SIAL 2016: Experts outline tomorrow’s food trends

October 21, 2016 11:20 am

From the 16th – 20th October, anyone who’s anyone in the global food industry descended on SIAL Paris – the largest food trade show in the world. 7,000 companies from more than 100 countries were present, including Cafe Asia, showcasing food products from ingredients to equipment.

As part of the event’s ‘World Tour’ series, 28 journalists from around the world have outlined three key shifts for the food-bev industry coming year: health, smart shopping and convenience, channel blurring and changing consumption habits. What do these trends mean for Asian food?

Focus on health

The trend towards healthy eating is set to continue, with 47% of millennials saying they have changed to a healthier diet since last year. Consumers now pay more attention to what they eat and are seeking natural, organic options with less sugar, fat, preservatives and gluten.

Meanwhile, so-called superfoods, including chia-seeds, aronia and quinoa, are becoming more popular due to their nutritional qualities. Conventional products are integrating these superfoods into their recipes.

Thanks to its focus on fresh fish and vegetables, Asian food has long been the popular choice of the body-conscious, and modern Asian cuisine offers many other alternatives to the now ubiquitous curry and sushi. Vietnamese pho, Japanese Kushiyaki and Korean salads are entering the mainstream, providing healthy eaters with tasty alternatives to a boring tuna salad.

Smart shopping and convenience

Consumers remain preoccupied with convenient products. Anything to save time and effort is likely to become popular, and it will remain so if it is a healthy product that tastes good and is priced right. A wide range of products mixing quality, ease and speedy preparation are emerging: New York’s Take Root, Dubai’s S’Wich and Australia’s Fit & Fresh are at the forefront of this trend.

Retailers are responding to the more sophisticated palates of today’s consumer by striving to meet the demand for exotic, high quality frozen food that can save on cooking time and trips to the supermarket.

Nutrition experts have long accepted the benefits of fast-freezing produce in retaining nutritional values – with some arguing that frozen is better than fresh. Asian foods have naturally high nutritional value, and often use authentic ingredients, fresh herbs and spices, so they are particularly well suited to newer freezing techniques that lock in goodness.

Channel-blurring and changing consumption

Consumption habits are changing, particularly within younger age-groups. Millennials snack more, eat on the go and visit restaurants more often than older generations. Retail buyers and category managers are keeping a close eye on the hippest restaurants and foodie trends so it doesn’t take long before you find similar products on the shelf: just look at the proliferation of pulled pork or the surge in sourdough pizza.

Growth in interest in snacky and informal street food continues. Many restaurants pride themselves on sharing platters and tapas-style dishes, with consumers taking a much more relaxed and sociable attitude towards their food.


Relaxed and sociable: Sharing platters in restaurants reflect our love of street food.

This changing attitude to food consumption could mean the end to the classic three-course meal and hello to the Asian mixed platter style of dining. Asian food is typically focussed on small dishes and sharing; dishes that emphasise this approach are therefore likely to do best in coming months.

Asia has a long tradition of tasty and nutritious street food offerings and looks set to capitalise on its inherently flexible approach. With health, convenience and a move away from traditional dining being the three main trends outlined by experts from around the world, Asian food’s popularity looks set to continue over the coming months.

Cafe Asia’s frozen snacks are made with fresh ingredients and authentic spices and herbs, harnessing the full flavour of traditional Asian cuisine. For more information, get in touch today. And say hello on Twitter too.


Featured image from Portal Abras on Flickr, under a Creative Commons 2.0 licence.