Article courtesy of Francis Loughran, Food and Beverage Director of Future Food, Melbourne

With the start of a new year comes the analysis of global trends that are set to take us all by storm. The food and hospitality industry is in for another big year with even more business growth expected and many more people turning their focus to food as it maintains its position as a key business driver for clubs and pubs, as well as a ‘value-add’ for many retail precincts & developments both in Australia and around the world.

Making headlines for 2017 are:

  • the uprising of ‘bowl food’ – a healthy serving of ingredients in a bowl;
  • coffee and avocado on toast will hold their popular positions;
  • delivery services will attract more business and
  • people will continue to be discerning about where their food comes from.

Future Food has delved a little deeper than these headlines and have identified 10 trends that are growing in the food, beverage and hospitality category, related not only to what people will be eating this year but also the business of food, to give the industry a brief insight into how you can do well with food and hospitality, not just this year, but beyond.

  1.  Integrated Food Halls

The next generation of cluster dining is integrated food halls – the one stop shop for fresh food, prepared food, food education, wine and liquor sales and other food related matters. They are improving foot traffic, frequency of visits and generating a higher spend from the customers that use them. Look at Tramsheds in Sydney for inspiration.

  1. Urban Markets

As people continue to want more from what type of food they can access, urban markets showcasing local producers and growers within an inner city environment will satisfy these customers perfectly.

  1. Nordic Delights

Nordic design has been in for a long time but now Nordic food is getting a run. It’s food created around the seasons, based around plants with a touch of fish or dairy. Think dark rye toasts with cured salmon and freshly whipped creme fraiche on top. It’s a healthy, fresh option that people are craving.

  1. Korean

Korean bumped Mexican off its perch and it’s going to be shining in the spotlight for just a little bit longer we think. From operators offering in-table BBQ grills to a piping hot bibimbap, Korean food and Korean-fusion (ever tried a Korean burrito?) are popular amongst the people. Have you got a Korean offer in your food precinct?

  1. Elevated Food Courts

High-end food courts such as the cafe court in Emporium, Melbourne are fast becoming the standard for offering people diversity in food choices as well as luxury in their surroundings. It takes a clever combination of a well-planned food strategy, beautiful architecture and a savvy development team to pull off the elevated food court and Future Food is already working on a number of projects to prove that the elevated food court is the way forward.

  1. Evening Dining Economy

Night trading is set to grow with more precincts extending their trading hours past the time of the sun going down. With a push for major cities such as Melbourne to become 24-hour, the opportunity to gain business by embracing the night time economy will be more present than ever this year. (Mike Baird, please take note!)

  1. Customer-Facing Service in Retail

People love experiences and it’s something they come back for. Customer-facing service adds the touch of experience people crave when investing their money in food. Fresh noodles straight from the chefs kneading board? The freshest sashimi cut right in front of your eyes? The theatre of food will be the way to engage your customers this year.

  1. Restaurant Reservations are Back

We are transitioning back to reservations in a number of popular restaurants and people are enjoying it. There will be less queuing for patrons and less administration for operators thanks to the growth in smart technology and applications which do all the booking and organising for you.

  1. Fast ‘Fine’ Food

Fast food is getting the luxury treatment and this year we will all benefit from it. Fast food majors aren’t the most popular in town with smaller, quality-assured operators taking centre stage. From gourmet pizza bars to superfood salads and all chef-endorsed brands in between, fast food isn’t your average burgers and fries.

  1. Healthy Me

The want for more plant-based, vegan and healthy options will be bigger than ever this year with customers continuing to be more discerning about their food choices yet still in need of a quick fix with less time to spend in the kitchen.


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Future Food – Food, Restaurant & Hospitality Consultancy

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