Hipsters drive foodie trend

The growing hipster movement is driving Australian hospitality trends towards hand-crafted and locally sourced food and drink, according to new research from point of sale technology provider Impos.

A survey on food trends in Australian outlets, involving 400 hospitality business owners, managers and workers, has indicated that ‘dude food’ (including burgers and barbecue favourites), craft beer and cider are hot, while freakshakes and nose-to-tail eating are not.

The research suggests Australia’s hospitality industry is moving towards sustainable eating, with industry experts placing locally sourced and home-grown produce at the top of their list of hot food trends for 2016. One in three also expect vegan, vegetarian and organic food to be hot this year. However, another form of sustainable eating – nose-to-tail eating – is proving to be less popular, coming in the bottom three of identified trends.

The research highlights the growing diversity of tastes in Australia, with consumers embracing with equal gusto both American-style dude-food venues and those focused on health and diet (33 per cent and 31 per cent respectively).

However, the study also suggests consumers in Australia value balance and variety, with extreme eating (‘extremely healthy’ or ‘extremely unhealthy’) and food-specific venues (eg, those selling only one type of food, such as jaffles) proving unpopular.

“Eating out is usually a social experience involving people with different tastes,” Impos CEO Sean O’Meara said. “To please everyone, it’s important for hospitality venues to offer some variety on their menus. As the data from our research shows, if you narrow your focus too much, you risk losing customers.”

Fifty-one per cent of those surveyed said they believed craft beer and cider would reign supreme in drink trends this year because of hipsters’ love of artisanal products. Locally made alcohol (38 per cent) and craft spirits (31 per cent) were also regarded as on-trend drinks, but premixed and bottled cocktails could be on their way out, with only four per cent of respondents believing in their trend potential.

When it came to non-alcoholic drinks, juices aimed at the health conscious (31 per cent) and cold-drip coffee (27 per cent) were expected to remain popular, while freakshakes (eight per cent) and high-end mocktails (nine per cent) were expected to be less popular.

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