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Local Flavour

Food Trends for 2023

By Joanna Mannington

Titiro whakamuri kokiri whakamua – look back and reflect so you can move forwards

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the past to look ahead and try and predict what the coming year might hold. In Local Flavours case, it’s about food trends this year. Consumer choices shape trends and a quick look at food supplier data can help with predictions and planning for business or personal food behaviour.

Food Prices – Eating out. This market is going to be continually challenged by the cost of living crisis, supply issues and labour shortages. Prices will increase by up to 20% as food outlets struggle with fuel increases, the impact of wage increases, extra public holidays and inflation. This may mean:

  • Higher prices at cafes/ restaurants - dining out becomes a special occasion again

  • Our small, coastal establishments might offer a local’s deal/ card over the quieter months … or they may just close for longer during winter.

  • Prixe fixe menus may become popular as a way of increasing turnover whilst decreasing labour costs.

  • After being socially isolated for the past few years, diners will want to be dining communally more. However, they may want to do this ina safer environment via individual serves rather than contagion spreading with butter boards and grazing plates.

  • Diners will be looking for more value through entertainment or experiences along with their meal. Think kitchen takeovers, pop ups and meals with music, encouraging diners to continue to eat out.

  • The rising price of eggs will impact breakfast menus!

Food prices – Eating in. Just as with the last recession, growing food, foraging and keeping chickens will become more popular. Preserving and prepping meals for the week will increase to prevent food wastage and cope with working away from home again. Post Covid fatigue (of everything!) will mean simplicity, versality, escapism, and resourcefulness will be key. It will be interesting to see how meal box services will survive with increasing fuel and food costs. Matariki – as the new public holiday embeds, we will see more traditions being adopted by families to acknowledge this occasion. Tik Tok has changed the way food trends start and spread. My 11 year old was helping me in the kitchen the other day and started bossing me around about how to do things. When I asked her how she knew what to do, she told me she had learned from Tik Tok. My son informed me about the mallard effect when cooking meat from Tik Tok and I remembered that I had forgotten learning about that at University! I may need to watch out for my job teaching if this is how people will learn to cook in the future.

Sam Low – winner of the New Zealand Masterchef, heralds in the changing way food trends start and spread. His style, social media expertise, background and demographic, represents the fun, new, bold, visual style of food fashion. Currently he is linked with New World but in the future, he may go solo and start up his own international e- market for international ingredients linked to his recipes, reels and toks.

Eat local – Coromandel Food Producers and Destination Coromandel have refreshed the Coromandel food trail and we should get out there and support them! Perhaps the next step could be a Food Festival along the lines of the Art Escape, rather than exploiting more seafood.

The Flavour of this coming Year is salt and sustainable marine flavours like oysters/tio, mussels/kutai and kelp. Great news for our local suppliers, Opito Bay Salt, The Coromandel Oyster Company and Blackbeards Mussels. Avocado oil will become more affordable as avocado supply increases and waste is better utilised.

Environmental concerns and climatarians will increase plant-based, sustainable eating and offerings. Honey alternatives will be explored as veganism continues to increase and bee populations collapse.

Precision fermentation will impact milk products and Fonterra might want to look into diversifying into this aspect of liquid protein market. If you don’t know what this is – Google it!

Waste and upcycled products - 2023 is the year that TCDC’s new waste contractors must honour the collection and processing of organic food waste. Get ready to leave blue bags behind and adopt food collection bins if you don’t already compost. Expect more upcycled food products on the shelf that utilise the off casts of other food producers. Think crackers made from barley waste from the beer-making process or beer brewed from bread waste, baked goods utilising the spent oats or nut fibre from alternative milks.

Old school cool – retro and classics will be reworked for nostalgia. I am picking ice cream sundaes and banana splits will join dirty sodas on the dessert board.

And lastly, steam ovens will be the new air fryers. Make space on your kitchen bench!

I look forward to looking back next year to see if I was on the money with my predictions.


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