United Fresh (www.unitedfresh.co.nz) has over 30 years of experience supporting and promoting the New Zealand fresh produce industry, working with the entire value chain, from seed producer and grower to consumer, providing leadership on pan-produce issues.
This is their eight Trend Report for New Zealand.
A continuing trend that is reaching a wider audience, is the movement encouraging individuals to make choices that not only benefit their well-being but also contribute to a healthier planet. This global drive towards mindful living takes centre-stage as individuals seek to enrich and extend their lives by embracing a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.
1. Plant-based eating movement broadcast to 100s of millions
It’s no secret that eating fresh produce is good for you, and the planet, but there has been a tipping point recently affirming these messages to the masses, and now they are everywhere beaming into the homes of hundreds of millions of people, thanks to the power of livestream media.
Netflix documentaries such as, Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones provide insights into longevity and You Are What You Eat: A Twin Experiment demonstrating just how powerful a healthy diet can be; are trending and all have one thing in common – plant-rich foods.
Blue Zones, refer to certain areas of the world — Okinawa, Japan; Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California — where more people live significantly longer than average. Most people in the blue zones eat primarily plant-based diets, with up to 95% of their diets coming from a diverse array of vitamin and protein-rich vegetables, beans, and nuts.
So, if you haven’t watched these documentaries yet, create a platter of fresh fruit and vegetables with a healthy dip, huddle the crew around the TV and learn how to live to 100.
2. Savouring the salad & fries craze
With our Kiwi summer expected to get even hotter – a trend first picked up from the Wall Street journal is bound to take off in the first quarter of 2024, as we look for simple, light meals as we bounce from the beach and home.
This trend sees people feeling comfortable to order just a salad, with fries as their main meal. As eating out at restaurants has been on the downward slide due to the cost-of-living crisis, this trend is an inflation-friendly eating out option. It also signals a confidence to ‘order what you really feel like eating’ versus complying to social norms. It is also a trend where the salad is the hero, and the fries are the side kick. On TikTok millions of views have been clocked up under this new food pairing, with Caesar salads a popular choice.
So, give it a go, it won’t break the bank and it is healthier than the usual burger and fries.
3. Air Fryer generation turns green
The air fryer isn’t just for junk food, this portable and affordable appliance transforms ordinary vegetables into savoury masterpieces, boasting a flavour profile that’s diverse, delectable, fast and easy to prepare.
The benefits of air-frying according to BBC;
• It uses less fat
• Lowers calorie instead, thus helping weight management
• Can be a safer way of cooking
• May preserve nutrients
• Reduces acrylamide, the compound found most in deep fried food
Social media is brimming with healthy vegetable recipes, and vegetable promoters should take heed, as there is an opportunity here to create hero dishes that will cement positive vegetable memories for the new generation.
Think Buffalo Bites made with cauliflower, onion rings, broccoli with Parmesan cheese, simple corn on the cob and quick roasted veges.
So, next time your teen reaches for the two-minute noodles or the frozen chips, point them to the vegetable bin!
4. Plant-based cuisine reconnects with its roots
Gen Z is leading the move away from plant-based meat, as they question the health benefits of these processed products.
Conversely, this generation is also driving the growth of veganism, from their interest in more environmentally-friendly, ethical food choices.
Instead of plant-based meat products trying too hard to be something they’re not, more of us are embracing vegetables for their true, unapologetic glory. This trend isn’t just about imitating animal products; it’s about reclaiming plant-based cuisine as a delicious experience in its own right.
So, get ready to kick it old school with plant-based goodness that’s going back to the basics.
5. 4 Mini trends underpinning the year of the vegetable
According to the New York Times, 2024 is the Year of the Vegetable. The mini-trends supporting a year of honouring vegetables are “meatless meals, project cooking, luxurious breakfasts and energizing snacks.”
Project cooking is choosing ‘projects’ to create, “finding a labour of love, a recipe that takes a bit of effort and that extends your skill in the kitchen. The idea is to have a crack at a fun cooking project every month (that involves vegetables of course!) that inspires you.
Meatless meals are back on the menu, and to fully embrace this trend takes education, organisation and a bit of googling to find recipes that sync with your taste buds. Try the old throwback concept of Meatless Monday to kickstart this habit.
Lux vegetable experiences abound. Enjoy a luxurious breakfast with poached eggs, avocado, beetroot hummus, quinoa, roasted cherry tomatoes, whipped feta and sourdough bread. Or indulge with these energising treats; apple slices with peanut butter, beetroot brownies, or the delicious cauliflower popcorn.
It’s going to be a fantastic year.
Jump on to https://5aday.co.nz/recipes
to start planning your next delicious, nutritious culinary delight.
Next time you watch a movie, try these hip mini vege popcorn snacks; https://5aday.co.nz/recipes/cauliflower-popcorn
And for a more lux breakfast, enjoy this vegetable-packed breakfast bowl https://5aday.co.nz/recipes/avocado-breakfast-bowl
or impress with this colourful tomato bruschetta brunch favourite https://5aday.co.nz/recipes/cherry-tomato-bruschetta