Magic Millets to Healthy Snacking: Culinary experts predict food trends for the year 2023

The sixth edition of Godrej Food Trends Report gives an insight into what’s trending and what’s not for everyone who holds a stake in food

Muskan Khullar Published :  16th May 2023 02:44 PM   |   Published :   |  16th May 2023 02:44 PM
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Post the pandemic, as one would have anticipated, the food scene completely changed and so did our eating habits. Staying at home for over two years made people trust local, clean produce and many went on a culinary exploration of their own.

Taking a cue, in its sixth edition, the Godrej Food Trends Report provides a rather comprehensive and in-depth look at the food and beverage scene in India and globally. To put it simply, the report shares what’s trending and what’s not. The big reveal of what is being called the “food atlas” happened when Tanya Dubash, Godrej Executive Director and Chief Brand Officer hosted a special sit-down dinner last month.

The agenda was simple. The team brought the ongoing and upcoming food trends to the table with a seven-course meal. The delicacies, right from Ragi Butter Sattu Soup to Mushroom Trio and Malai Seekh Cannoli, were artisanal, mindful and portion-controlled – three factors that currently dominate the plate as well as the palate.

Ragi Butter Sattu Soup

As we navigate through the report, we spot eight trends worthy to be mentioned to anyone who holds a stake in food; from chefs to culinary writers, influencers, bloggers and even your average foodies across the road.

Food in Focus

The pandemic gave people a sweet push to focus on healthier options available either in their backyard or stored somewhere in their grandma’s archived recipes. You must have time and again heard from nutritionists and fitness experts that 2023 is the year of millets. Add mushrooms to this list for they are an exotic and clean alternative to animal-based protein. Other than these two ingredients, Indian-made artisanal products such as cheese and pickles will also dominate. Nutrition and novelty are likely to work the magic in the kitchen this year.

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Go Global

In the last one year, you must have spent at least one weekend at a restaurant offering authentic Pan-Asian delicacies. Now, we can relish fare from across continents without much hassle and this is only going to grow. Cloud kitchens, alongside pop-ups, have a big role to play in this. You could really give in to the breezy Bengaluru weather by sitting on the balcony with a hot bowl of ramen to keep you warm. Not just that, you could also sample Italy’s beloved Pizza Bufalina whilst watching Eat, Pray, Love from the comfort of your Delhi house.

Coffee & Dolce

Coffee positioned itself as a competing beverage to India’s beloved chai a decade ago and now, with work-from-café and co-working culture taking prominence, it is only garnering more interest. Home brewing is becoming a hobby and pair these with baked biscuits from Smith Field Bakery in Chennai or Western staples like brownies from Kolkata’s Nahoum and you have a meal. Speaking of the baking and patisserie scene in India, we are only looking forward to a “delectable future.

One for the tribe!

The year will also see the rise of tribal cuisines and it has already started. In this foreseeable food trend, consumers may not find the most glamourous food as tribal fare stems from mindfulness and necessity. The ingredients found in tribal food are mostly foraged, reared or farmed — to show respect and connection to mother nature. One such ingredient happens to be tubers, which make up 30% of the diet of Adivasis, a forest-dependent community. Even jackfruit, which has now made its way to the urban eaters, was traditionally an important food crop among tribal population. Lifestyle-specific diets will also be increasingly in demand. You have already heard of the green-juice trend. Now, gluten-free, faux meat-based and vegan food will be a welcome choice. Alongside, ghee or natural alternatives to table butter will make the cut.

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What’s for snacks?

An Indian evening, basically anytime between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm, is incomplete without snacks and  a hot cup of chai. Lately, instead of munching on the first fried snack available, most consumers are looking for non-fried and nutritionally-fortified indulgences. Mixed seeds, dry fruits, makhanas or anything that is baked, roasted and popped can make the cut here.

With insights from over 350 chefs, mixologists, nutritionists, restaurateurs, sommeliers and food producers, the report pays a special ode to guilty Indian snacks, ones that may not have originated in the home country but have found a special space in our kitchen since time recalls. For instance, who knew India’s beloved samosa descent from Turkish and Persian cuisine? Or how Pav Bhaji, a masala-laden serving of mashed vegetables with bread, was a result of the American Civil War?

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While the emerging culinary trends are forecasted to play on nostalgia, so will the delivery and packaging solutions. Chefs are already on the lookout for plastic-free, eco-friendly packaging options which are innovative and upcycled alternatives. Material made of bagasse and areca has already been put to test. To conclude, 2023 will be nothing but a culinary kaleidoscope and we are here to witness the growth and possibilities.

Mail: muskankhullar@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @muskankhullar03

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