. Fourteen percent of all green house gas emissions are caused by animal production.
Global agriculture uses 121 million tons of mineral based fertilizer, 30 times more than 50 years ago. Not good for the planet, but it successfully helped feeding a growing population. Covid, which added an energy shortage, causes dramatically rising prices in mineral based fertilizers, gas, coal and, as a consequence, food costs.
This energy situation is aggravated by policy change from fossil fuels to regenerative energy to effect climate change. Bad news is we witness rising prices. The good news is the agricultural change from chemicals to biology based technology will accelerate.
Rising food prices do not represent a big problem in rich countries. Rising food prices do in poor countries like Kongo, where people spend 80% of their income on food. As a result, we in the West face more hunger related deaths. Take into account the 10 to 18 percent of the population in the Northern hemisphere facing hunger at a point in their lives.
Food culture will be slow to change, the world’s eaters continue to crave pizza, pasta, wings and foods typical for their region.
What will change in 2022 is the logistics and prices. Due to Covid online ordering and smaller menus will continue to thrive. There are 650 million users in China, 110 million in the United States. 60% of Americans order take out at least once a week. Online ordering is growing three times faster than in house dining.
According to Restolabs, 67% of all restaurants would prefer a delivery only restaurant as their next project. In 2020, 25% percent of all restaurant online orders were for delivery.
2. Ghost kitchens
Much more cooking will be done in virtual kitchens aka ghost kitchens, which are shipping size containers designed for producing food within a confined space for a variety of restaurants. Food there is produced with less ingredients, under the brand name of your favorite restaurant. The menu will not only be smaller, it is prepared usually by less qualified staff and takes into consideration delivery time of up to 45 minutes. Dishes are designed not to get lumpy or wilted upon arrival, hence the use of sturdier ingredients.
Wendy’s is opening 700 more ghost kitchens over the next five years. Euromonitor, a market research company, suggests the industry could reach a whopping trillion dollar value in the next decade. Yelp even has a feature to help you discover new ghost kitchens in your area, called Virtual Kitchens.
Research agencies see integrated workspace—with cooking machines as “human employees”—in many franchise restaurant. At 11 White Castle locations a robot named Flippy is in charge of flipping burgers and making fries. In public places such as supermarkets, office buildings, hospitals, and schools we will see machines making pizza, salads, coffee, blended juices, hot and cold meals in bowls, and various pasta. You will not see,, robots in restaurants lending a helping hand, though they exist.
4. Plant based meats
They continue their victory tour around the world. 2022’s plant-based chicken options become a battle among junk food chains. Given the volatility of animal protein prices and human health implications it’s time to go for meat-free nuggets and tenders.
So far, the market is loving it. Across Canada this year A&W sold out Beyond Meat nuggets at 1,000 locations.
5. Healthy food concepts
Conscious nutrition now being part of life style choices, superfood bowls, healthy grain salads and vegetable concoctions of any type cater to an ever growing number of vegans, flexitarians, and those who realize they feel better without a pound of mystery produced meat sitting in their stomach.
6. Food fads
They will continue to thrive across the nation. Potato milk is coming Moringa products might be still alive and well in 2022, Yuzu and exotic spice blends such as Zataar and Furikake will gain market shares. In 2022 flavored sugar free drinks and seemingly healthy potions using turmeric or char coal will prosper.
After dietary ideas like Paleo, Keto and oddities like the Tide pod challenge I am convinced we will see yet another promising nutritional choices in the near future.
7. Real Food
In 2022 I encourage everyone out there to share a home cooked meal with good company. Most individuals don’t recognize fruits and vegetables growing in their own area. Getting to know them, tasting them on our palate not only benefits the most demanding gourmet, it also connects us to the place we live in and to the people we live next to. Knowing a plant grew in our back yard, raised by a local farmer, will afford us with a new sensations we just can’t derive from super store bought food.
Do not get me started on the benefits of sharing a meal. From stress relief, enhanced communication skills, bonding experiences to prevention of over eating in a communal setting, sharing a meal has many benefits.