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3rdWhen it came to food, 2013 saw several trends, including Japanese ramen, quinoa, seaweed and pickles, but overriding them all was healthy eating. Here is a look at some of the important food trends that emerged in 2013 and are predicted by experts to hold strong in 2014:

Food sustainability. A trend that is here to stay given rising food prices and the global food crisis. Food sustainability focuses on minimising wastage at every step on the supply chain – from the farm to the table. Global initiatives included restaurants offering half portions, meal planning apps and other technologies to help manufacturers, restaurateurs and customers reduce food wastage.

Children’s nutrition. Under scrutiny for sometime, this came to the forefront in 2013 and focuses on planning balanced meals which include a variety of ‘adult’ ingredients and flavours such as whole wheat, vegetables and fruit, rather than processed and packaged foods. The idea is to curb the consumption of fatty and sugary foods which lead to childhood obesity and other health and behavioural problems.

Gluten-free. A big trend in 2013, the gluten-free diet is prescribed to people suffering from celiac disease and eliminates barley products, rye and wheat. However, many people have discovered the health and weight loss benefits of going without wheat protein and large numbers have embraced a new gluten-free lifestyle. Taking the cue, food manufacturers and restaurateurs have made it even easier to be gluten-free by introducing a range of substitutes for wheat based products made from bean flour, quinoa and rice.

Southeast Asian cuisine. The ‘it’ exotic food in 2013, food experts predict that Southeast Asian cuisine’s popularity will persist through 2014,  including Burmese, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese food. Using a variety of vegetables, broths, beneficial spices and little grease (compared to burgers, pastas, pizzas and curries) these cuisines are perceived as healthy and tasty.

– Leila Mehfooz Barry
First published in The Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on December 29, 2013.