The Filipino palate is becoming more sophisticated with the ever growing access to travel, information, and technology. This poses a challenge for food entrepreneurs to recruit and retain customers.With the demand and competition on the rise for chefs and business owners to operate successful commercial kitchens, Unilever Food Solutions– the food service arm of Unilever, maker of Knorr, Lady’s Choice, Best Foods and Lipton – dish out the top three trends for the year that they need to look out for.
“Our mission at Unilever Food Solutions is to ensure that members of the food service industry, however big or small, are equipped with the latest trends in the professional food service. There are three key things food operators need to look at when it comes to trends: cuisines,ingredients, andcustomers,” shared Unilever Food Solutions Executive Chef Joanne Limoanco-Gendrano. “By looking at these aspects of operating a food business, chefs and business owners can surely keep themselves ahead in this ever-growing competitive industry.”
Cuisine/Food Trends: Catering to an evolving Filipino palate
Filipino cuisines are anticipated to take the global spotlight side-by-side with the growing appreciation on international cuisines, and the preference for home-cooked meals as comfort food is growing in restaurants.With these, it can be said that the Filipino’s palate evolves as they seek new dining experiences from every cuisine and every meal.
- Filipino Cuisine. Now presented in a modern and innovative way to appeal to a larger market, more and more people –both domestic and international travelers alike – are expected to search and experience authentic local eats.Local cuisine in the country is booming as food becomes the focus of people when planning their destinations and itineraries around the Philippines.
- Healthy Meals. Due to the access and affordability of healthy ingredients, Filipinos are quickly embracing the trend of healthy eating. Expect to see an increase in the number of healthy items on regular menus and the rise in the number of special diet deliveries to make a hit this year.
- Home-cooked Meals. Diners and chefs go back to simple comfort food and home-style cooking as people try their hand this year at recreating restaurant-inspired food at their very own homes. This continues to grow with the Filipinos’ preference to eat better and healthier.
Ingredient Trends: Exciting the taste buds with upgrades and mashups
This year,classic ingredients are brought to a new light. Matcha, for example, is now preferred by chefs due to its original bitter flavor versus green tea. Sriracha finds a new purpose by making it more useful for various sauces and condiments due to its sweet and sour flavors. Pork appreciation expands as more parts are used for dishes,such as crispy cheeks and fried ears. Plus, there is an increasing preference over anything rustic and healthy, with the likes of vegetables and fruits, which are now used often to add color and flavor.
As craft ingredients also take share the spotlight, restaurant menus are now more deliberate in exciting customers with creative descriptions and adding more texture claims like rich, crunchy, soft, chewy, and crisp, commanding a more premium price on these dishes.
Customer Trends: Food more and more becomes the center of online conversations
Chefs and business owners need to ensure that their social presence is not ignored,capitalizing on one of the millennials’ main behavior: being explorative and tech-savvy more than ever. These millennials are now empowered “prosumers,” short for professional consumers, who are now more informed and discerning because of today’s technology.
Given that we have a more affluent younger generation today, this leaves an opportunity for restaurateurs and business owners to devise more innovative and creative ways to make their diners’ dining experiences shareable online.
“We envision diners getting more involved with their food experiences as they are now sharing new food and restaurant discoveries online. They are now more conscious of their food and demanding for more authentic food and savory flavors,” concludes Limoanco-Gendrano. “The Philippine food service industry scene is moving fast and and we envision to absolutely ride along on its rapid wave to serve Filipino food professionals.” Following this track, Unilever Food Solutions continues to help food business owners and operators with the knowledge, skills, and products to grow and keep their customer base.”
For more information about how Unilever Food Solutions can help grow your food business, visit www.UFS.com.