Food = Fashion: The Food Trend Forecaster

We are used to the concept of seasonal trend in fashion – wearing orange this summer and dark green next winter. We feel so normal to be educated by fashion magazine for the next big style trend. But why there have to be seasonal changes? To a certain extent, the fashion system we have is a commercial manipulation – just to ask us to buy more. However it also reflects the zeigeist and human behaviour of our times. It’s the sign of changes in our society. But this sign is not just manifested in fashion, indeed it’s seen in the food we consumed also.

The role of a fashion trend forecaster is to observe these society changes and identify the innovators who capture this changes in their design; food trend forecaster uses the same methodology. For example, innovator chef of Noma, Rene Redzepi created a new trend of using organic ingredients like mosses, lichen and hay in haute cuisine. The trend is now spreading among the top chefs around the world.

Marjan Ippel is the forerunner of food forecasting. She is a Dutch culinary journalist, who went into food forecasting when she started to go deeper to understand “the meaning” of each dishes she critiqued.

In her book What (not) to eat 2011”, one of her big trends is Punk Food.  Punk is a movement against mainstream. In arena of food, it’s our anger towards the way  big companies processing food. As a result, more and more consumers start producing their own food at their home and sell it online. In San Francisco, Chicago and London, you can find small-scale underground farmer’s market that you can buy home-made products from micro-producers.

Marjan’s approach is more than just understanding what we are going to eat in next season. She questions and explores the reasons behind. This is the raison d’être of trend forecast.

For now, the concept of food forecasting is not as common as in fashion. But as the forecasting business around the world is growing, maybe food forecasting will gain more popularity in the near future also?

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