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The Future of Food 2004-11-01

Posted by clype in Health, Humanities, Statistics.

Traditional British meals such as fish and chips, shepherd’s pie and roast dinners will have all but vanished within a generation, to be replaced by more exotic dishes like moonfish, quinoa and hiziki, a new report claims.
Food scientists at Sainsbury say the British palate, which has already undergone a revolution from the days when foreign food meant spaghetti bolognese and chicken tikka masala, is changing so quickly that some traditional meals are already being consigned to history…

The report entitled The Future of Food found that alien and exotic-sounding new foods from Morocco, Peru and Vietnam will be as popular in 30 years as Indian, Chinese and Italian food is today. Using focus groups and surveys, the panel, which included chefs, a food scientist, technologist, and product developer, predicted that in 2034 foods such as quinoa, moonfish and anasazi will be commonplace in the average British kitchen. It says:

Quinoa, a Peruvian grain, could become an alternative to mashed potato. Traditional baked beans, which are made of haricot beans, could be replaced with baked anasazi beans instead, washed down with squash made from pomegranate.”

Hailed as the ‘supergrain of the future’, quinoa contains more protein than any other grain.

It is considered a complete protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids. It has also found favour with the health lobby because it is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains.

Other future trends include fish fingers made from moonfish, while Atlantic white fish will replace cod, supplies of which are dwindling. Cabbage could be replaced with hiziki, a strong-tasting sea plant.

John Wood, executive chef at Sainsbury, said:

‘The average shopper in 1974 would have been horrified to know that by 2004 a clove of garlic would make a regular appearance in their basket.
‘But looking ahead, one thing’s for sure: the British palate is becoming more and more experimental. As the world gets smaller and we travel further, so our desire for diverse tastes gets bigger.’

Sainsbury says that in the past year it has seen a dramatic drop in sales of what would be considered authentic British foods.

  • This includes a 13 per cent fall in demand for roast lamb,
  • an 11 per cent dip for shepherd’s pie,
  • chicken casserole down 9 per cent,
  • fish pie falling 8 per cent and
  • steak pie down 6 per cent.

At the same time sales of

  • spaghetti bolognese have risen 43 per cent,
  • cannelloni is up 37 per cent,
  • Chinese noodles are up by 18 per cent,
  • lasagna by 17 per cent and
  • chicken curry by 9 per cent.

The British dish which appears to have survived better than most is the humble sausage, which has seen a 4 per cent rise in the past 12 months. Latest figures show sausages are served up 1 800_ million times a year on UK dinner tables but even then they have been given a exotic make-over, with sweet chilli and parmesan varieties on sale in shops.
Lady macdonald of Macdonald
Lady Claire Macdonald of Macdonald, chef and cookery writer for The Scotsman, said the breadth of our cooking and our desire to experiment with more exotic produce is expanding, which she admitted was very exciting. But she cautioned against new food ever being a replacement for traditional food. Lady Macdonald said:

[Picture of Lady Macdonald]
‘There has been a change; I can now buy in my local supermarket not only lemons but limes, fresh root ginger and three different types of olive oil. These are things in the past I could only dream about.

‘Thirty years ago one wouldn’t have dreamt of making a risotto because you simply couldn’t get risotto rice. But now I can buy arborio rice, which is fantastic because it means there is a far wider, more interesting sort of cooking available.

‘But I can also buy Scotch lamb and beef, fresh fish and game. There is a widening of food availability but in no place is it a replacement. How something as completely native and indigenous as beef, potato and cabbage could possibly vanish and be replaced by ingredients that are not even indigenous to the northern hemisphere is rubbish’.

The report also predicted new trends in cooking coming over from the USA, such as “raw cooking” which is a current craze there.

The celebrity chef Clarissa Dickson Wright, author of The Game Cookbook, admitted there was much more choice available, but remained sceptical about the demise of traditional recipes. She said:

[Picture of Clarissa]
‘In 1987 it was predicted that fish and chips would disappear in ten years’ time. It simply hasn’t happened. It may not be cod that we are frying, although traditionally it has always been haddock in Scotland, but when Robin Cook said the nation’s favourite dish was chicken tikka masala, the BBC did a survey and guess what came out on top? Fish and chips’.

As for the near future, the report suggests foods created today by chefs like Heston Blumenthal (the Fat Duck in Bray) and Ferran Adria (El Bulli in Spain), such as bacon and egg ice cream, coffee with garlic (they have the same molecular structure) and rice krispies that taste of paella, will become part of our regular diet. But Ms.Dickson Wright added:

‘I have this dream that people will not buy fresh food in supermarkets in 30 years’ time; they will go to farmers’ markets.

Marks & Spencer”, when I was in my twenties, used to be a wonderful place to buy food.

‘When I was supplying cookbooks in the 1980s, people started coming in to buy all these foreign books to make up the ready meals.

‘Now it’s almost all ready-meals at “Marks & Spencer” and they are losing money hand over fist. But it’s what the supermarkets like to sell, because they are stuffed full of preservatives, have an incredibly long shelf-life, and cost 0.37 GBP to make and sell for 3.50 GBP’.



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