Future Food – Insects, Algae, Transparency | European Food Trends | Food Trends Report 2019

One thing is already quite certain: in 20-19,
trend-foods will be ecological yet still look a bit synthetic. Science-fiction movies warned us. Fortunately, that doesn’t rule out a juicy
breast of poulard with a thick, flavorful wine sauce. Once a year, Austrian nutritionist Hanni Rützler
discusses the latest trends in her Food Report. 20-19 is the year French cuisine makes its
comeback – but with a difference. Now, coq au vin’s accompanied by falafel and
couscous instead of just potato entrées. “French cuisine is very old, very musty. It hasn’t changed, at all. Now, it’s starting to move. Among other things, French cuisine is lovingly
re-inventing the classics – a little newer, fresher and lighter – and allowing entirely
new influences.” That may explain why Vienna’s Café Francais
is so well frequented at all times of day and night. “The way we prepare coq au vin. with white
wine and white grapes, is a bit new for our guests. And we don’t take the rooster, but the hen,
which raises certain questions, because people think it tastes a little more intensive. This is something anyone can eat.” Hanni Rützler drops by Helga, a Viennese
start-up. Helga is a portmanteau word of “Healthy Algae”. And here it is: green yet still a bit synthetic:
chia seeds, oat milk and dried chlorella are combined to form a pudding. “It’s a wonderful combination! Tender algae really opens up a world of flavor
totally different from the dried varieties we know from Asia. I can well imagine using this.” The next snack is spicier: algae crackers
in an algae-hummus dip. ‘Go Green’ is the slogan of a movement championing
lots of chlorophyll in food. The pigment is said to vitalize the body. As in this soft drink, for instance. “Over fifty percent of this very tiny microalgae
is made up of protein. And that becomes especially interesting when
we think about how we’re going to supply eight to ten billion people with protein in the
future.” This farm in Saxony-Anhalt grows the trendy
fresh-water algae. The 500 kilometers of water-filled glass tubes
are like a vast aquarium. “These systems can be set up where conventional
farming isn’t possible. Here, we can have agriculture even with no
fertile soil. Considering how fast the algae grows, it shows
enormous potential – especially since algae contains all the nutrients we expect our foods
to deliver.” Hanni Rützler stops by the Tastery, a shop
in Vienna based on a concept like no other. The patrons can try out innovative products,
mostly from smaller companies, before buying. The Tastery is just what its name implies. A long-running trend is centered around insects
– here in a trail mix with crickets and worms. “I think, together with the hint of sour from
the berries, it’s a really wonderful mixture. The nuts complement the flavor of the mealworms. It’s a nice, light snack with a really good
portion of protein.” Nobody here buys anything without know what
they’re getting – only things they really like. Another trend at the Tastery is to cut down
on processed sugar. “Many producers are looking for alternatives
to conventional cane sugar. A lot of them work with xylitol, of course,
but also erythritol or other sweeteners. And here, too, more and more consumers are
making sure no artificial chemical sweeteners are used – only natural ones.” Hanni Rützler isn’t only interested in what
flavors are trendy but also what needs consumers have. Another trend goes under the heading ‘Transparency’
and refers specifically to food-industry packaging. Shoppers increasingly want to know exactly
where things come from – when and where it was harvested, slaughtered and processed. And finally, there’s a trend called ‘Healthy
Hedonism’. It sounds almost like an oxymoron. But if it’s done right, keeping health aspects
in mind, it can work. “In our culture, we’ve long believed that,
if it’s too good, it’s unhealthy. But in France, it was just the opposite. They believe, if it doesn’t taste good, it
isn’t healthy!” So, once again, French savoir-vivre is shaping
our philosophy of eating and living. Cutting back was yesterday. The day when algae is ALL there is to eat
may well be here soon enough.

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