Annual report uncovers top eating trends for 2014


According to Weber Shandwick’s recently released Food Forward 2014 report, seven key eating trends are predicted to rise in 2014, including freekeh and 'mutant' food combinations.

“Now in its third year, the report is an anticipated industry tool to help replace food trends throughout the year,” said Ava Lawler, the managing director of Weber Shandwick Australia.

This year’s report saw the global public relations firm, which has an office in Sydney, survey more than 1,000 Australian consumers and food experts including food editors, chefs, bloggers, nutritionists and senior business executives.

 “Australia has a growing passion to explore new cuisines and flavours. Our latest Food Forward report shows that our country’s food culture is being reshaped, embracing a whole new combination of foodstuffs in 2014,” said Lawler

Based on the firm’s research, she predicts four trends will prove particularly popular among Australians.

“As our food palettes diversify further, you will see flavours inspired by the heritage of our chefs, the continuing rise of Korean and Scandinavian cuisine, mutant foods and freekeh expected to be big hits.”

1. The demise of international flavour boundaries 

Dishes that combine the traditional cuisine of more than one country, coined ‘mutant’ foods, such as sushi tacos and ramen burgers are expected to rise in 2014, as is South American and Korean food and the ancient grain freekeh.

2. Wholesome home-cooking prevails

Based on its findings that almost half or 48 percent of respondents are fans of home-style cooking, meanwhile 19 percent enjoy the fine dining experience, Weber Shandwick predicts home entertaining will boom in 2014. 

The preference for home-style cooking will see restaurants continue to casualise their offering, and food experts expect the next 12 months will see single-item restaurants rise in popularity and chefs devise more simple menus. 

3. The rejected vegetable

Vegetable intake is set to continue to decline if Food Forward’s findings are anything to go by. Forty-two percent of those surveyed stated they were not meeting their daily fruit and vegetable intake, and they put the blame on two key factors.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said it was too difficult to include fruit and vegetables in their meals each day, meanwhile 24 percent stated produce is simply too expensive.

4. The great shopper conundrum

When it comes to grocery shopping, price is still the determining factor for Australians. Despite 40 percent of respondents stating they are passionate about supporting local farmers, 70 percent said cost was the biggest influencing factor when it came to purchasing grocery items.  

Experts believe the efforts of sustainable food advocates will see Australians more willing to pay a little extra for their groceries, particularly as free-range products, biodynamic produce and grass-fed beef become more readily available.

5. Socialising food

Experts believe social media will increasingly influence consumers’ food choices in 2014, with 90 percent of those surveyed unlikely to purchase a particular food product or visit a venue because it has been endorsed by someone famous.

6. Gourmet getaway

The report predicts Australians will continue to embark on gourmet getaways, where they travel to a particular destination to indulge in its food and wine.

7. Technology takeover

Experts believe more convenient kitchen items including those that allow people to control the temperature of their oven from afar, will gain immense popularity this year, and 24 percent of respondents stated an all-in-one kitchen appliance is at the top of their list.