Across America, consumers are tuning in to new food choices to support their evolving values around sustainability and ecology. We have learned enough in these last few years about food scarcity, climate change, population growth, water shortages, crop failure and the health of the oceans to recognize that the norms for buying and eating food have changed. Permanently.
It is becoming easier all the time to practice more sustainable eating, or eco eating. A wide network of institutions, health organizations, certification bodies and foodservice professionals are banding together to offer new and appealing choices. Eco Eating: Culinary Trend Mapping Report showcases new foods and ways of eating that address the issues of alternative protein sources, sustainable seafood and meat, local food supplies and creative cooking without meat.
While some sustainability trends, such as eating insects and edible food packaging, may seem a little far out, they are moving closer all that time thanks to support from the United Nations and creative entrepreneurs. Fine dining chefs are joining hotel chains to plant rooftop gardens and raise honeybees to create ultra-local food supplies. Chefs and restaurateurs at all levels are working with seafood certification boards to obtain sustainably raised seafood, whether from the ocean or a fish farm, and looking deeper into the sea for new types of fish, big and small, that can be transformed into delicious fare. A number of chain restaurants are also leading the industry by securing grass-fed beef supplies for tacos, burgers and sandwiches, showing other companies that where there is a demand, a supply can rise to fulfill it. Meanwhile, campaigns like the one for Meatless Mondays have had a great impact on foodservice institutions as well as busy parents looking for meal inspiration that is also lighter on the planet. This interest in non-animal protein has also fueled a growing trend for tofu, long a health food staple but now being seen as an authentic element of Asian cuisine as well as a flavorful base for meals of all kinds.
Beyond the obvious goals behind eco-eating, other consumer drivers push this trend along up the Trend Map. Our food choice decisions and complex and even contradictory: flavor adventure, local eating, exploring authentic foods, animal welfare considerations and even extreme eating all play a role in the trends analyzed in this report. Food manufacturers, grocery stores and restaurant chains are all making efforts towards sustainability in energy consumptions, shipping, building and more. Eco Eating: Culinary Trend Mapping Report analyzes key approaches to taking sustainable food choices and eco-eating habits to the next level.
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