Why food trends will be trending in 2014

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■ UFS executive chef Joanne Limaonco-Gendrano

UFS executive chef Joanne Limaonco-Gendrano

While 2013 was the year that food trends stormed into the scene, 2014 will be the year that it will start to dictate the food market landscape and possibly even consumer behavior. From Cronuts, to Ramen, to brunch, Filipinos can’t help but eat these trends up. Not only does it dictate what we will be eating, but now also where we will be going, and maybe even who we will be hanging out with. The forthcoming impact of food trends, while only being fully realized now, is extremely exciting.

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“Before, it would take months, maybe even years for popular food trends from other countries to reach our shores, but today, in a span of less than a week, we see Cronuts and Ramen Burgers on every corner,” says UFS executive chef Joanne Limaonco-Gendrano.

“The instant impact of social media on what food trend will be dominating the market next has been amazing. But what’s been more interesting is how food trends has been shaping and changing our culture. To foodie groups, midnight and Sunday markets, and a rise in the number of aspiring chefs and food operators, it’s definitively been an interesting year,” she notes.

This is why Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) Philippines and its team of chefs put a lot of work into updating themselves with new trends from all over the world and making sure to regularly share these trends with their clients, customers and partners, as they acknowledge the importance of being kept up to date with all of this. UFS makes sure that their website (www.ufs.com) is consistently up-to-date with the latest food trends, especially those important to watch out for in the coming year. The website is really meant to be a go-to resource for chefs and food operators alike.

When studying a trend, it is important to go beyond the food and understand what the trend is really about. Let’s take for example the Cronut. The underlying trend is actually Hybrid Food – that concept of combining two previously unrelated things to create a surprisingly delicious result. It’s that feeling of adventure and surprise that people are chasing, and which will propel this trend into 2014. So make sure to watch out for other hybrid food concepts this year.

Another trend to watch out for this year is Farm-To-Table Practices.

“The main driver for this is a consumers’ desire to connect with the natural world, sending off a subliminal healthy and good feel about the food they consume,” shares Gendrano. Taste, texture, freshness, color and knowing where your food comes from are the factors that appeal to them. Another factor is trust and support for locally-sourced ingredients, as it provides growth opportunities for local agriculture.

A trend that is gaining traction across various industries is the need to be more environmentally-responsible. For food, this means using ingredients from sustainable sources. Sustainability is one of the key areas that UFS truly encourages among their clients. Customers want to know where their food comes from and how socially responsible a restaurant has been in operating their businesses.

“Sometimes, we just really need to be observant and aware of what’s happening in the world around us to be able to spot the upcoming trends. Food trends can sometimes be a side-effect of an even larger cultural trend, so we always need to make sure that we keep our eyes, ears and mind open,” says Gendrano.

To learn more about the must-watch 2014 food trends log on to visit www.ufs.com.

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