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A new report – Food Forward 2014 – has identified the food trends set to take Australia by storm.

Compiled by Weber Shandwick, the report found so-called ‘mutant’ foods, single-item restaurants and culinary-inspired travel are the trends that will shape our national eating habits this year.

The report names food combinations like ‘sushi tacos’ and ‘ramen burgers’ as examples of new foods which push the culinary boundaries.

“Australia has a growing passion to explore new cuisines and flavours. Our latest Food Forward report shows that our country’s food culture is being reshaped, embracing a whole new combination of foodstuffs in 2014,” Ava Lawler from Weber Shandwick Australia commented.

Now in its third year, Food Forward surveyed more than 1,000 Australian consumers and food experts nationwide to determine this year’s food trends clusters:

Demise of international flavour boundaries

  • More flavours inspired by the multi-cultural heritage of chefs;
  • A rise of South American and Korean cuisine;
  • Mutant foods (unique food combinations like sushi tacos and ramen burgers) and freekeh are predicted to be the biggest hits of the year.

Wholesome home-cooking prevails

  • At-home entertaining is predicted to boom in 2014 – nearly half of those surveyed nominated home-style cooking (48 per cent) as their favoured dining option, above fine dining (19 per cent);
  • Restaurants will need to take advantage of the growing preference for casual dining;
  • Food experts expect to see simpler menus and single-item restaurants gain in popularity in the coming 12 months.

The rejected vegetable

  • 42 per cent said they are failing to get their daily dose of fruit and vegetables, with 54 per cent believing it’s too difficult to integrate into their daily diet, and 24 per cent believing produce is already too expensive.
  • With a looming removal of the GST exemption on fruit and vegetables, experts forecast Australians are unlikely to increase their veg intake in 2014.

The great shopper conundrum

  • While almost half (40%) of Australian consumers feel passionately about supporting local farmers, 70% are most influenced by cost when shopping for groceries.
  • Experts are forecasting that advocates of sustainable food will start to reduce this gap in 2014, with more educated shoppers and increased availability of free-range products, biodynamic produce and grass-fed beef.

Social food

  • 2014 will see consumers increasingly rely on social networks to inform their food choices.
  • Social networks may also prove to be more influential than celebrities, with 90 per cent of people unlikely to buy a product or visit a restaurant just because it’s endorsed by a well-known ambassador.

Gourmet getaway

  • Food-savvy Australians are looking to experience a destination through its wine and food offerings.
  • With one-in-three Australians already travelling to destinations which are renowned for delicious cuisine, experts predict this is a trend that will flourish in 2014.

Technology takeover

  • Culinary technology is set to become more simplistic and innovative than ever before, 2014 is predicted to trigger the ultimate kitchen of convenience.
  • From remotely controlling oven temperature to automatically ordering groceries, 24% of survey respondents nominate an all-in-one kitchen appliance as their top choice for 2014.

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