Head of Food, Beverage & Hospitality Mandy Saven pulls together key themes across Stylus reporting in 2013.
2013 saw the evolution and elevation of food in the public eye. Thought-provoking foodie journals permeated newsstands across the globe, and food-savvy became the new cultural and social capital. Meanwhile, Instagram transformed us all into food stylists.
Delving further into an evolved food-savvy mindset, The New Hunter-Gatherer and Fermentation Moves Forward documented consumers – particularly those in markets dominated by industrial food chains – who are taking food production into their own hands.
The thinking behind these reports was later augmented with the launch of US-based food magazine Modern Farmer, which champions responsible agricultural methods.
In November, the UK government's Waste and Resources Action Programme reported £12.5bn worth of food is wasted annually.
With food becoming an increasingly precious commodity – in 2009, the United Nations estimated food production must double by 2015 to feed the growing global population – food-waste reduction has become top-of-mind for governments, brands and consumers.
This global concern has underpinned much of our 2013 reporting; from revised product specifications for fresh produce (Strange Fruit) and sustainable food retail models (Evolution of the Supermarket), to dissolvable and longer-life packaging solutions (Shape-Shifting Packaging,Packaging Morphs Into Toys & Luxury Potato Packaging).
In January 2014, we'll extend our research into waste-reduction initiatives, setting our latest insights against the current climate of extended austerity. We're particularly excited to deliver new ideas around rebranding budget and the burgeoning Leftovers Economy.
Meanwhile, Digital Dining tracked tech innovations that are transforming the restaurant scene, from tech-sensory settings to robotic bartenders.
Building on these viewpoints, our forthcoming report New Food Aesthetic – which kicks off our 2014 coverage – considers how technology is impacting the visual appearance of food on the plate.
We also look forward to unpacking the nascent notion of "digital taste" – tech-enabled taste made possible through new sensory tools and gadgets.
Reflecting an increasingly curious consumer palate, in 2013 we saw inventive brands reframe traditional offers to appeal to wider audiences and introduce new eating and drinking occasions.
Following our initial coverage, coffee giant Starbucks opened its first tea bar in New York, signifying mass interest in this $90bn category.
In 2013, the meal on everybody's lips was breakfast. With prolific innovation unfolding in this category – including new on-the-go offers from major industry players like Kellogg's – our comprehensive report The Breakfast Boom spotlighted new product launches and the consumer attitudes driving them.
We also saw this manifesting in the Japanese culinary scene. Our Japan Food Trends report noted evolved artisanal sake and snack products tweaked to suit the taste preferences of new audiences.
Meanwhile, in Brewery Innovation, we considered new alcoholic applications for ancient ingredients and techniques. We've since noticed an increasing interest in Forgotten Foods that conjure feelings of nostalgia and reassurance, and we plan to resume this stream of reporting in 2014.
A globally ageing population is fuelling interest in the preventative and healing properties of food. With heightened consumer awareness around personal health and wellness, we've seen the integration of health-boosting foods into everyday diets, as well as retail and hospitality formats.
Next-Gen Functional Food investigated new healthful foods and formats that target mainstream and niche audiences, while aligning with everyday consumption habits.
Meanwhile, Breaking the Mould highlighted the emergence of health-boosting chocolate, which is, according to Reuters, enjoying an increase in sales despite an overall category slump.
Keeping a close eye on 'free-from' food – a sector currently valued at £240m and expected to mushroom to £519m by 2016 (according to global consumer research group Kantar Worldpanel) – we noted innovations in allergen-friendly food and drink.
We first highlighted the issue in January in our report Global Food & Health Trends 2013-14, and we broadened our insights with findings from the UK's Natural Food Show and World Food Technology & Innovation Forum.
As time-strapped consumers demand maximum ease and convenience, brands and retailers are responding with easy-format products and services that slot neatly into everyday lifestyles.
Fast-Moving Premium Consumption explores new formats for familiar foods – from snacks and ready meals, to frozen fare and fast food. In early 2014, look out for Super-Luxe Snacking, which explores premium snacking opportunities, as well as Fresh Approach to Frozen, which reveals innovations in this sector.
Looking to the restaurant scene, we profiled two pioneers who are reinventing fast-casual dining. The reports Adam Fleischman: King of Umami and Pizza Pioneer: James Markham both chart these influencers' meteoric rises to success, and their strategies that continue to inspire a legion of followers.
Meanwhile, Single-Dish Restaurants explores how responsive restaurants are offering choice-saturated consumers a limited, pared-back menu. And Food In Transit spotlights best-practice foodservice innovations from the airline sector.
Moving away from a homogenised approach to hospitality, savvy hotels have been fine-tuning their offers to strike a chord with influential target audiences.
Smart Small Hotels picks up on the idea of future-forward technologies – such as video – that will appeal to digitally savvy audiences, while our coverage of the Sleep conference explores new hybrid hotel models and the rise of the experience economy.
Considering the increasing importance of stellar foodservice in hotel settings, in 2013 we kept a keen eye on hospitality brands tailoring their offers to food-savvy audiences. Our coverage included Taste by Four Seasons, Ginger Pig's Butchery Breaks and Hotels Go Wild for Food.
Further exploring the idea of knowledge brokerage in hotel settings, Culture Class: Lodging Plus Learning analyses localised learning opportunities that facilitate authentic experiences.