Food for thought as trend for going local grows

THE biggest food and drink trend in 2012 will be a focus on authentic, local brands, with regional producers expected to see a boost in sales next year.

The trend for “going local” is expected to reduce the environmental footprint and increase sustainability, according to a report by website Food & Drink Towers.

The website’s founder, Helen Lewis, said: “Regional producers offering value for money products that help consumers stretch their shopping budgets, but still enjoy their shopping and dining experience, will be rewarded by a boost in sales over the coming year.”

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

The second trend is the rising popularity of uplifting food and drink to improve people’s mood, including products to combat fatigue and boost concentration.

“We are forecasting a rise in ‘mood foods’ targeting happiness, stress and tiredness,” said Ms Lewis.

“The claims will need to be supported by scientific evidence and the ingredients will need to be natural.”

The third trend is a reduction in packaging to cut costs and become more environmentally friendly.

The fourth is make, bake and grow your own.

“Food and drink will become more of an experience for many people, who are taking control of what they consume. More of us are showing interest in the origins of food and drink – how it is prepared and how it is grown,” said Ms Lewis.

Closely related to the fourth trend, the fifth is growth in foraging for mushrooms, berries and other free ingredients.

“Courses are available nationwide teaching people how to forage, what to look for, and then turning their discoveries into three-course meals,” said Ms Lewis.

The sixth is people investing more time and effort, but not necessarily money, into meal times to cheer themselves up.

The seventh is a return to cookery books that have been left on the shelves as people look to get a return on their investment.

The eighth is an increase in food on the go as convenience remains a priority, although health is becoming an influential factor.

The ninth is that consumers will want everything on a budget, from healthy foods to indulgence and convenience.

The tenth trend is food and drink pairing so that wines, beers, cocktails and spirits match different foods.