Fashion sees seasonal trends, micro-trends and has its own huge events calendar. Films seem to come out in batches i.e. Superhero, action, historical etc. as well as being the subject of many festivals from the glamour of Cannes to the indie feel of Sundance. Music as we all know goes in cycles with different genres dominating from 80’s new romantics to 90’s grunge to 70’s disco and there are now so many music festivals of different genres and in different cities and countries that it’s huge business.
But something so normal that we may never have expected to jump on the trends and festival season bandwagon is having its own time to shine and that simply is food. Food trends are taking over restaurants and the way we eat, last year saw the rise of kale, quinoa and chai seeds to name but a few while this year’s predicted trendy veg will be the humble cauliflower.
All these trends seem to be filtering down from the rise in food bloggers who along with established food writers and critics are discovering new foods or using unknown/neglected ingredients to create something different. I follow a lot of food Instagrams and they inspire me to use more and varying ingredients in my cooking. Over a year ago I had no idea what kale or quinoa was but now I use them to cook with on a weekly basis. These bloggers, writers and Instagrammers are having a massive impact on the foods that not only restaurants and chefs are using but the ingredients many of us are picking up on our weekly shop.
TV shows such as Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off are highly successful in their format whilst also encouraging people to get in the kitchen and inspiring a younger generation to learn the basics. As someone that’s always enjoyed both pastimes, these shows are a big source of inspiration and ideas for me but their educational value mixed in with the entertainment contest side makes them second to none programming wise.
Then there are the food festivals which are popping up all over the place. Things such as the Good Food Festival which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham annually has been taking place for years but it’s the smaller local events that are really taking off. Recently I attended the food festival in Sheffield, stalls took over the town centre showcasing not only the best in Sheffield cuisine and food based talent but also food from further afield. From bread to cheese, cake to tea, chocolate to crisps to burgers and beer, there was plenty of good locally sourced fare on offer to try, buy and browse at your leisure.
Though it’s not just these factors helping the rise in food education, food scandals such as the horse meat scandal, warnings about obesity and people wanting to take better care of themselves and their diets are all other big factors. Healthy eating blogs and Instagrams are everywhere offering a source of inspiration and motivation and we all feel the need to Instagram a good plate of food or nice looking drink before tasting. All that along with their being plenty of cookery shows on TV and diet specific books on shelves – gluten free, veggie, vegan, sugar free etc, it seems we can’t escape the talk of food and whether it is good or bad for us.
I’m not sure exactly how I feel about foods being considered trendy, as I’ll eat what I want regardless of if it’s the cool food to eat or not, but in terms of discovering new or forgotten ingredients it is proving to be a good source of information. For me though, more vegetarian options on offer, a need to support local business and my love of cooking/baking as a relaxing past time have definitely seen me become a lot more savvy about the foods I eat and choose to cook with. I really think all of these festivals, TV shows and blogs are helping us educate ourselves about food, how to create a balanced diet, how to live healthy and how to gain that important skill of cooking and that can only be a good thing.