Every year, the 5pm Food blog makes a few stabs at predicting what food trends will become mainstream in the next twelve months.
For a number of years, we have been saying that there will be an acceleration in the move towards plant-based eating.
It looks as though 2018 will be the year that it becomes mainstream. I’m not suggesting that we are all about to become vegetarian or vegan. I am suggesting more and more of us will choose to eat less meat.
Or at least, people living in industrial countries will choose to reduce the amount of meat we eat. Rising incomes in developing countries means the opposite is true in parts of South Asia and sub-Saharan-Africa.
Millennials driving the biggest food trend in 2018
According to a report by GlobalData, millennials are driving a shift away from meat. Environmental issues, animal welfare and health concerns are all leading millennials towards plant-based foods.
The effects of this can be seen on the restaurant scene in the Central Belt. Not only has millennial demand led to Avo Avo, Glasgow’s first (and last?) avocado restaurant, it has also led to a boom in veggie/vegan restaurants.
Glasgow has always had a strong vegan and veggie restaurant/cafe/bar scene. And it is getting stronger. Off the top of my head, I can think of three new places – MalaCarne, In Bloom and The V & V – which joined the throng in 2017.
On the other side of the M8, the Harmonium opened in Leith. A veggie/vegan restaurant and bar, it is run by the same team as Glasgow’s Stereo, Mono, The 78 and Flying Duck – all of which are veggie/vegan.
And there are plenty of places which don’t label themselves a veggie or vegan but have upped their game in terms of the meat-free options on their menus. Watch out for an explosion in the number of places offering a variation on pulled BBQ jackfruit in the next few months. Many people reckon that the fibrous flesh of the jackfruit is very similar to the texture of pork; a quality which widens its appeal.
Food trend in 2018: no-kill meat
Finding ways to mimic meat without killing animals is becoming something of a Holy Grail for the food industry. Growing meat from stem cells is still in its infancy but – this is a keyword –
affordable lab-grown meat will be available in the not too distant future.
Memphis Meats have already made meatballs, chicken and duck from animal cells and big players from Silicon Valley are investing a lot of money to bring the concept to market.
Available across dozens of restaurants across the United States, the Impossible Burger company has taken a different approach and created a plant-based burger which is so similar to a meat burger that it ‘bleeds’.
According to its manufacturers, ‘compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions.’
Many people who have tried it reckon that it tastes just like a conventional burger.
While many vegans and vegetarians might recoil from eating a product designed to mimic meat, the Impossible Burger is exactly the sort of dish which might convince dedicated carnivores that they can reduce meat consumption without feeling as though they are restricting their diet.
Not everyone welcomes products such as the Impossible Burger. In this article, Herald restaurant reviewer and renowned food writer Joanna Blythman takes a look at its ingredients list and carefully concludes that they are ‘all signifiers of low-grade, ultra-processed food’.
Whether or not we are all eating Impossible Burgers a few years down the line remains moot. However, one thing is certain: the move towards consuming more plant-based food, whatever form it may take, is looking more and more like the future rather than a fad or fashion.
That is our serious prediction for the most widespread food trend in 2018. Tomorrow, we will blog on the more frivolous forecasts. Will jellyfish be this year’s kalette?