We’ve seen quite a few interesting food trends from the past few years, such as avocados, “superfoods” like kale and quinoa, and non-dairy milk like soy and almond milk. Here are some of the food trends that we have observed so far for 2020.
People have been advocating vegetarianism and veganism for various reasons over the last decade. In the wake of climate change, the call for ditching meat has become one for environmental reasons (even though neither vegetarianism nor veganism can actually save the environment, and in fact make it worse). Former meat-eaters, in order for them to assuage their conscience, look to alternatives to meat, from soy meat to seitan. Other plant-based meat include products like “Beyond Meat” and “Impossible Foods” which simulate the taste and texture of meat using science and technology. And now the latest science is giving us lab-grown meat, which at the moment is prohibitively expensive, but will soon become more affordable. Beyond Meat has just recently entered the Malaysian market, so now Malaysians can also have a taste of what a lab-enhanced plant-based meat is like.
An alternative to meat that’s less discussed by both vegetarians/vegans and meat-eaters is insects. Four out of five nations in the world eat insects of more than 1,000 species. In Sabah, butod (sago grub, or the larvae of palm weevils) is a local delicacy, and it’s even featured in an episode of Survivor: Borneo, the first season of the long-running reality TV survival series. Insects are in fact quite nutritious, and their flavours can be generally described as nutty or earthy. The giant water beetle, however, has a very unique flavour, which has been described as follows: “when fresh, these aggressive beetles have a scent like a fresh green apple. Large enough yield tiny filets, they taste like melon soaked in banana-rose brine, with the consistency of red snapper.” Eating insects can be a very unique experience, and local business Ento aims to make insect-based snacks easily available to all Malaysians.
“Nose to tail” eating
Just because vegetarianism and veganism are becoming trendy doesn’t mean the demand for meat has declined; to the contrary, the global meat consumption per capita is steadily increasing, with meat production more than quadrupling over the past fifty years. This is directly correlated to global economic growth, as populations that become richer are better able to afford meat, thus the shift away from a plant-based diet. Recent trends for meat-eating, however, involve “nose to tail” eating, which means using up as many parts of the animal as possible, such as the ears and offal.