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Food for thought for culinary connoisseurs

What will the year ahead look like for gourmets and gourmands?

Words by Sakshi Dhingra

In recent times, there has been an increasing rise in conscious consumption, with consumers more mindful of why we eat what we eat. The 2023 Godrej Food Trends Report encapsulates these insights from over 200 food connoisseurs, restaurant owners, renowned chefs, and influential bloggers, offering a lens into food trends that will define the year, ranging from healthy snacking to experimental eating, millets, vegan meals, cloud kitchens, and more.

So what’s on the menu for gastronomes everywhere?

Wide range of plant-based meals on the cards

The demand for vegan and plant-based options as well as diet-friendly, nutrient-rich snacks made with nutritious components like millets will be driven by the notion of thoughtful and healthy eating. 76% of those surveyed in the report forecast people buying from local farmers and food producers will be a top consideration. 70% predict seasonal and local ingredients like desi rice and millet varieties, doodhi (bottle gourd), tinda (apple gourd), and bhindi (Okra) will see more demand in 2023

 Experiential Dining anyone?

The culinary experiments conducted during the lockdown altered household food consumption habits. As a consequence, more Indians will continue to delve into their cultural history via food, learning about their family, community, and regional cuisines. 64% respondents foresee the yearning for adventure for the palate will drive people to explore cuisines other than their own, such as regional cuisines.

Changing the Food Methodology

Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z will seek comfort in old foods, tastes, and brands. Retro motifs will thus inspire house-party cuisine, restaurant décor, apparel and packaging, as well as digital collectibles across all platforms.

The taste of Nostalgia

The growing popularity of regional and traditional meals, as well as nostalgic dishes, will transfer into traditional Indian cookware made of stone, brass, or terracotta. Similarly, the emphasis on health will increase demand for appliances such as steamers and air fryers. Slow cookers and other kitchen appliances that combine modern design with traditional materials and techniques will be popular with customers in 2023. 75% of those surveyed believe Northeast states is where people will flock most to discover food experiences, followed by Goa (73%), Tamil Nadu (60%), and Uttarakhand (58%). Globally, the panel predicts people will visit South Korea (53%), followed by Vietnam (52%), and Spain (45%)

Home is where the heart is

In places like Mumbai, home kitchens will expand since they tend to get a lot more respect and trust. Home kitchens will be a better (not to mention healthier) alternative to eating out or using a mass cloud kitchen for individuals who cannot or do not want to prepare their own meals.

Don’t let it go to waste meal preps:

More bars are embracing sustainability than ever before, with more establishments aware of the waste that goes into each drink and aiming to eliminate it as much as possible.

Exploring all possible dimensions of “Sweet savouries”

Home bakers, home cooks, pastry chefs, legacy mithai-wallas, and confectioners will build on the consumer base established during the epidemic. While Indian mithais will always hold a special place in our hearts, high-end gourmet mithai will also witness innovation. Similarly, health-conscious mithai alternatives will expand in 2023. Special diet versions of traditional Indian mithai will be in demand as well. 75% of those polled predicted a rise in interest in hyper-regional sweet offerings (like the Chhena Poda of Orissa or Pootharekulu of Andhra Pradesh). 75% of experts forecast a growing interest in gourmet and artisanal ice creams, and an equal number of experts predict a rising demand for clean ice cream that are transparent, simple, wholesome, and whose ingredients can be tracked, i.e., ‘clean’ labelling.

Say Cheese!

India’s local cheese market has been on the rise, and this could be the year they grab the spotlight, with locally made Indian cheeses like churpi, bandel, and topli paneer expected to gain popularity. Artisanal Indian cheeses are expected to pique taste buds everywhere. 

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