Healthy eating trends for 2017 and beyond

December 22, 2016 12:16 pm

From quinoa to Quorn, coconut water to cauliflower pizza: the health food trend that began with the mainstreaming of organic foods is growing, and changing the way consumers make their food choices.

Coupled with increased public health advertising, impending global sugar taxes, and a school meal revolution, it feels wrong to call healthy eating a trend.The European consumer’s love of healthy eating isn’t about to waste away anytime soon.

This pursuit of health is not limited to food – people want to live better, smarter and, crucially, longer lives. Our quest for wellness in all aspects of life has played a part in this shift – people are making mindful food choices based on individual health demands, not just convenience.

The 2017 Mintel Global Food Trends report predicts the demand for healthy food options to continue well into 2017 and beyond. Here, we take a look at some of the forecasts, their relation to Asian cuisine, and their effects on the European food industry.

Less meat, more veg

Research shows that a third of young people have tried to eat less meat for a healthier lifestyle, with many going ‘meat-free’ for at least one day a week. Yes, veganism is on the rise and here to stay. Brands and supermarkets alike are responding to this shift with increased ranges of vegetarian options. Our own vegetarian range – such as our sweetcorn and spinach samosas and Szechuan spring rolls – reflects this.

Cleaning up

‘Clean eating’ is a controversial term of the moment, which essentially refers to eating simply: less additives, less sugar, less fat. Often, ‘clean’ also translates as ‘raw’ or ‘organic.’ In a recent interview with Cafe Asia, food industry expert Marc Fressange predicted the rise of unprocessed products such as non-GM soya and raw cacao. In 2015, organic food sales in the UK reached £1.95 billion. Supermarkets are responding to the challenge of sugar taxes with increased health food offerings – a focus on health that shows no sign of abating.

Gut-friendly foods

In Europe, around 1 in 100 people suffer from diagnosed coeliac disease, which necessitates a gluten-free diet. Many more are choosing to whittle out the wheat voluntarily: analysis from Mintel shows that 44% of those who purchase gluten-free options are motivated by reasons that are unrelated to any allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity. Traditional grains found in Asian cuisine are a natural fit for those rejecting a plateful of pasta or crusty sandwich – and both our new Japanese Gyoza and Chinese Baozi are made from rice flour.

Superfood frenzy

The now ubiquitous foodie phrase ‘superfood’ was conceived in the early 1990s. Since then, the term has become associated with everything from goji berries to pomegranate juice. When you cut out the more faddish elements, a superfood is basically any food which contains exceptionally high levels of antioxidants, combined with low levels of the ‘bad stuff’. While seaweed is purported to be the next big superfood trend, potassium rich, low sodium water chestnuts – such as those used in our very own Japanese gyoza – are also climbing the superfood ranks, thanks to their purported health benefits.

Plant power

Going green is not just about the kale (curly, leafy, or plain) – more consumers across Europe are choosing plant-derived food products. From dairy-free soya milk to meat-free alternatives, Mintel’s 2017 Global Food Trends report predicts further rises in the vegetable, nut, seed, and plant-based product categories.

Globally, cultures vary in their propensity for healthy eating – Asian cuisine has long been renowned for its exotic tastes, fresh flavours, and healthy grains. Our new range of Chinese and Japanese snack foods have been designed for those seeking a healthier diet. Our lightly-marinated Baozi buns are steamed, not fried, and our Gyoza are packed with spring vegetables.

For more unique food-bev insight delivered straight to your inbox, why not subscribe to the Cafe Asia monthly newsletter.