September 25, 2023



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2023 McKinsey Food Trends Report: Empowering Everyone to Define the Rules

With the decline in consumer trust in traditional authoritative institutions such as government agencies, schools, and media, there has been a revolutionary change in food trends.

These changes reflect consumers' desires and pursuits for life needs. Today, consumers are more willing to express their thoughts and attitudes, a trend that profoundly influences their food choices.

In this context, we will delve into the secrets behind McKinsey's latest food trends report, exploring new trends in the restaurant industry in four key areas: culture, health, technology, and social responsibility, giving you a glimpse of what's happening!

01. Culture: No Comfort Zone

If you feel like the current culinary world has entered a "war of warlords" era, congratulations! You are already in tune with fashion.

The prevailing notion of an "anything goes" attitude has laid a new foundation for fashion. With the ever-changing demands of society and individuals, these needs often contradict each other, and there is no longer a right or wrong way of doing things.

So, whenever we think about the lack of rules to follow, it's actually telling us to boldly innovate, challenge traditions, surprise your guests, and make them wonder, "Hmm, what's going on?"

Here, chefs and food professionals seem to have liberated themselves from past constraints. They are no longer limited by any set rules and unabashedly combine the most bizarre and unique ingredients.

Normally, there are conventional rules and logic for pairing food, but here, all norms are shattered. Foie gras with chocolate, white wine with coffee, ramen turned into a burger... seemingly unrelated ingredients are cleverly blended together.

Initially, people may question these combinations. However, over time, they discover that this novel way of cooking is not as bad as they imagined. On the contrary, these crazy pairings not only dazzle people but also provide unprecedented taste experiences.

The online response to this new cooking style is also enthusiastic. Netizens express their desire and anticipation for this cuisine. Everyone is discussing which combinations are the most novel and unique, which ones are the most delicious and worth trying. This widespread enthusiasm undoubtedly accelerates the popularity of this new cooking style.

02. Health: Turning to Social Media for Health Information

With the rapid development of digital and social media, brands are no longer just seeking widespread attention in the mass market but are starting to identify and target niche markets with common interests, values, and lifestyles.

This shift is partly due to the rise of digital and social media and reflects consumers' distrust of things perceived as "trendy," be it items, personalities, or brands. People prefer brands and products that represent their personality and values, and this choice is largely achieved through social media and digital platforms.

Consumers are paying more attention to their food choices and are starting to pursue healthier, natural, and additive-free foods. At the same time, they are also paying more attention to the source and production methods of food, whether they align with their values and beliefs. For example, some consumers choose organic, vegetarian, gluten-free, and other specific foods to meet their health and environmental needs.

Various food-related labels and topics abound on social media, such as "vegetarianism," "gluten-free living," "ketogenic diet," reflecting the diversification and personalization of consumer food choices.

Social media also facilitates the rapid integration of multiculturalism into every corner of the world. According to a report by the authoritative research institution Pew Research Center, Asian cuisine has sparked a trend among young consumers in the United States, with a growth rate of up to 200%, far exceeding traditional American dining.

The popularity of Asian food is even more explosive among the millennial and Generation Z, as they love to travel and are eager to try various cuisines. Asian cuisine, with its unique exotic charm, provides a rich variety of ethnic delicacies, making young consumers salivate and unable to resist.

03. Technology: Creating Possibilities for Food Growth

The continuous progress of space exploration is breaking our understanding of boundaries, preparing for a challenging future.

Recently, NASA successfully planted plants in lunar soil. China is also taking action, launching seeds into space to create new, more adaptive plant varieties. These experimental plant varieties may grow better in various harsh environments, including deserts, mountains, and other extreme conditions. These new plant varieties will have higher production efficiency and better adaptability, allowing us to better utilize resources on Earth.

These technologies provide new ideas for future food supply. For example, we can explore growing plants on space stations to provide support for food and other life support systems.

04. Social Responsibility: Restaurants as a Manifestation of Social Forces

Restaurants are no longer just places to provide good food; they have become a manifestation of social forces, driving social change. In today's restaurant industry, showcasing one's cultural background, community culture, and traditional food has become a trend.

This trend is partly because of the increasingly diverse tastes of diners and partly because restaurant owners take pride in and identify with their cultural backgrounds.

Of course, the emergence of this trend also faces some challenges. For example, some may think that this food is not "sophisticated" enough or not "Westernized" enough. However, restaurant owners do not give up their traditions and cultural backgrounds; instead, they continually innovate and improve by incorporating these traditional ingredients and cultural elements into modern dining, creating a unique style and taste.

After reading this report, I believe you, like us, have discovered that Asian cuisine has begun to shine not only in the United States but also globally. It is not only because of its diverse flavors but also because Asian cuisine carries a profound cultural heritage. Each dish embodies unique cooking techniques and historical origins. This is the significance behind the food that consumers value most in this era.