Major food trends of the future

At the 29th Gulfood exhibition, which kicked off in Dubai on Monday, food industry experts outlined five major industry trends that will dominate the next few years.

Vegan meat. Plant-based meat has become extremely popular in the region, with some brands even launching plant-based shawarma. This was confirmed by Jean Orduro, chef at French company Linck, which has been selling plant-based meat in the UAE for 12 years. “There has been a big increase in demand in the country and the region. This is because people have become concerned about the environment and what they eat,” he said.

Soft drinks. Non-alcoholic products are becoming more popular every day around the world, and it was in the Middle East that this trend first emerged. This is reflected in the sales figures of local company Drink Dry. “Our revenue for the first two months of 2024 is projected to be 5 times what it was last year,” said Erika Blazeviciute Doyle, founder of the company. She said non-alcoholic versions of established alcohol brands such as Corona Cero and Peroni Nastro Azzurro are selling best.

Eco-friendly packaging. Globally, more shoppers are looking to use eco-friendly packaging that is easier to recycle. “There are several companies that produce packaging that can be recycled along with paper,” said Daniel Levine, trend expert and director of the Avant-Guide Institute, “This makes it easier for consumers to sort through their rubbish. Ahmed Yahya of Agthia, added that in the UAE, more corporates are willing to spend 30 per cent extra on water in bamboo packaging rather than the usual plastic bottles.

Industry transparency. More companies are also becoming honest about their operations, from restaurants that report the names of everyone working in the kitchen to canned fish companies that allow people to track their catch. Mr Levin cited the example of local restaurant Boca, which publishes carbon footprint reports and also shares what steps it has taken to reduce its footprint. This openness increases customer confidence.

The emergence of new flavours and tastes. According to Mr Levin, consumers have become more open to new flavours and tastes. He cited hydroponically grown greens as an example. “It’s crispier, cleaner and stays fresh longer,” he said, “That’s because the greens are locally grown rather than having travelled halfway around the world to get to the table.

Source: Khaleej Times

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