Nothing measures the passing of time quite like food fads. From the modern day farming to the convenience of microwave cooking, it’s impossible to separate technology from the way we eat. However as modern life speeds up, our desire to eat slower has never been stronger.
The 2010s were characterised by a new superfood each season. From quinoa, to chia seeds, and cold-pressed juices to non-dairy milk alternatives, influencers are spurred on by the desire to make us more aware of the consequences of what we eat, on our own body, and also on the environment. Results from the 2017 International Food Information Council’s Food and Health survey found that millenials, the generation who famously chose smashed avo over home ownership, have radically different views about food than previous generations. And those views are shaping the business of food.
Michael Wheeler, TAFE Queensland’s team manager of bakery and patisserie said that drive to know where your food has come from is also driving the way we educate our apprentices.
“People’s consumer habits have changed quite rapidly, and for us, it’s important that we are able to meet those demands,” he said.
“There’s a wider range of food available now than we have ever seen before. In our area we’re seeing a real trend back to artisan breads and sours, so we’re tailoring our courses to reflect that.”
Mr Wheeler, who has 35 years of industry experience and comes from a line of bakers, said Australia’s rich history of migration as well as the ethics of consumption, have shaped the way we eat.
“I’ve definitely noticed in my time a move to incorporate Halal food and Asian flavours into our food,” he said.
“People are also more interested in things like vegan and gluten free diets, so it’s important that our students know about how to cater for different people in order to keep up with consumer demands.”
Culturally we’ve also seen a rise in popularity in brewing, fermenting and small scale farming in a bid to make us more aware of where our food is coming from. This has seen a swing toward traditional trades like butchery regaining popularity. While trends like veganism and #meatfreemonday continue to flourish, others are finding ways to carve their own ethical eating path paved with artisan sausages and ethically raised animals. This is reflected back to us by the re-emergence of old school neighbourhood, and boutique butcheries popping up in trendy food centres around the world.
“I’ve definitely not seen such dramatic changes to consumer habits than I have the last few years,” Mr Wheeler said.
“It’s a real swing back to the way we used to do things.”