The changing face of food
How has your diet changed in the last year? Or ten years?
What are the things that have changed your relationship with food? The way you cook it? Buy it? Talk about it?
As the world becomes increasingly conscious of the importance of healthy eating, seasonality and sustainability, La Española explores some of the changes in our eating habits and what that might mean for the future.
Of course, there are many factors which change the way we eat. From scientific breakthroughs in ingredients (lab-grown burgers) or appliance technology (we’re looking at you, microwave meals!), to your favourite influencer’s new favourite superfood! So, for this blog post, we’re setting our sights on the changes that seem to have made the biggest impact in the most meaningful ways.
You don’t have to go back too far, probably within your parents’ lifetimes, to reach a period when most people had probably never heard the word ‘vegan’. And yet today, veganism has exploded, evolving from a small and alternative niche diet to form a super popular and celebrity-endorsed subculture. But it’s not just whole-hog-veganism that has seen a boost in popularity - according to the BBC daily meat consumption in the UK has fallen by 17% in the last decade alone.
To the delight of everyone from curious ‘reductitarians’, flirting with flexitarianism, to fully-fledged veggie veterans, the once-mocked meat-free lifestyle has gone mainstream, gaining more and more ground on menus throughout the land. Why, you may ask? A combined concern for animal welfare and for the environment, and an increased awareness about the food sources, is often credited for the popularity boost. The result being in whole aisles in supermarkets dedicated to meat-free and alternative produce. But we shouldn’t overlook another significant factor - the food lover’s desire to explore and experiment with something new.
As the meat-alternative market has been forced to innovate, it has taken us on a culinary journey that has not been matched by meat in recent years. And it’s this pushing at boundaries, combined with our attraction to the novel and the exotic, which could be the key to reduced animal-dependent diets continuing to flourish in the future.
Is La Española Olive Oil vegan? Find out here!
Organic gets organised
It’s commonly understood nowadays that organic produce is the result of farming that uses natural, biological fertilisers rather than chemicals. This widespread understanding in itself is quite representative of our changing times. Like veganism, organic awareness has boomed in recent years. The movement has definitely come a long way since it’s humble roots...
The term was first coined by Walter James in his book Look to the Land, in which he commented on natural and ecological approaches to agriculture and presented the concept of the “farm as an organism”. If the 1950s are when the movement began to gain traction, it was not until the late-70s that it reached any state of widespread public awareness. Even so, it would take another 20 years for the global retail market for organic food to reach any state of consumer demand. Fast forward to 2021 and the organic market’s worth is approx. £2.8 billion.
One report on the organic market (The Soil Association) shows that 2021 saw the highest year-on-year growth in 15 years for the organic market, at a substantial +12.6% increase in value. Imagine what Walter James would make of that!
Have you tried La Española’s Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil? Discover it today!
Fast food is increasingly in a state of digital optimisation as we move towards faster food - and we as consumers can’t seem to get enough. Want food and want it now? Don’t worry, there’s an app for that. What’s more, the app knows your favourite orders, and can even make suggestions on other foods you may like based on the preferences of people like you and people you like. Oh, and because it has your payment details stored, mealtimes are now easier than ever. Piping hot food, delivered door-to-door in record time - all with the push of a button.
Even when cooking at home we have the whole world of food at our fingertips. From electronic cookery books and fantastic foodie blogs, to “Alexa, what are the best Spanish recipes?”, we are living in an age of convenience unlike anything that came before. From our perspective, this has been fantastic for food lovers.
On one hand, the digital expansion has exposed many of us to exotic new recipes and allowed us to try things that we would otherwise never have known about. On the other hand, the connectedness of online foodie communicates through social media allows you to share your creation in return. After all, proof is no longer in the pudding, it’s in the picture of the pudding! If you create a beautiful bright Buddha bowl and don’t post it on the ‘gram, did it even happen?
As we’ve seen, an incredible amount can change in a marginally short period of time. What would be your predictions for our food habits in 2022? Or over the next 10 years?