As we approach World Food Day on October 16, I reflect on the headlines that have dominated my news stream in Australia over the last 10 months.
From the rising dominance of supermarkets that are now being subject to scrutiny under the ACCC Grocery Code of Conduct, farmers who are increasingly under pressure from banks to foreclose, the growth in foreign investment in Australia’s agricultural industry to the continued demand for Australia to step up its role as a food exporter.
But the battle between demand and supply in the industry is quietly fuelling what will hopefully drive five food trends in Australia as we move into 2016.
The rise of alternative food systems: From farmers markets to food distribution hubs, consumers will be drawn to searching for better produce and buying local. Organisations like Food Connect and Ooooby who will draw new supporters as consumers start to think about their connection with producers even more. Will community supported agriculture be the new black in 2016?
Healthier food options: We’ve scrutinised paleo or looked at raw food in 2015. But without a doubt, more Australians will gravitate towards healthier food options. Having spent quite a few weekends at About Life, I’m seeing more grocery baskets with produce shift along with the growing appetite for prepared meals from bain maries using organic produce. Thr1ve will find good company as our love for food bowls and healthy eating on the go continues to grow.
Ugly food: If Harris Farms has its way, we will be seeing more Imperfect Picks in baskets. Australians will finally get over buying cosmetically non-conforming fruit and veg and growers will now be able to reduce the amount of food waste because the large retail supermarkets won’t take it. Along with ugly fruit and vegetables, cheap cuts of meat will be the new staple as we face yet another year of rising food costs.
Reducing food waste, feeding the hungry: Foodbank, SecondBite and OzHarvest will play an increasingly important role as Australia becomes less food secure and we have more mouths to feed in tough times. I would love to see a TV network turn this into a reality television program so we can educate consumers on this silent crisis we are facing.
Our National Food Plan: When we stop debating about the impact of TPP and ChAFTA on our agricultural industry, 2016 could be the year when we will revive our discussion on the need for a National Food Plan that looks at making food more affordable, accessible and fair for our communities.