The future of food

Olubunmi Okolosi looks at five trends about to hit the UK and European F&B sectors.

• Labour Market: Freelance chefs within five years
With the labour market facing an unprecedented level of uncertainty the UK will look within to solve its recruitment issue and I predict that the government will make it easier for people to be self-employed. Regardless of the tax rises in the most recent government budget we will continue to see people embrace this move, after all you have more benefits and direct savings as a result.

• Counter Culture
With the impact of Brexit and what it will eventually mean for the business models of restaurants I believe we will see more counter type restaurants or the reinvention of American diner models gaining strength. The traditional full service model in the mid-market price point is under threat with raising costs (food & labour). Duck & Waffle has introduced a concept called Duck & Waffle Local which involves ordering at a counter and utilising less staff. The Burger and Lobster group did this with Rex & Mariano, with paired down staff and iPads. It failed but the concept was at fault, not reduced labour. This trend will only get stronger and stronger

• Faceless / Ghost or Zero Human restaurants will rise throughout Europe
With EATSA really making inroads with a viable concept that embraces Western values and Far East anonymity I predict the growth here will become more mainstream. Now is the time of more faceless restaurants. In New York this has gone even a step further will real businesses that don’t have a restaurant shop front but just a kitchen and deliver restaurant quality direct to your door or office.

• Extreme Customisation
With the home delivery market continuing to make strong inroads in growth, and causing damage to the restaurant market place, what restaurants will eventually understand is that part of its success is based on how much customisation you can have whilst eating restaurant quality. This will impact greatly on how the consumer will demand to have access to building and customising their diet.

• African Food
In London, African food is about to go POP! Africa is a hugely diverse continenent with the most underserved ‘mainstream’ foods. The continent has a population that is spread all over the world but for reasons, maybe of accessibility and appeal, African food never ‘crossed over’. For me 2018 is the year when African food will be on the culinary lips of all those hipster folk. For me being of African heritage I love my West African dishes, so when I see Zoe Adjonyoh Ghanian Kitchen getting so much mainstream love it’s great! My big hope is that what Ire-Hassan Odukale is about to create with Ikoyi London will do for African food what LIMA did for Peruvian. The only issue I have is that an African chef should have been at the helm – someone like Raphael Duntoye of Le Petit Maison.

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