Food trends: “Going vegan is no longer a scary choice”

Hanni Rützler, 60-year-old Austrian psychologist and nutritionist.

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Hanni Rützler, psychologist and food specialist, talks about the food trends that will end up on our plates.

Social development influences what we eat. Hanni Rützler knows this very well, because the Austrian researcher has made this subject her profession. The psychologist and nutrition specialist, recognized in her country, has just published her 10th report (in English) on the subject of nutrition for the German Future Institute.

How do food trends emerge?

Trends are answers to problems, wishes and needs. They are the result of a social change and that is exactly what I analyze to classify food trends.

How can you feel these trends?

I observe the world of gastronomy, commerce and society. I collect information representing fads.

What are the hottest trends for 2023?

Rather than targeting specific trends or products, I prefer to focus on global indices, namely fundamental moves. For example, the awareness of sustainability and the rise of plant-based foods, food alternatives, regionality and culinary globalization.

In vitro meat is one of the main themes of my report

Hanni Rutzler

Meat consumption is a crucial issue, right?

Yes, the future of meat consumption and innovations like in vitro meat is one of the main themes of my report. This also applies to new food technologies for alternatives to animal products, such as precision fermentation.

Using the latest technology, specific yeasts and nutrients can be recreated, for example to produce cheese without milk. For this purpose, yeasts are genetically modified and the protein casein is recreated. Previously, it could only come from mammals such as cows.

Young people are looking for solutions to current problems

Hanni Rutzler

Who are the people most influenced by food trends?

It’s still mostly young people. They are always willing to experiment with new things. This is particularly evident when it comes to climate change, which affects young people more. You are looking for solutions to current problems and are open to other paths. The answers are, for example, the fight against food waste or the consumption of insects. Young people are very open. At the same time, food has become an identity issue regardless of age. The rich offer of supermarkets finally allows us to make choices according to our conscience, even if it means giving up certain references and other traditions. Going vegan, for example, is no longer a scary decision.

How do current crises affect trends?

The health crisis caused by Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine have raised awareness of global and local issues. These include the instability of our supply chains and our dependence on producing or exporting countries. More than a third of the grain is swallowed by animal feed, it can’t go on like this.

What is your advice to someone who wants to adapt their diet to current topics?

First you need to determine where and how you shop. We shop differently at the market and in the supermarket and base our selection on seasonality. You must give importance to your own values ​​and tastes.

The pandemic has accelerated the emergence of new food trends

Hanni Rutzler

Organic brands and meat substitutes are expensive…

Yes, because innovation is expensive. Prices will go down as more people consume these types of products. Your popularity depends on shopping in the supermarket, this is where the crucial decisions are made.

Have you ever predicted a food trend that didn’t pan out?

But on the contrary! I have sometimes been too quick to mention certain confidential phenomena such as the ghost kitchen, the emergence of which has been accelerated by the pandemic. But honestly, it’s mostly a matter of time. Add to that intuition and luck.


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