Food & DrinkFast food New gastronomic trends

Fast food New gastronomic trends

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The way of eating – the habits, the chosen ingredients – is decisive for health , both physical and mental: It has been shown that there is a direct relationship between nutrition and mood. Knowing it is also definitive and creates a new awareness in the consumer about the importance of adequate nutrition.

The increase in veganism, vegetarianism, and other natural and sustainable ways of eating, the upward trend in urban gardens, the high demand for organic products, the search for sustainability… All are signs that society is moving towards a healthier diet. more aware. Who prefers the natural. This trend is also echoed in fast food. The consumer wants more options and the market gives them.

The current state of gastronomy and the fast food market in Spain gives clues to this phenomenon of bringing healthy food closer to the fast food concept. The Gourmet Journal, one of the most influential gastronomic publications in the country, has already put healthy dishes and vegan fast food on the table as a trending topic in 2019.

Redefining fast food: the data is pressing

If we are talking about a change in the trend in fast food consumption, we cannot fail to point to the US as a clear example of this phenomenon. Because it is very significant that in the cradle (and almost the temple) of fast food, mobile restaurants (food trucks or fast food stalls on wheels) offer all kinds of healthy proposals, beyond the usual burger. Eating fast food can now also translate into taking care of yourself, choosing a “vegan donut” instead of an industrial one.

Or in tasting very elaborate salads and other proposals based on fresh and/or more nutritionally balanced products.

Either because of the warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) about the direct relationship between the increase in fast food consumption and the average Body Mass Index, because of the advice of nutritionists or because of the growing demand for healthy food , the food industry is making an effort to redefine the concept of fast food through the use of healthier, more nutritionally balanced and more natural products.

From Europe, in addition, it is urged that there be greater transparency for the consumer. According to Regulation 1169/2011 on food information provided to consumers, it is established as an essential requirement to show nutritional information on the label: energy value, vitamins and minerals, fats, saturated fats, carbohydrates, sugars, proteins and salt. All for the sake of greater transparency and to provide the user with the information he needs to decide whether or not to consume that product. In fact, this is reflected precisely in article 34 of said Regulation:

“The mandatory presentation of nutritional information on the packaging should help to act in the field of public education on nutrition, as part of the public health policy, which could include scientific recommendations that contribute to the education of the public on nutrition and make informed decisions”.

The application of this Regulation, in addition to being mandatory, is more than necessary, taking into account that in Spain there are —according to the Official Association of Dietitians and Nutritionists of the Valencian Community (Codinucova)— 9,254,100 people who suffer from illnesses related to diet, such as hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) and gluten intolerance.

Fast-Casual Restaurants: what do they offer?

Being aware of all this information and seeking to meet this growing consumer demand, fast food restaurants take note and embrace new trends. Proof of this are the Fast-Casual restaurants. That is: fast food outlets (self-service, disposable utensils) in which speed of service continues to prevail but not to the detriment of nutritional value. They were born in the US, in the 90s and as direct competition from fast food outlets, printing an evident change in the way of eating quickly.

The proposal has taken longer to reach Spain, but it is already being implemented through franchises such as Tierra Burrito Bar, with a dozen stores in Madrid. His leitmotif leaves no room for doubt: “Enough of junk food just because it is fast food. Eating well and filling you up is not at odds with taking care of yourself, and with us that is possible”. How do they do that? Using only fresh products that they receive daily and opting as much as possible for those from local producers.

Another healthy fast food option is FrescCo, which was established in Barcelona and has already spread to Madrid, Seville, Valencia and Salamanca. Its establishments have changed the concept of free buffet by replacing all those usual fried foods with a menu that relies heavily on salads (customers can choose up to 30 ingredients for them) and grilled meat and fish; a much healthier option than other culinary processes. The secret of his success: choosing seasonal and always fresh foods.

It is something that all these Fast-casual restaurants share: preparations based on healthier products, with a special predilection for fresh ones. But above all, the main premise is to offer quality food, quickly, “beautiful” (great care is given to the plating and the aesthetics of the dish) and cheap (at more affordable prices than in a typical restaurant). Launching an ecological message is also part of the objective. Because using fresh products is more sustainable than opting for those of industrial production, so present in “traditional” fast food restaurants.

The term fast is not lost in the experiment: above all, it is about providing a service to a very specific target, the one who eats during a break from work or, simply, for whatever reason, cannot dedicate more than 30 minutes of time to that meal. The plus is on the plate and also in the premises: they strive to create a very careful environment.

Towards a 100% organic product

Being more sustainable and friendly to the environment is also a trend. More and more consumers do it when filling their basket (buying in bulk, for example). And the restaurants, opting for organic products; that is, organically produced, without pesticides.

This concept is already well established in the US, where it is possible to enjoy organic hamburgers, burritos, nuggets, wraps and all those foods that until now were associated with unhealthy eating thanks to chains like Nic’s or The Organic Coup, the first franchise in obtaining an ‘Organic Fast Food’ certificate.

It is beginning to arrive in our country thanks to initiatives such as Kastami’s. This Galician restaurant has the honor of being the first 100% organic fast food outlet and has vegan and even paleo options. They only use certified organic food and their menu is developed by nutritionists. They are based on fusion (their cuisine is a mixture of world cuisines) but regardless of the origin of the dish, any preparation at Kastami’s must meet one requirement: not contain processed or refined products.

Eating sustainable is fashionable. At least that’s what The Gourmet Journal says, in relation to what will be the new trends in gastronomy this year. A greater attention to the product and more vegetables than meat is “what is in” in this 2019.

Sustainability also involves choosing kilometer 0 products, as some restaurants know, some with a Michelin star (or stars). By buying from local suppliers , transport time is reduced to a minimum, thus drastically reducing the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere. The resources of the area are used and the local economy is supported.

Phat fats and other healthy trends

The food sector says yes to fats; to healthy fats. It is the definition that hides behind this Anglo-Saxon term. Which translates into an effort to ditch trans fats and use only “good” fats. That is, unsaturated fats -monounsaturated and polyunsaturated- such as oily fish, avocados, margarine, and some oils of vegetable origin (such as sunflower).

It also says yes to pecking. But to a very healthy one. French fries and peanuts are replaced by 100% vegetable snacks: made from peas, edamame (soybean pods), kale, etc. There are even marine ones, such as those made from toasted nori seaweed sold by the Clearspring brand.

Healthy trends are also noticeable in the cocktail section: less sugar and above all zero alcohol for those mocktails, in which surprising ingredients such as kukicha tea, ginger, blueberries and all kinds of vegetable options can make an appearance.  

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