ENGAGING THE BRAIN
‘Neurogastronomy’ is about creating elements that manipulate senses in reacting to food. For example, a room with real grass and sounds of birds seem to make single-malts taste grassier while a drink taste sweeter under red lighting (test carried out by a drinks company).
Some researchers opine that food tastes better on heavier china, hard and rough foods are perceived to have lower calories and greater health benefits, and so on.
• Pre-order food from your mobile. As information is known beforehand, think about how delighted chefs might be to know what to do; possibly resulting in higher turnover of tables; thus equating to better profits.
• Encourage diners’ commitment with “prepaid system for meals” (not the group-buying promotions type) where guests buy a “non-refundable ticket”. It remains to be seen if the dining out community accept or resist against being banded to a decision of where to eat; which is often spontaneous for most people.
• Knowing what we eat has become a lifestyle for many. Beyond terms like “natural”, “organic” ,“no preservatives / artificial flavours”, consumers want to know how its made.
• Local sourcing gains ground as restaurants look within its community for produce or artisan items.
• Restaurants begin to offer flexibility for customers who might want vegetarian, paleo, gluten-free and so on.
• Kids meals are no longer just smaller portions or blander in taste but turns more healthy and adventurous with flavour profiles.
SHIFTING DINING STYLES
• Retailers suiting up their stores with onsite restaurants for those who take advantage of off-peak hours to shop.
• Food delivery is more than just fast food. Restaurants think about working with a delivery system from a single provider to provide this service to customers.
• Smaller or flexible options for portions and a skinnier menu that focuses on a key element; giving customers a clear idea of where to go when they want a specific item.
AND AROUND ASIA…
Hailed as the new frontier since a couple of years ago, the Asian continent continues to appeal to big and smaller players:
• Carl’s Jr. opening in Japan. The agreement between its parent company CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc. and Mitsuuroko Group Holdings Co. Ltd. stipulates the latter will develop 150 Carl’s Jr. restaurants in Japan over the next 10 years.
• The famed Golden Arches (McDonald’s) will make its first appearance in Central Asia beginning with Kazakhstan, expected to open in the second half of the year.
• As previously less accessible Myanmar opens up to the world, international fast-food chains are quick to act. The country’s first KFC restaurant, operated by Singaporean Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. will join existing Asian brands like South Korea’s Lotteria and Malaysia’s Marrybrown in the expanding F&B market.
• More grocers / supermarkets are creating space for sit down meals with a variety of cuisines and provision for hot meals prepared ala minute. This offers shoppers convenience to take a break when needed and because many corporate offices are located in malls, it can capture the office crowd as well.
• The food truck trend is hitting Asia as one the key methods for entrepreneurs to enter the industry on a less burdensome scale. However, most countries lack clear guidelines and legislations for such businesses; which is likely the biggest hurdle to overcome.
• Other smaller scale ideas include pop-ups and food delivery services with niche menus. Having said much about trends; they are merely an indication for industry players to gauge how to move forward and as business owners, one ought to evaluate which ones
to follow in creating that “x-factor” of your brand that will ultimately influence your place in the F&B world.
Technomic’s Take: 2015 Food Trends.
Sterling Rice Group’s 10 Cutting-Edge Culinary Trends for 2015
BAUM & WHITEMAN