Since the pandemic, people all over the world have made it a point to eat healthily and make wise lifestyle choices. Gone are the days when there were only a few food items created to satisfy one’s appetite. People today are looking for food options that allow them to experiment with flavour and new ingredients, try vibrant cultural dishes, and provide better health for both the body and the planet.
The pandemic has altered people’s eating habits, and some unconventional food innovations have given way to significant global trends. Isthara Parks, a forerunner in smart food courts, has identified the key food trends that will change the way we dine in the coming years.
Plant-based meals: A global crisis and two consecutive lockdowns have necessitated a rethinking of food options. Health and well-being have become a priority, and there has been a significant rethinking of what people eat and how it affects the environment. Plant-based diets and veganism have progressed from a food trend to a globally recognised lifestyle. As more people choose plant-based meals, the food industry is gradually introducing new innovations and options in the segment for people who prefer clean, plant-based food items. Reducetarianism is causing people to consume less meat and opt for vegan substitutes in order to live a healthier lifestyle. With more affordable, ready-to-cook plant-based meal options on the market, this is poised to become a long-term sustainable trend.
Ready to cook meals: With many workplaces resuming work from home, people are exhausted from returning home and preparing a full meal. With rapid urbanisation, shifting millennial behavioural patterns, and shifting taste preferences, there is a growing demand for ready-to-cook/eat meals. Ready-to-cook marinated meats, pre-measured ingredient meals, and even instant ramen are now fairly common in most kitchens due to the ease of cooking that they provide. Furthermore, these pre-packaged meals are relatively healthy, require little effort, and are inexpensive. The food industry is also jumping on board, introducing new items that are tailored to the Indian palate, such as burgers and pizzas, as well as idlis and vadas. Meals that are ready to cook have been prepared.
Comfort meals: People are going to miss the comfort of their homes, as well as the comfort of home cooked meals, as corporations return to full-time work from the office and colleges begin to reopen. Many people will also be returning to their workplaces, resulting in an increased demand and craving for comfort, home-cooked food. While they are away from their families and homes, they will seek solace in the form of comfort food to rekindle a sense of home. Since the pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for home tiffin and home-cooked meals, as they tend to fill the need for comfort and warmth during these unprecedented times. People are also gravitating toward home-cooked comfort meals.
‘Snack’ed it: Today, a large portion of the population prefers to eat healthier snacks rather than sweet, fatty, and high-carbohydrate snacks. Protein bars, oatmeal cookies, high protein muesli, glutenï¿½free protein munchies, roasted protein sticks, and other similar items can be found in shopping carts almost every month. People have slowly but steadily realised that, as much as we enjoy eating snacks, it is also important to do so mindfully and sensibly. High-protein snacks are becoming increasingly popular among millennials as a healthy alternative that can also serve as a meal replacement for busy millennial workers. People want easy access to snack options, and smart food courts like Isthara provide a variety of snack options across the office and campus.
Wake and ‘Bake’: Baked goods are popular, owing to their flavour and convenience. People experimented with a variety of recipes as a result of the pandemic, with baking being the most popular. Many people are also experimenting with and diversifying baked goods in order to make them a complete meal option. As food-blogging on Instagram and TikTok food trends have become a ‘thing,’ creators and even full-time corporate employees want to stand out by creating something unique. Baking has been a large-scale interest, hobby, and emerging long-term trend, ranging from baking cakes, pastries, cookies, and brownies to making frozen desserts, pies, tarts, puddings, and chocolate confections.
Cafeteria food is expected to play a significant role in student and employee retention. Isthara, a smart food court, provides multi-vendor, multi-cuisine options for colleges and workplaces to meet growing needs and emerging food trends. Going forward, these food trends will change the way people eat, and some of them will become dining norms in the coming years.